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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Jeb Bush enters the race

“Not a one of us deserves the job by right of resume, party, seniority, family or family narrative. It’s nobody’s turn,” Bush said, confronting critics who suggest he simply seeks to inherit the office already held by his father and brother. “It’s everybody’s test, and it’s wide open – exactly as a contest for president should be.”

Bush sought to turn the prime argument against his candidacy on its head, casting himself as the true Washington outsider while lashing out at competitors in both parties as being part of the problem. He opened his campaign at a rally near his south Florida home at Miami Dade College, an institution with a large and diverse student body that symbolizes the nation he seeks to lead. Read more.


Jeers To Jeb For Tom Luna Crack

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Lewiston Tribune opinionator offers jeers to Jeb Bush, who mentioned Tom Luna's, ahem, education reforms at the Republican National Convention:

JEERS … to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Speaking at the National Republican Convention last week, he took an unfair swipe at opponents of Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna's school overhaul package.Bush is a fan of Luna's plan to steer money away from classroom teachers and funnel it toward the for-profit providers of online instruction."That earned some enemies," Bush said. "Some of them slashed the superintendent's tires. But he didn't back down." Nobody knows who spray-painted Luna's truck and slashed two of his tires in 2011. Where did Bush get his information?

Full Cheers & Jeers column

Question: Where do you think Jeb got his info?

Romney Looks To Seal The Deal

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reacts while greeting supporters at a rally in Schaumburg, Ill., after winning the Illinois Republican primary Tuesday. (AP photo)

Mitt Romney prepared for another Southern showdown in Saturday's Louisiana primary after a convincing victory in Illinois padded his delegate lead and he received the highly prized endorsement Wednesday of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "Now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Gov. Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall," Bush, the brother of one former GOP president and son of another, said in a statement/Tom Cohen, CNN. More here.

Question (for Republicans who supported Ron Paul or another candidate): Are you planning to vote for Mitt Romney if he wins the GOPresidential nomination as it now appears he will?

Idaho plan for online course requirements called ‘model for rest of country’ by Jeb Bush

Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on this morning's visit from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise to boost state schools Supt. Tom Luna's "Students Come First" school reform plan; Bush proclaimed Idaho's new laws requiring online courses and funding them “one of a kind,” and said he thinks they “will be the models for the rest of the country.” And here's a link to an April New York Times story on how Bush is pushing his "Florida Formula" for education reform around the nation.

Bush: Digital learning ‘tip of the spear’

After their address to Idaho's school technology task force, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise joined Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Idaho schools Supt. Tom Luna for a press conference. Luna said, "There's no better example of education reform experts in the country than these two gentlemen." Bush said, "I'm here just as an evangelist for digital learning, but also here to commend the incredible, bold leadership of these two gentlemen, in passing the comprehensive suite of reforms that really is as important as any state effort in the last decade."

Bush called digital learning "the tip of the spear" in education reform, but said, "What I learned in Florida was that in order to have rising student achievement happen, more often than not you have to attack this through a comprehensive effort." He said, "The spear itself is how you reward teachers, particularly in the underserved areas and the underserved subjects, how you bring accountability to the system, how you bring a little bit of dynamic pressure so that student achievement becomes the norm rather than the exception. It requires broad policy changes, and that's what you did this year."

Bush also said he thinks Idaho's move toward digital learning will be "a huge economic development tool," as educators create "the content that can be exported from Idaho to other places around the country as this digital revolution takes hold."

He said Florida requires one online course in high school. Idaho's plan, to have the state Board of Education set a requirement that likely will be much higher, will "put Idaho on the map," Bush said. "I don't think any other state has taken this to this step." Also unique to Idaho, he said, is the provision of the school reform law that automatically shifts funds from school districts to online course providers if students decide to take online classes. "This is part of the funding formula, so it's not just an interesting peripheral, it's front and center, it's at the core of what education's about," Bush said. "That is unique. I don't think any state's done that in the country."

