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tv   Bill Clinton Jeb Bush Education Discussion  CSPAN  November 28, 2019 9:39pm-11:12pm EST

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bush look back at the 1989 education summit. the conference was hosted by former president george h w bush education standards still in effect today. the george and barbara bush foundation hosted this event along with the university of new england. >> we do this for the first time barbarae passing of presidenttly after, george w. bush followed his wife into the great beyond. today, i ask we lower our heads up for a moment for the void left by the passing of these iconic americans and how lucky we were to have befriended them. james: thank you. throughout the year, we honor president george and misses
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bush's legacy, where the bush exhibit chronicles their love affair with maine, presidential years, and the bush connection with une. withare the wisdom insightful individuals who visit . today, we had the incredible opportunity to examine a pivotal moment in american history, and of america's educational system. we gather to learn about and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of president bush convening all 50 u.s. governors to create a unified set of national educational goals. this work brought data and research at long last into the process of crafting educational policy. our event today will undoubtedly shed light on the strides we have made since september 27, 1989, when this historic meeting took place. oo on thehed light t
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work left to be done. to introduce the event further and to introduce our special guests, i invite the chairman of the george and barbara bush foundation and a nephew of president and mrs. bush. [applause] >> thank you, president herbert. lovely moment of remembrance as well. on behalf of the george and barbara bush foundation, i want to thank you, president herbert, and your team, for producing this special and important event. i also want to thank the foundation for their generous support of our foundation and this event. at the george and barbara bush foundation, we believe the four years they served in the white house were four years that changed our world for the better. president bush worked to secure freedom victory in the cold war without a single shot fired
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between the superpowers. he helped unify germany within nato and end the division of europe. he forged and led an unprecedented coalition to reverse the brutal invasion of kuwait. also during the four years, in the white house and beyond, george and barbara bush helped change our country for the better. today, in this beautiful facility, we can see the impact of americans with disabilities act. air is always refreshing, thanks in no small part to the environmental law that george w. bush signed. smog was choking our cities. no other issue affects our nation, people, and future more than education. we are delighted to be cohosting this important event as we look back at the ground breaking and collaborative work of the 1989 education summit, but in classic george bush fashion, looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities that remain. convening this event under the
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george and the une barbara bush lecture series seems poignant. this being the first such lecture since we lost president bush last year, just six months after losing his wife. the bushes enjoy a wonderful relationship with the school and students. i hope there are a lot of here. it's my great pleasure to introduce our distinguished moderator for today's events, one of the masterminds behind the 1989 education summit, professor roger porter. he serves as the ibm professor of business and government professor at the kennedy school. in 1989, he was a senior advisor for domestic and economic policy. we could not be more pleased to have roger guiding our conversation today with our two distinguished speakers. i'm delighted to invite him to the stage. please welcome professor roger porter. [applause]
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roger: it's a delight to be with you this afternoon. when people aspire to be president of the united states, they are required to give an explanation of what it is they want to do if they become president. when george hw bush sought the presidency in 1988, he told the country he wanted to become the education president, the environmental president, and he wanted a kinder, gentler america. who better to tell us his vision for this summit than george hw bush himself. ♪
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[video clip] mr. bush: the spirit of this summit is how can we get results? we are here to part progress before partisanship. the future before the moment, and our children before ourselves. now, it is time to define goals. this is the time for action. i value your advice and ideas, as we continue to refine the federal role. to those who say money alone is
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the answer, i say there is no one answer. if anything, hard experience teaches we are simply not getting our money's worth in education. our focus must no longer be on resources, it must be on results. this is only the third time in our 200 years as a nation that a president has called a summit with the governors, and i have called you together because you bear a constitutional responsibility for education. i didn't ask you to such an historic occasion merely to bemoan what is wrong. we are here to work together to make american education the best in the world. governors have emphasized to me the need for national performance goals and greater
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flexibility in the use of federal funds while accepting enhanced accountability for the results. they have also stressed the high-priority helping prepare preschool children should have in federal standards. -- federal spending, even in times of fiscal constraints. finally, the governors have articulated eloquently the need to restructure our education system. social compact begins today in charlottesville, virginia, a compact between parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, state legislatures, governors, and the administration. our compact is founded not on promises, but on challenges. each one, a radical departure from tradition. i hope you will join me to define national goals in
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education for the first time, from this day forward, let us be an america of tougher standards, higher goals, and a land of bigger dreams. [applause] [applause] roger: you may well have wondered what those first two presidential summits with governors were. the first was the former governor of new york, teddy roosevelt, who, near the end of his second term, convened the governors and a group of other people in the white house for a conference on conservation and natural resources. the second one was another former governor of new york, franklin roosevelt, who invited
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his fellow governors to his inauguration, and asked them to stay over to the following monday so he could meet with them on a series of issues at the interface between the states and the federal government. the third time, what we have come to call the charlottesville summit, the president's education summit with governors was very different. it began early in his administration. and, it was not held in the east room of the white house, as the previous two summits had, but it was held at the university of virginia because president bush determined that he did not want this to be viewed as washington solving the nation's problems, nor did he want it to be viewed as being held in the white house. but instead, on the campus of an education institution that was
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near and dear to him, in part because his son marvin and daughter-in-law margaret had gone there, and in part because it was founded by one of his predecessors, thomas jefferson. to discuss what happened at that charlottesville summit and how it came about, we could not have any two finer individuals who have dedicated a great deal of their lives to promoting educational excellence in the united states. please join me in welcoming the 42nd president of the united states, bill clinton, and the 43rd governor of florida, jeb bush. [applause]
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roger: as i was mentioning, this summit was quite different. every summit has its context, and in 1983, president reagan had issued the nation's report card, called "a nation at risk," which suggested we had dramatic improvements that needed to be made in our education system. a series of governors who chaired the national governors association, lamar alexander in 85-86, governor bill clinton, in
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86-87, john sununu, the governor of new hampshire, and the white house chief of staff who was a major force in encouraging this summit. then, the governor of virginia, and he was succeeded by terry branstad of iowa when president bush came into office. all of them were very eager to have governors involved in any discussions about education. so, president bush determined he in fact wanted this conference not to be his agenda, but a joint agenda. so, governor branstad appointed a task force on education, cochaired by governor clinton of arkansas, and governor carol campbell, a republican from south carolina. it's important to remember the national governors association, since it was created in 1908, has been a bipartisan organization, and has maintained that bipartisanship for more
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than a century, which is, at least in my view, very impressive. i would like to begin by asking president clinton to share with us his thinking, and the thinking of his fellow governors as we went into the process of deciding how we were going to make the best use of this time together for two days in charlottesville. mr. clinton: thank you. first of all, thank you for doing this. i would like to thank the university of new england for hosting and governor mill, thank you for being here. former governor baldacci, i think, is here. you set the stage well. i think it's worth emphasizing
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that by the time this meeting was called, at the uva, an enormous number of -- percentage of governors have been seriously working on education. at least since the issuance of the national risk report more than six years previous. 1982. and they were disproportionately concentrated in the south because it was the poorest part of the country, trying to catch up, and we believed, beyond any doubt, that we never would catch up or close out of the income or -- close either the income or racial gaps without doing much better and much more on education. in 1982, you had big initiatives coming out of florida and mississippi. then, we passed our initiative in 1983, and alexander in tennessee did.
