Obama, Jeb Bush, tout education reform

March 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM
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MIAMI, March 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama visited a Miami high school Friday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The school, Miami Central, was selected by Bush, a Republican, Duncan said. During a short meeting with students who could not all fit into the auditorium for his main speech, Obama was welcomed with shouts and cheers. He praised the school as an example of education reform that works.

"The turnaround that's been accomplished here is the reason that I wanted to come here, because what you guys are doing is not only helping to shape your future and ensuring your long-term success, but what it's also doing is it's sending a message to kids all across the country that there's nothing we can't accomplish when we put our minds to it," he said.

Miami Central was a "persistently low-achieving school" that received federal funds after it started an improvement program that replaced the principal and half of its staff and empowered the new principal to take a comprehensive approach to "improve student outcomes," the White House said, calling the improvement substantial. Bush, who made education reform a central issue while he was governor from 1999 to 2007, called Florida a "national model for education reform."

The president was also scheduled to attend two Democratic fundraisers in the Miami area before returning to Washington Friday night.

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