Bush likes lobbyist vault in Idaho capitol…

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, leaving a press conference in the lower level of Idaho's state capitol, passed the lobbyist room, which, since the capitol renovation, is located in a former vault, still with its historic (but no longer locking) vault door. Bush had to stop and have someone snap a photo. He said, "We'll send this to our friends in Tallahassee - this is where they put the lobbyists!" Ducking inside, he asked, "Is this a joke?" Then, walking out of the room (he's the blur in this photo), he pronounced it "a much better way of doing it."

Former guvs: Tech part of bigger picture, stay the course for results…

Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise said, "I happen to believe that every child needs a mobile Internet access device." But, he said, "It needs a strategy behind it." He praised Idaho's approach of giving the devices to teachers first. "That makes a lot of sense," he said. "It's the pedagogy of technology that also needs to be a major element. You're thinking those things through. … Technology is part of the total learning environment now, it's not just an add-on."

Former Florida Gov. Job Bush said, "Big ideas require, first, leadership and stubbornness - I would call that dogged determination." He said, "It takes time for results. … If someone slashes your tire, put on a damn new tire and execute - no offense, Tom," an aside to Luna. "And just show fortitude, as the governor has and leaders of this state, for bolder policy. In the execution you get results."

Bush: Good results will diminish opposition

As members of Idaho's school technology task force get the chance to question former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise, the first question was from state Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma, a school board member, who asked "what one thing made the difference in making it successful, your whole revamping of education." Bush responded: Results. "We have rising student achievement as measured by independent means," he said. "That's exactly what I think you'll see with these sweeping reforms that you all passed. Implemented right, you're going to see rising student achievement. It takes away a lot of the opposition." He added, "You can measure whether they're successful or not by the actual results."

What they’ve done, their ‘10 elements’…

Here's a link to the "10 elements of digital learning" established by the Digital Learning Council, headed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise. Bush, who served two terms as governor of Florida ending in 2007, is known for reforms including private-school vouchers, online courses and requiring third-graders to pass reading tests before they move up to fourth grade, ending "social promotion." Wise served as West Virginia's governor from 2001 to 2005, and pushed successful "promise scholarship" legislation that helped thousands of West Virginia high school graduates continue their education; he's also the chairman of the national board for professional teacher standards.

Bush, Wise say digital learning is future of ed

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Idaho's school technology task force, "Six years from now, there's probably not going to be textbooks as we know it. … There won't be paper-driven assessments. … These will all be digitally driven with the ability to get immediate feedback." He said, "The teachers ought to be prepared for this, they ought to be given the training, they ought to be given the tools to be able to administer and coach." Bush said his and Wise's Digital Learning Council has set 10 elements for high-quality digital learning, and he reviewed those. "I think you all are really ahead of the game in this regard - you're not just passing laws," he said. Instead, he said, Idaho is "looking at how do you create the infrastructure so that digital learning can be accessed any time, in any way."

Bush said, "All across the country, there are efforts under way, so don't feel like you're alone in this effort. Democrats and Republicans are working together to try to transform education on behalf of kids."

Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise told the task force, "Our mission is that every student graduates from high school ready for college and career." He said, "What digital education and technology does is permit us to draw the best information and content from wherever we can in the world and make it available. … That's what's so exciting."

Jeb Bush: Idaho school reform laws ‘one of a kind’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaking this morning to Idaho's Students Come First Technology Task Force, said he thinks Idaho's laws moving toward requiring online courses and funding them are "one of a kind," and said he thinks it "will be the models for the rest of the country."

Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise are addressing the council this morning; the two head the Digital Learning Council, which promotes high-quality digital learning. "You may know this: I'm a Republican," he said. "You may know this: Gov. Wise is a Democrat." Bush said, "We share a common bond that we believe education needs to be a national priority, where 50 states and lots of different communities trying different things … create a much better outcome."

You can listen live here to the presentation from Bush and Wise.