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jim hunt in north carolina did a lot of work. richard riley in south carolina did. then, you had a lot of interests outside of the country -- outside of the south. in colorado, for example, one of our best education governors was tom kane of new jersey. by 1987, he and i cochaired a carnegie council group on middle school. first commission ever to recommend community service as a part of a curriculum of middle school education. so we were in this, but we were also frustrated, because most of us who had adopted standards and put in more money into education were having some success in recruiting and keeping better
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teachers who were doing a good job and developing principles and supporting schools with good cultures. but, we were having a hard time figuring out how you would take this unique system in america, which had local control, state constitutional responsibility for education, and funding from the state, federal, and local levels, in a blinding array of different shapes, and turn it into something that would produce better results on the systematic basis. we had done all of this work, all of this good stuff had happened, our state went from being one of the lowest-rated states to the country to the best-performing state in the
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mid-south, but we had the feeling we were in this big global race, and we weren't catching up really. that it was two steps forward, one step back. nobody could figure out how to put incentives to perform and improve in the system, and accountability, and make it all work. i think it is worth pointing out that, even then, it was obvious that nearly every challenge in american education had been met by somebody somewhere. you couldn't name anything where you couldn't find a school district to perform at worldwide levels. high worldwide levels. our ability to replicate excellence, for a variety of reasons, was stunted. we needed a new boost, and that is why i was so excited when president bush agreed to do this, and i know you and sununu knew -- and john
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and a lot to do with it, and the national governors association had a lot to do with it. mike cohen, he is here today too. we get addicted to this stuff for life. drive-bywe are not pretenders on that. [laughter] mr. clinton: but, that is what people need to know. there was remarkably little partisan difference. there were genuine differences in terms of how much the federal government should give in money or how much the state should regulate local districts, or how teacher certification should be. all of the stuff we are still dealing with when he became governor, but there wasn't much partisan difference. and, i think president bush set the tone, and he wanted to meet with governors and i gave an
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opening statement. i said, i came here to praise the president. i got a message from a friend of mine in congress saying, do you know what you're doing? i said, yeah, this is a big deal. i said, we need to grow up as a country, and brag on people in the other party when we agree with what they are doing and disagree with them honestly what without being -- it's crazy. in other words, we all act like three-dimensional people instead of two-dimensional cartoons. i think there was a big appetite for it, but it sounds surprising now. >> i think there was a big appetite for it, but it sounds surprising now. it was normal then. cale campbell, my partner, you know, i have a great relationship with. he had to go home that night. terry branstad is now our ambassador to china, and he was the chairman of the governors conference, and he had basically decided he would stand in for those meetings we ran together, but he couldn't, for some reason, he couldn't be there when we started, and you said go and start, you know where we are, what we are different on and what we agree, so just go
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and get started. decided he woulr those meetings we ran together, but he couldn't, for some reason, he couldn't be there when we started, and you said go and start, you know where we are, what we are different on and what we agree, so just go and get started. we don't want to waste time. asas -- i thought it was normal as anything. he knew i wouldn't embarrass the president, him, or republicans, and i would be faithful to where i knew we had differences in positions, why give -- whether they were regulated party or not. today.ds unique it seemed normal to me, and it needs to be normal again. [applause] >> president clinton, you will recall president bush was very
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intent that this not to be a conference where people simply gave speeches and listened to one another talk, but he wanted something concrete to emerge from it, so we organized these panels, which governors would sit around the table and discuss an issue before we had the plenty area session. he was also determined, as you and governor campbell where, that we produce a joint statement at the end, that we not to stab the summit -- have the summit and say this is great but there was something concrete coming out. joint statements are wonderful, and this one was more than four singlespaced pages in length, but you can't issue a joint statement until everybody signs on to it, and we didn't want to have the president and a few of the governors sign onto it. we wanted to have the president and all of the governors sign onto it. carol campbell, governor
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campbell, and then governor clinton had the responsibility of getting the republicans and democratic governors, respectively, to sign on to this joint statement. would you like to share with us what happened as you tried to get this joint statement signed on by your fellow democratic governors? you can tell how long it took to write it by the way. [laughter] pres. clinton: when do we go to sleep? >> we finished -- did we go to sleep? >> we finished at 3:10 in the morning. the press was just getting warmed up at that time. [laughter] , it. clinton: i have to say didn't bother me as much as it did some people, and it took us a while to get it done because it took a while to get it done
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because we had so many people who had been involved in education. you gotta understand, we did a lot of bipartisan -- johnson new . he led a delegation to italy in 1987, to study the economic organization of the medieval guilds in northern italy, as they had been applied to the modern world, to see if it was a good thing for the economic transformation going on in america. republicans.hree hillary and i went and we had the time of our lives, and we were serious. we worked. i was used to all these guys having an idea. everybody had an idea, and they wanted their phrase in a final statement, so we tried to do how, but i remember
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unusually accommodating we were to each other, once we knew it was on the level. you would be amazed how much could be done -- how much you could do if you were convinced that your counterparts are just on the level. but it issilly, truth. so we work at it, and i would patiently go see them all, you know, and they were all there, all of the democrats were there, except rudy, who i think had a family illness. >> eat at a family illness in minnesota and was unable to come. he was the only other unable to come. pres. clinton: all the others were there. terry branstad was working with the republicans. gov. bush: right. pres. clinton: we had to work with the democrats and work through it. one of the interesting things, about all these meetings, there were no staff allowed in the
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meetings. exceptgovernors only, for i think roger was the only person who is there for the white house. gov. bush: and john sununu. pres. clinton: sununu was great, and we all knew him and served with him and everything. literally -- how are we going to work -- the fact that we wanted every child to start school learn, what did that mean? how much are we going to say and how much are we not going to say? how are we going to word making higher education available to all and affordable? what is that mean and how did you define the federal responsibility there. so the democrats could hold out the hope of getting more money in the president didn't get in trouble. you don't over commit to something without consulting staff.
