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Former Florida governor talks about education reform

Gov. Jeb Bush was touted as an expert on the forefront of school reform Wednesday, and he in turn complimented Oklahoma's efforts to implement a reforms.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: March 31, 2011

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who has been promoting education reforms across the nation, applauded a number of proposed Oklahoma laws Wednesday, including one that would give schools an “A” through “F” letter grade based on student performance.

“Oklahoma has got it right in terms of comprehensive reforms,” Bush said. “If you put together a comprehensive strategy you can make the needle move. You can make a difference.”

Bush was in town as the key note speaker for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs annual Citizenship Award Dinner held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum on Wednesday night.

The last time he was in town, he helped raise campaign funds for Gov. Mary Fallin and state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi.

House Bill 1456, which would use a number of student performance measures to grade school districts on an “A” through “F” scale, is similar to a policy implemented in Florida early in Bush's tenure.

“We saw immediate improvement,” Bush said. “I can't tell you how powerful that is to get people to say ‘holy schnarkey.'”

Easily understood

In Oklahoma, schools are scored on a national 0-1,500 point scale based on student performance known as the Academic Performance Index. API scores are published for every school.

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IN BRIEF

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A 40-year-old millionaire who was homeless less than 15 years ago will share her story during Oklahoma State University's Women Entrepreneurs Inspire Conference. Cathrine M. Ann, owner of the multimillion dollar business Consumer Connections, will speak Tuesday at Cox Convention Center. The conference will feature 30 presentations from businesswomen, including Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, founder of the first ready-to-eat gelatin company. Registration costs $50 until Monday. Walk-in registration is $75. For more information, call 744-7552 or go online to entrepreneurship.okstate.edu/inspire.

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