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Jeb Bush joins Gov. Mary Fallin at high-achieving OKC charter school

Leaders of KIPP Reach College Preparatory in Oklahoma City credited the school’s A grade to hard work, including high expectations and extended school days.
by Tim Willert Published: April 9, 2014

One by one, KIPP Reach College Preparatory’s best and brightest told their high-powered guests what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Among the future doctors, engineers and business owners who attend the northeast Oklahoma City charter school was a confident sixth-grader who impressed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday.

“Hello, my name’s Emmanuel Vasquez, and in the future I plan to become a lawyer or someone who studies law.”

To which Bush remarked: “And probably an elected official, sounds like, the way you speak.”

Bush and Gov. Mary Fallin shared their passion for education reform and praised teachers, administrators and students of the high-performing middle school, one of only 10 schools in the Oklahoma City district to receive A’s from the state Education Department in November.

Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, is a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate. He told the gathering that education reform should be a “national priority.”

“I don’t think Washington’s the place where the education system can be fixed or improved,” he said. “I think it has to be improved from the bottom up not the top down.”

Bush did not answer questions from reporters. He was scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Fallin on Tuesday night at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.

Fallin said KIPP students — most of whom live in poverty — are “living proof” that it is possible to excel “no matter what your ZIP code is.”

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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