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questions like this. we methodically went through 3:10,one of them and, by my staff was happy as a clown. [laughter] gov. bush: well, if you look at what was produced out of the charlottesville summit, probably the single biggest idea -- and you alluded to this in your concluding remarks there -- was that we would commit to establishing performance goals that would be embraced nationwide, but would be implemented by each state, and each of the governors, and that we would hold ourselves accountable for that. it's one thing to articulate a set of goals. it's another thing to actually implement them. idea that came out of this is that we would establish standards for what
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students should know and be able to do, and then hold ourselves accountable for holding those standards. governor bush spent eight years as the chief executive of ,lorida, at a time when florida i think this is correct, made larger moves and larger gains with respect to education than at any other time in its history. i think it would be interesting to hear from you, governor bush, as to how a state took these goals that were established and created a system whereby you could literally raise the level of student performance. gov. bush: thank you, roger. it's great to be here and i appreciate the connection of the bush family to this great lightsity, and to the that everybody is here to pay tribute to. president clinton, my dad, and my mom who also played a role in this. i thinkwant to say
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president clinton and my dad set the example of how you can be -- have a different view on things but be good friends. that should not just be -- [applause] gov. bush: what i loved about the charlottesville event was it didn't prescribe how to do it, but it created national aspirations. sometimes, we get mixed up to think the federal government is the end-all be-all, but public create --n aspirations can create big audacious goals, and it doesn't have to be a federal program. it can be something where millions of people buy into it, and i don't think there is anything more important than creating an aspiration that every child reaches their god-given ability, that they have the ability to dream big dreams, that they are capable of
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pursuing many options in their life, and that starts with pre-k to 12 education. reforming the system was important. in florida, we took this idea of robust accountability and high expectations, high standards, and we also implemented, along with it, parental choice in education that's kind of created a pressure for the system to adapt to all of this, and we ended social promotion in third grade, which i think, to me, if you had to pick the one policy that matters, is to assure the third-grader, at the end of their time in third grade, knows how to read. in fourth grade, you are reading to learn. if you can't read by fourth grade, you can't do math or science or anything else. we were all in on that subject. we created all sorts of support for this really robust accountability system, and all of that really was started by what happened in charlottesville. i would say in the 1990's, when you are president, that jim hunt
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and my brother, interestingly, probably had the strongest accountability measures, and we put those on steroids, and the result was that florida was 50th out of 50 states in graduation rates. 50% of high school kids graduated in florida in 1998. pretty pathetic. -- 30 pointa 30% again, now 85% i think graduate. the nation's report card test, on that, we went from 29th to 31 to then fourth grade reading which was seventh and sixth out of -- mythology around to some kids not being able to learn because of their life circumstances had been challenged to the core in florida, and if it wasn't for this national consensus about real accountability and higher
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expectations for every kid, it would been -- would have been harder to do for sure. >> one of the other things that emerged from the summit, which president bush was happiest about, and that, if i recall correctly, you supported enthusiastically, was a commitment from all of the governors that they would restructure education in their states. spent a lotations of the time doing the same thing they had been doing over and over again, and, periodically, we need to step back and take a look at whether or not there is in fact a better way to do this. but, you need a catalyst in order to do that. that was one of the big outcomes of the charlottesville summit, was a commitment. do you want to share with us a little how you got the governors to buy in to that? all, ilinton: first of
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,as obsessed with this because you know, it didn't matter whether you could have a japan, they can have totally national standards, and say this is the way it will be done. america always had a tradition of different cultures in diversitystates, and in the country only made it more so. thing. knew one we knew that we had to restructure not the schools but the school districts. emphasized accountable leader -- so that we emphasized accountable leadership and we were able to get good teachers to -- one of the goals was
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bring more parents into the schools on a systematic basis. school -- ask each school, under whatever will the commitment on a getting better. imagine any other endeavor in america, if you are running any operation and you had 100 parts to it and you knew -- and they all have the same thing, they were doing the same thing 100 different places, and you knew 10 of them were doing it better than anybody else in the world and were more than willing to have everybody come study it and have it copied and adapted, and yet you're in and year out, you couldn't replicate excellence, i would imagine it would drive you nuts. it did me. also had to face the fact
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that there were different reasons that it didn't. if i could give you an example of how this played out after charlottesville -- you guys kept your word. you did agree to give more flexibility to the states in implementing like the special ed funds in early grades where it was highly questionable you could identify children, especially eligible, before the fourth or fifth grade anyway. and some other things. there were two rural school districts, which against all odds, very poor, had started having stunning results. educationly her child , where your -- in early childhood education, where your department and education gave us the authority to take all the special ed's exams, and spend
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kindergarten through third grade, in making the classes smaller, and putting everybody together. no bigger than 15. teacher's aide to make it smaller, and then the children, as early a second grade, first and second grade, who were the best readers, were being used as tutors to teach the others. because this one little country school district figured it out on their own and you gave them permission to try it. ,hey doubled the performance insofar as we can measure it, even in the first grade in reading, and people who were the back a year tripled ir's. sent axcitedly, naively letter to all of my school districts and said look, we got a waiver from the federal government, and they did this in arkansas, and here are the results.
