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September 12, 2006

Kristy Campbell
(850) 488-5394

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush Regarding Koret Task Force Findings

TALLAHASSEE — "Earlier this year, I challenged researchers from the Koret Task Force to examine Florida's landmark education reforms. Their findings are an affirmation of what we in Florida have known for some time: when we make schools accountable for student achievement, students learn and schools improve.

"What began as an effort to transform Florida schools eight years ago has now become a model for transforming public education across the nation. The reforms initiated in 1999 with the A+ Plan for Education continue to challenge students and teachers to achieve more. This study is yet another validation of its success. Even more encouraging, the Task Force recommendations are in lock-step with the A++ Reforms that I signed into law this summer — providing retention criteria for middle school, a more focused high school curriculum, and a greater emphasis on math and reading.

"Key to our success has been a guiding principle that if you do not measure, you do not care. We have seen repeatedly that when we raise the achievement bar for students and teachers, they rise to meet the challenge. The results speak for themselves. Today, 223,000 more students in grades 3 through 10 are reading at or above grade level and 234,000 more students are performing math at or above grade level compared to 2001.

"We appreciate the recognition that the Koret Task Force has given to this effort and we look forward to continuing to work with them on improving the education of all of Florida's students."

Please see the press release forwarded this morning by the Florida Department of Education from the Hoover Institution regarding the Koret Task Force findings