September 03, 2019
The George & Barbara Bush Foundation is partnering with the University of New England to produce an event featuring former President William J. Clinton and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush that focuses on the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Education Summit. Harvard University professor Roger B. Porter — who also served as President Bush’s chief domestic and economic policy advisor from 1989 to 1993 — will moderate the September 27th event in the Harold Alfond Forum building under the auspices of UNE’s annual George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series.
On September 27, 1989, President George H.W. Bush convened only the third summit ever called for all 50 U.S. governors — in this case focusing on education, and on the campus of the University of Virginia. The successful, bipartisan results of those negotiations were unanimously endorsed by all 50 governors and announced in President Bush's January 1990 State of the Union Address. For the first time in U.S. history, the nation’s state executives committed to developing a set of National Education Goals.
Then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton helped lead the 1989 Education Summit as co-chairman of the National Governors Association's education task force. He also helped forge the Summit’s goals and hammering out the 1989 Education Summit statement. Furthermore, as President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, Mr. Clinton furthered the summit's objectives through his Goals 2000 initiative and the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
“There are probably not two more qualified experts on the recent history of education policy than President Clinton and Governor Bush to tell our audience about the importance of the 1989 summit and its aftermath,” said Bush Foundation CEO David Jones. “Their passion for this all-important issue — which President Bush shared very clearly — makes them an ideal duo to delve into this historical occasion and its legacy."
During his two terms as Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush championed major reform of government programs. In education, Florida raised academic standards, required accountability in public schools and created the most ambitious school choice program in the nation. Since leaving office, he maintains his passion for education reform as chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future.
The two-day 1989 Education Summit in Charlottesville took place six years after the release of the seminal report on the state of U.S. education called “A Nation at Risk.” The National Education Goals, established on a bipartisan basis in the wake of the Summit Conference, committed the federal and state governments to six aspirational goals for reforming the U.S. education system:
1. By 2000, every child should start school ready to learn.
2. The high school graduation rate must increase to 90 percent.
3. Assessing performance in key subjects in the 4th, 8th and 12th grades.
4. By 2000, U.S. students should be first in the world in science and math.
5. Every U.S. adult should be a skilled, literate, lifetime learner.
6. Each school should establish a safe, disciplined and drug-free environment conducive to learning.
As featured speakers at the UNE’s George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series, President Clinton and Governor Bush will assess where the nation is as it relates to these national benchmarks and discuss the challenges and opportunities we have as a nation going forward.
“I am honored to host President Clinton and Governor Bush as they revisit the important work of the 1989 Education Summit,” said UNE President James Herbert. “Thirty years ago, our nation’s governors laid the foundation for using data and research to inform education policy. This event will undoubtedly shed light on the strides we have made since then, and the work still to be done to improve learning outcomes for American students.”
ABOUT THE GEORGE AND BARBARA BUSH FOUNDATION
The George and Barbara Bush Foundation is dedicated to preserving the historic legacies of service best exemplified by President and Mrs. Bush by supporting and promoting education and service-oriented programs at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and The Bush School of Government and Public Service — and by organizing and sponsoring programs inspired by the 41st President and Mrs. Bush that highlight the value and virtue of public service in its many forms. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.