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[laughter] pres. clinton: go see it, and we will pay your way. ok? same thing happened in another in the huget, and dropout rate was a brilliant committed teacher who realized if you go back to what jeb said, if you can't read in the third grade, you have an increased chance of fail. if you can't read well by eighth grade, that is when the dropout rate picks up. this guy got it. he was a ninth grade teacher, and he started requiring every student -- and he taught more classes -- for classes, or five, to write an auto barter grant -- autobiographical essay every day, and even if they couldn't spell or punctuate. he made them write something about their lives, and every night, he took all of those papers home. more than 100 every night, and graded them all. because he was determined to
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find a way to save these kids that were failing. the dropout rate was one of the highest in the state. it dropped literally to zero. all of his kids stayed all the way because, once they were able they caredout what about and some but he was correcting it, they sent a letter out. -- youernment gave us know, we will pay. only 10% of my school districts took advantage of coming there, and i was apoplectic. [laughter] pres. clinton: but, the point is that this make charlottesville meeting, and what came out of it, put us on a very long road we are still on, trying to figure out how much of what we need is i financial issue, how much of what we need is a cultural issue, how much of what we need is an
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accountability issue. but, we know one thing, if massachusetts, for example, which started later than most states, but on a totally bipartisan fashion, and the district is not just full of people whose parents went to harvard, but they got all the kids whose first language was not english, coming from everywhere. if they were a separate stagnation, they would have one of the 10 best schools in the world. it is because they started 25 years ago to emphasize the quality of teaching, and the role of schools in creating cultures, it would make people want to be teachers, want to stay and get the parents involved. so, they did a better job of solving with the resources they had, so why aren't people doing what works?
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it all began there. i think we are ready for another big leap. i think, you know, all of us who have worked in this field can point to successes and failures, our bestids deserve efforts to keep trying, but if you ask me what my great disappointment and source of optimism is after all of these years, is i'm absolutely positive that children from low whome families and people had to overcome enormous obstacles and perform at high great frustration is, when i look around america and see some of the finest schools in the entire world, and i look at a country like [indiscernible] . it's built one of the 10 best school systems in the world. i know it is small, but it has 45 different ethnic groups.
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everybody wants to be a teacher. we are having people leave teaching at a record rate. that is where i leave it with all of you. we did our best with what we knew at the time. we loved it. but, we are still not as good as we need to be in replicating excellence. we can do this quicker than we think if we ever figure out the answer to that. >> one of the interesting things about the charlottesville summit is it helped to promote -- promoteof new and discussion of new and fresh ideas. one of the six panels we discussed in charlottesville was about choice and restructuring. governor bush, you have had a lot of experience seeing how choice works, both public school choice and choice in general.
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i know your father was very interested in this. can you share some of your experience with choice and how well it works? gov. bush: i don't know if you can still see the tire mark on my forehead. [laughter] gov. bush: talking about parental choice in education is good and important, but acting on it can be a violent act sometimes. [laughter] to thesh: i do think, point of why is it that our systems don't replicate the excellence when it's there. president clinton is totally right. all across this country, there are extraordinary examples of really committed principals and teachers where the outcomes of achievement for their students are lights out good. plusld argue 13,000 government run monopolies is not the best governance model to decide the fate of this incredibly diverse group of society, iat, as a think we have a moral and
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economic obligation to assure they are college or career ready by the time they get to 12 three -- 12 grade. giving more power to parents, making sure they are informed parents, that they have choices, but it is more than just -- they need to know about what the choices are. that's a catalyst for the kind of innovation i think will be necessary, going forward. in florida, we have universal pre-k, the largest voucher program in the country. i think there is like 150,004-year-olds that go -- 150,000 four-year-olds that go to the school. we have a corporate tax scholarship program that has 110,000 students going to private schools. we have 330,000 kids going to charter schools. we have the largest virtual school. 50% of all students are in a school that has been picked by
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their parents, not selected by the school district. stated, and i'm prone to bragging about this stuff because i was born in texas -- [laughter] gov. bush: we have had lights out improvement, particularly among low income kids. i think robust accountability, real standards that are measurable, a consequence between failure and excellence, rewards for improvements, all of those things matter, but the catalyst to accelerate that has to be alongside -- has to be all of that stuff is great, but alongside of it, there should be more power for parents to make these choices. it has worked in florida, and i think it will work across the country. if you think about it, we probably have too many choices in our lives these days. this is the one place where a child is assigned. that's kind of the american way. i've always rejected that out of
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hand, and thankfully, we have rising student achievement, because had we not, those programs would have died. now, this is 20 years of this stuff, and there is huge support amongst low income families. no one will take these things away anymore, because it has worked. now, you have the empowerment -- political empowerment of parents also saying "i want this." we continue to add to the programs because of it. >> one other thing we talked about kids with learning disabilities -- gov. bush: one other thing, we talked about kids with learning disabilities. there is a plan required under the civil rights act. parent,da, if you as a the fiercest parents were the ones who have children with learning disabilities. they are awesome. [laughter] gov. bush: they are passionate, have to protect their children, and in florida, they don't have to argue with the lawyer of the
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school district or principal of the school. if their iep is not being met or they think it is not being met, they can take state and local dollars, dollar for dollar, and go to any school of their choice, public or private. i think the federal government ought to add to that, that 10% of the money coming down for kids with learning disabilities, those parents i think are deserving to be in the front of the line. >> great. [applause] president clinton? pres. clinton: the only thing i want to say about that, for a democrat, i have pretty good credentials on this issue. there was one charter school in america when i became president, we funded about 2000 -- by the time i left office and now there are 66,000 in the country, -- gov. bush: i took your money informed of the first charter school in miami.
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i appreciate it. [laughter] pres. clinton: but here's the deal. it's like everything else. once every institution tends to become institutionalized -- every institution tends to become institutionalized. we found that when we set up the charter schools, the deal was that you could keep the charter as long as you do as well better as your public school option, and there is a demand for your service by the parents. gov. bush: and the students. pres. clinton: but you are also alone ando let preventing a lot of rules and regulations that others didn't have, take the benefits of what you have learned in this school and share it with others. where break down the -- thatsystem has been one you had been in business for
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a while, you apply your own constituency and get to keep your charter, whether you are performing well or not. according to a study, a study done by the gates foundation, more than 1% of the charter schools had tried to offer ongoing, working partnerships with other public schools. exception was, after the financial crash in 2008 in rhode island, because rhode island was the third hardest hit stayed in the country, everybody was going broke, and educators got together and started working and,her, sharing insights, according to all i know about this is what i saw on the television news reports, but they were saying they thought it helped education. both the charter schools and
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public schools -- in both the public schools and charter schools because they were working together. then, you could say, the well you -- what you have been doing it doesn't make sense anymore. and 1000 other things. i would like to see more of that. >> at charlottesville, one of the big issues governors frequently brought up was the question of strings attached by the federal government when the money is coming in. there talked before that was not a lot of money available at the federal level. president bush, to his credit, proposed another $500,000 when he first came in, which was hard to ring out of the management budget, trust me, but we got that through. in the discussions we had leading up to the summit, we made it clear that we had deficits to share, but we didn't
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have surpluses to share. therefore, the expectation that there was going to be a big outburst of more central spending was unrealistic. to your credit and governor campbell's credit, we did not have one of the six discussion groups talking about federal spending. but, we did have one talking about federal mandates and strings attached, and at the end of that, when we were discussing it with president bush, he said well, what are you going to do about it? we said we would go to the national governors association and have the governors tell us, in detail, specifically, every strain they would -- a string they would like to see loosened, and we would promise to send back to them a report card as to whether or not we feel we could loosen that string or not.
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and, we did. the national governors association came up with over 400 specific examples of strings they wanted loosened. [laughter] >> i wish i were making this up. i'm not. gov. bush: 400. >> we went through, got the management budget and all of the departments and agencies were on board, and we looked at every single one of them. at about a third of the cases, we could loosen the strings. i think in everyone but one we did. in the other two thirds of the cases, the strings were mandated by law, and we were told by the departments and agencies that you cannot loosen this string specifict is clear and in the underlying legislation that it has to be this way. we then went back to you and your colleagues in the nga and said will you go with us to congress to try to get these relax?
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the administration and nations governors, which we did, fortunately, do you want to clinton, whatnt happened when we went to congress to do that? [laughter] pres. clinton: some of them didn't like it very much. [laughter] pres. clinton: i have to say, look, and this is may be partisan perspective and i don't mean it to be, but i will tell you what the members of congress were about. , ok, i can't run chargeg, but i'm not in of operating anything, so, as a member of congress, i can't guarantee the school will be well-run or anything. i recognize i may be need to get out of the way and not cause problems. that ifan make sure
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this money is supposed to be spent on poor kids, it won't be taken and spent on something else. there is something to be said about that. i remember, we did welfare and i hadl in 1994, already given more than 40 states waivers to do welfare, but it's the same principle. to move poor people from welfare to work, and we had an all-time high in childcare, transportation, for everything else. nevertheless, by the time i had been out of office about eight years or 10 years, eight states had managed to do away with any welfare benefits, but they were still getting the money they got when welfare rolls were developed. people say well congress didn't
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-- [indiscernible]. i agreed we would cap the welfare grants to the state where it was in february of 94 because it was an all-time high and welfare rolls. by the time i left office -- roles. by the time i left office, welfare roles drop 60%. if you are not careful on how you work those things, clever governors will take the money away from poor people and spend it on something else, and that happened, so i am -- if we want to do this again and do a better timef it, i think, at the we did it in charlottesville, most of us were jenny willie in good faith -- were generally in wanting to spend that money on good education. i gave you two examples of what i wanted to do and you guys let me do it. i'm grateful, but i think we got to have a record here, because one of the obligations of the closel government is to
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the gap between the very poor and the not so very poor people in public education. and, to give health, as jeb said, to deal with the special needs kids who should be put at the front of the line. i don't care what anybody else is telling me, that is all that frustrated me, one of the great is thats of americans we give kids with special needs the ability to learn and grow. is it more complicated? yes. it's a little more inconvenient than the rest of us to liberate the potential of children. anyway, you gotta be careful -- [applause] >> at the charlottesville summit, we agreed, as part of
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the joint statement, stu establish a set of national -- to establish a set of national education goals. these goals were gonna be developed jointly by the governors and the president, the administration, and we were hopeful to be able to announce them in the present -- president's state of the union address. the conference was held the 27th and 28th of september, so it basically gave gave us october, november, and december and a chunk of january to get this done. you will remember. embraced onegoals of the most important things to come out of the summit which is that we are going to try to improve student performance. and hold people accountable. if you are going to hold them of the goalsone and interestingly enough, there were people falling all over themselves wanting to have their
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horse being one of the net -- one of the national education goals. we both agreed we had to have a limited number of goals. if we had more than a handful or six goals, no one would be able to remember everything. we had to narrow it down to those. one of those goals was going to be that these goals were not going to be set for a year from now or two years from now or three years from now, but making this change in american education is going to take at least a decade. so we targeted all the goals by the year 2000. and one third of those goals, i remember well when we were discussing this, was by the year 2000, students in the fourth, eighth, and 12th grades will be able to demonstrate confidence in english, math, science,
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history, and geography. the impetus of that goal is something you had done in arkansas with students on the eighth grade. i think it would be interesting for you to share with people how what you instituted as governor transformed our -- transformed arkansas. pres. clinton: i think we were the first state in the country -- you had to pass an exam in the eighth grade to go to high school. but i looked at all these figures not just for arkansas but the whole country and that is where the dropout rates spiked. better to hold these kids back then do summer school or whatever, then to keep shoveling them into high school if they could not read appropriately, appropriately,
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they were probably going to drop out anyway and they were not going to get the benefits of an education. that is one thing we did that worked. i didn't favor tests every year. but i thought for the reasons jeb said, the -- that fourth grade was important. obviously, 12th grade was important. , newwe did in arkansas york made this whole thing famous with the regency. decades and decades. decided that it would be far better to give a test in the 11th grade and not close the barn door when the cow was already out. require kidsould to do remediation in the summer and get ready and hopefully graduate from high school on time, and a boosted our own time but prepared high school graduation rate to do it.
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.hat was a big deal when learned a lot that tom mccann and i did this middle school thing. and i had forgotten, and here i am 73 now, 60 years ago, i had forgotten how miserable i was when i was 13 years old. [laughter] pres. clinton: really. how confused i was about things. gov. bush: i think it is called puberty, mr. president. [laughter] pres. clinton: there was that too. i had a tough time. a lot of kids do. so there are lots of stuff -- so there is lots of stuff going on, including biological things. [laughter] tos. clinton: i think trying get that right was one of the more important things we did. we tried to get that right. that whomever did --
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whatever else did or did not happen, a think basically most places, it is considerably better than it would have been otherwise. i still think we are having too much trouble recruiting and keeping good teachers. we need to pay them more. if we have to make other adjustments, then -- [applause] pres. clinton: but i think that we can't any of us being denial about these things. i've spent quite a bit of time later in a massachusetts school because i was so impressed by the system, how well they were doing. and i really do think everyone i have bev -- i have ever been in, they clearly had high stakes standards, but they have individual schools where the teacher really felt a level of
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ownership, respect of the leaders, and the parents felt at home. i do think somehow we have got to get going on that again. they are not beat down, they are not threatened, they just feel like we are going to make something good happen today. a the schools have to have culture of commitment to excellence, you just do. in jeb's right. -- and jeb is right. an antitrust model does not necessarily work. if you have a monopoly on customers and revenues, it reduces the incentive to overcome not having a product as good as it should be. you can say that. but there are other things too. anyway, we tried to address all of that. i think -- i would love to see them do it again. gov. bush: absolutely. pres. clinton: every 30 years we ought to do it again.
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we didn't know the first thing about artificial intelligence. roger: do you think president trump will pay for a meeting today? [laughter] [applause] pres. clinton: i want to make sure that we attribute that quote to him. [laughter] >> i think we are on the same list with him. pres. clinton: yeah. and i think we are on the same wavelength with that. [laughter] there is someone else that we should not forget. the very famous letter that abigail adams wrote to her husband, john, when he was at the constitutional convention. she included that wonderful
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phrase "remember, don't forget the ladies." [applause] roger: and interestingly enough, at the charlottesville summit, the spouses of the governors where there, and the first lady, barbara bush, hosted them for a series of discussions and events so that they felt included. the george and barbara bush foundation because this was such a wonderful couple who were deeply committed to education. and it seems to me that there is no one better than barbara bush to share some of her ideas with us on education. gov. bush: i hope it is a film. [laughter]
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>> make three special choices. the first is to believe in something larger than yourself. to get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. i chose this because i honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society. whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you are talking about life. in life really must have joy. it is supposed to be fun. at the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. you will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent. thank you, god bless you, and
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may your future be worthy of your greatness. [applause] roger: wow. [applause] roger: governor bush, you know your father and mother better than anyone else in society. have you with us, dora. ushaps you could share with what you think caused them both to be as genuinely interested in education as they were. because these are individuals who did not -- this was not a fleeting thing. this was a lifelong passion. maybe you could help share with us where that came from? gov. bush: i think it is mom driven.
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dad, he had a lot of interests. but my mother was very passionate about this from being a young mother all the way through when she had a chance to serve as first lady. afterwards, the rest of her life, she was committed to adult family literacy. which is really essential for the nation to get beyond the silos of different buckets, pre-k, k-12, community college, they have their own ecosystems. in reality, it should be lifelong. the first teachers of every child are their parents. if they can't read, then that makes it harder and harder for children to start school ready to learn. she just believed that to her core. and acted on it and drew a whole bunch of people to this cause. is the day, my sister chairman of the barbara bush family literacy foundation. it is without a doubt the most
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important organization of its kind that is working nationally to do great things, including adult family literacy, which i think is a very cool thing. when you think of all the people who have newly arrived to our country in the last generation, many of them came with e skills in their own native tongue not that good and they were certainly behind in english. creating a strategy around every person to give them -- so they can pursue their dreams and their god-given way, that was essential barbara bush. that is what she believed. i'm proud to be her little boy. [laughter] [applause] gov. bush: i will say one other thing about president clinton, we have something in common. we were on mom's bad list occasionally. [laughter] gov. bush: i think i was on it more than you were. [laughter]
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pres. clinton: i said last in newthere was a dinner river. the we had a dinner for the foundation. the interesting thing about barbara bush is she could look at you and you know, she would say, i've got your number. [laughter] pres. clinton: but i like you anyway. you would breathe this huge sigh of relief. i think -- i remember those nights, actually. i remember when barbara would get all the spouses together.
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we had dinner with her one night, we had dinner with them one night, the first night at the education fund. hillary and president bush and barbara bush were talking about the impact of child health on child learning. and hillary just mentioned in passing that she was really worried about the fact that america's mortality rate was still only about 18th in the world. too high. your dad said, that can't be. our health care system is too good. she said yeah, it is, you want me to get you the information. this is what i do. he said no, he said, i'm the
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president, i can get good enough information. [laughter] pres. clinton: and he says, i'll do it. i'm just sitting there watching a tennis match. well, itra was saying, does not cost that much to read. let's get back to reading. it was very funny. we allt night, when switched tables and everything, your dad came up to me with a written toe had hilary saying, thank you for telling me that, you are right, and i'm going to see what i can do about it. why am i telling you this? because that's the way we treat each other. i mean, there's no republican or democrat equate for a baby to die, or live. [applause] pres. clinton: there's no
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republican or democratic away to teach an immigrant to read english. child who hase a minor learning disabilities overcomes them in time to catch up at reading levels. that what remember really matters to us in life requires us to reaffirm our common humanity. both of them did that. i think that is what barbara was saying in the speech about literacy. that was her, all day every day. i thought it was great. [applause] one of the issues that came up after these three months of negotiations coming up with
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the national education goals that were signed off on by all the nation's governors, including rudy per pitch, we had all 50 governors to sign on to it. then we had the question, where are we going to announce these? national governors association has an annual met -- annual meeting in february, and the president's state of the union address is typically given in the third week of january. so the question was, where are we going to announce these? a bunch of your colleagues theed them announced at national governors association meetings. i took the position in our discussions, national governors association is wonderful, but people don't pay attention to their meetings like they do the president's state of the union address. let me see if i can get agreement that we will include the announcement of these
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national education goals as part of his first state of the union address in january of 1990. yes,the answer came back we can do that, you then said well, could we get 50 seats for the 50 governors so that they could be there to watch it? governor clinton, we don't control the gallery in the house of representatives where the state of the union is addressed. theou want to get each of governors to talk to their senator or representative and get them invited, that would be one thing. you then said well, maybe we don't have to have all 50. [laughter] roger: and the first lady's box has about 30 seats in it, and
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normally it is cabinet spouses who sit up there. so i said, let me see if i can get four seats. [laughter] roger: the reason i wanted to we have thets is chairman, terry branstad and the vice chairman, and then you and governor campbell and myself had done a lot of the negotiation on the goals. it was clear there were four governors who had played a much larger role. so i went to the first lady and could we get four seats in the first lady's box? and she said yes. what then happened is when the president found out about it, he says great, why don't we have the governors ride -- right up with us in the motorcade to the capital? not just show up there on their own.
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i said, that's a great idea. youso i invited the four of to come to the white house mess to have a meal before we were going to get in the motorcade, which was going to be at about 8:15, and then make our way up. so we are sitting there having dinner, i hope you remember this, he think you probably do -- pres. clinton: like it was yesterday. [laughter] roger: we were sitting there in the white house mess and the phone rings. the steward brings it over and hands it to me, and it is very unusual to have a phone handed to you in the middle of a meal. and it was the president. and he said, are you having dinner with your governor friends? he always referred to the four of you as your governor friends. i said yes. and he said well, would you like to bring them over? i said, bring them over where?
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and he said, bring them over to the residence. and i said, well, of course. when would you like us there? he said well, as soon as you can get here. --weekley finished the meal we quickly finished the meal. at the meal, i handed to the four of you the embarq of remarks at the state of you the union address so you could read through it and see exactly what he was going to say, and also the fact sheet that accompanied it so that you were comfortable with everything that was going on. if you look at the embargoed release, your names are not mentioned in it. we go over to the residence, maybe you would like to share that? if i were getting ready to get -- to give a state of the union address, i would not want to
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have people there, i would want peace and quiet. but he greeted you and governor branstad, governor carter, and governor campbell, and you had that first conversation probably in the family quarters, i don't know if you had ever been there before, but you had your first conversation with him. and i remember how gracious he was in thanking the four of you for all the work that you wouldn't -- you had invested in developing these national education goals. pres. clinton: i remember that like it was yesterday. and i remember sitting there at the state of the union address and thinking, you know, this might really amount to something. this might really translate into something that will change the future for our kids. roger: in his delivered estate of the unit address -- of the union address, he paused, looked up into the first lady's box,
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and called each of you by name and thank you before the nation -- thanked you before the nation for all the work you had invested in bringing about these national education goals. the big lesson i learned from that is if you are not concerned about who gets the credit, if you are willing to work with others and share with them what you are doing, that the likelihood is you are going to find a lot of common ground between yourself and them and things are going to go a lot better. and i do not know of anyone that i have ever had the privilege of working with who did that better than george herbert walker bush. [applause] roger: i want to provide an opportunity for each of you to provide us with some final thoughts.
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what came out of the charlottesville summit, are we on the right path, what else do we need to be doing, and what kind of legacy have george and barbara bush left for those of us who were still here? good.ush: ok, [laughter] gov. bush: i would say the legacy of charlottesville is, the important one, apart from the lofty aspirations for the country to make this a national priority, was that you had every governor minus one, in the president, a very diverse group of people, different parties, coming together in a totally bipartisan or nonpartisan way to say this is important, this is important to do. my hope and prayer -- and our country does well when we do that. when we agree, we don't fight. we can fight about things we
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don't agree on. the people that disagree should not be considered your enemy. today in america, we are in wheretribal kind of camps consensus can't be built, where people view someone who disagrees with someone as the enemy rather than someone who has a different view. charlottesville shows you can go on a different path. our country desperately needs right now. we desperately need to focus on the things we agree on. [applause] gov. bush: and about my parents, the last year they both -- they both passed away, the outpouring of love for the people, thousands and thousands of friends, but just in general, the belief that you can be civil to one another, you can be kind and generous, you can treat people the way you would want to be treated, these are virtues
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that are timeless and they are really important. and i think we should start punishing the politicians that ignore them. and start rewarding the politicians that follow them. [applause] pres. clinton: i think charlottesville shows that, first, that the political system and the people operating within it, can respond to a great in an almostlenge, completely positive way. and can highlight their differences in a non-attacking way that enables us to have honest debate. it is actually stipulating to get into a constructive argument with someone you disagree with, and if you just don't call them
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a name right off the bat -- [laughter] pres. clinton: or assume they have got things locked up in the closet, you would be amazed what happens. so this was the first time the nation's governors and the president ever asked for a national education goal. it we were able to do without everyone getting allergic about it, national government trying to take over education or the state government trying to take over the school district and all that. everybody knew we were living in a nation, and the nations fate mattered -- nation's fate mattered. we were more conscious of it by the late 1980's because of the globalization of the economy. and we knew we were in a competitive race for the future. you can live in arkansas or knew in a wayu that we rarely feel, except at
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war, that we were in a nation. and how we stacked up and would relate to this whole new world appended in no small measure on whether we provided the ability for our youngest children -- on that was one of the biggest things about this by the way. this is the first education deal like this where we said, we've got to get kids ready for school. there's got to be something in kindergarten and even before. we also recognized as you said, governor, that lifelong learning was important. as far as i know, this was the first big statement that really said look, this is no easy out here. we are not giving you the solution to the problem, we are asking you for a commitment to a process of excellence that will last a lifetime. big take away. a the first time we had national goals, the first time governor
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said that educators were right, we have to restructure the school system. that may include some on their part too. you had all these politicians who like to talk more than they like to do. and there they were, all of us, saying in that statement we wrote until 3:00 in the morning, we commit to be held personally accountable for what this is doing and you have every right to look at what we do from here on out and make your own judgment about whether it is consistent with the words that are written about our signatures. that was unheard of at the time. like i said, i think it would be a good idea for people to know more about it than i do now, and are up to date on it to revisit this. we should probably do this for our education system at least every 30 years. but i think it was wonderful, and i will always be grateful to
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president bush, to johnson in new, and to you for not only doing it, but going through it. you could call this meeting -- he could have come in and given a pro forma speech, nobody would ever have said a bad word about him. and we could have thrown together something that did not require us to stay up until 3:00 in the morning. no, really. and it would not have amounted -- you are looking at what all of these governors did, and then the ones who were not there who were sitting there like you, it changed the definition of what being a governor was. you could not be a decent governor, at least in our part of the country, you could not cross the threshold of acceptability unless you were serious about helping education. unless you were serious about kids futures.
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that was a huge thing. and it still is. remains one of the great moments of my life. i will always be grateful. roger and i, we went through , or nots together together. [laughter] then he wasn: and on the white house fellows program. when i was president. he agreed to serve. picked the white house fellows. jeb said he spoke to him. we have been through all this if the one thing you know is -- is you can tell when somebody is serious or not and you can tell when you have a remote chance of changing somebody else's life. and once you have done this enough, it does not take long to know, i was in charlottesville not very long. it helped because of the meetings we had when i knew, it
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didn't matter if we agree on everything. everybody was committed to making a difference. everybody was committed to building a better future. and i think we did. i think we made a difference. do i think there is a heck of a lot still to do? yes. but i like to see a bunch of younger people and the governorship in the congress or whatever is appropriate to do this again. i would. but i will never forget that george was the person to do it and give us a chance to help. and we made america a better place because of that, i believe. roger: thank you very much. [applause] roger: this clearly was a summit we are celebrating. please join me in thanking president clinton and governor bush for sharing their ideas and
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insights with us tonight. [applause] andr: president clinton, governor bush and professor porter, thank you so much, on the entire community for the very inspiring conversation. really appreciate it. on behalf of the university, i have a small token for each of you. these are, by the way, these are socks, ok? you'll need socks. these are socks. they are you any branded socks but they were designed by your father, george herbert walker bush. and they actually -- a true story -- and if you look inside the sock, they have his initials inscribed because he actually designed to the socks. we so much appreciate you being here. thank you all for coming and
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please have a wonderful evening. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [applause]
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created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, europe and filtered view of government -- your unfiltered the of government. announcer: congress returns next week. the house will work on a prescription drug pricing billion of voting rights legislation. the and senate have until december 22 pass all 12 federal 20 tong bills -- december pass all 12 federal spending bills to avoid a government shutdown. the house returns on tuesday. the senate will vote on secretary nominee dan brouillette on monday when they return, currently the energy secretary, confirmed to be replaced by rick perry. they will continue work on judicial nominations. although live senate coverage on
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c-span2 and the house on c-span. -- follow live senate coverage on c-span2 and the house on c-span. impeachmenthe house inquiry hearings continue next week when house judiciary chairman holds the first impeachment increase hearing into president, focusing on the constitution and the history of impeachment. watch wednesday, december 4 at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. chairman nadler extended an invitation for the president and his counsel to appear before the committee. read the letter to the president on our website,, and follow the impeachment inquiry live on c-span3, online at, or listen on the free c-span radio app. announcer: former supreme court justice anthony kennedy receives the liberty metal at the national constitution center in philadelphia. we will


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