George Bush Sr. on Education

President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)


1989 Common Core Standards adopted in 40+ states

The Common Core State Standards have been adapted by more than 40 states and the "college and career readiness" objective toward these standards are directed. The standards-based reform movement that has been the predominant thrust of education reform in the US for the past 25 years. Standards-based reform originated in the 1980's in response to the "Nation at Risk" report and a growing sentiment that the US was in danger of falling behind other countries in the international economic competition, largely because of our students mediocre academic performance. In 1989, Pres. Bush convened a national education summit, attended by all 50 governors and many CEO's, to deal with this perceived education crisis. With strong federal encouragement, almost all the states developed and adapted standards in each of the core academic subject areas, and many of them then began to reform their education systems to train teachers and develop curricula and accountability systems geared to these standards.
Source: Education and Equality, by Danielle Allen, p. 77 , Feb 9, 2018

Promised US 1st in math & science by 2000; we ended up 18th

In 1990, Bush promised, "by the year 2000, US students must be the first in the world in math and science achievement. Every American adult must be a skilled, literate worker and citizen. The nation will not accept anything less than excellence in education." But 2000 arrived, and out of 27 nations, the US ranked 18th in mathematics, 14th in science, and 15th in reading literacy. Far from accepting nothing less than excellence, we've grown accustomed to our educational system's persistent failure.
Source: Third World America, by Arianna Huffington, p.120 , Sep 2, 2010

1980: As Reagan's V.P., supported school prayer

After his nomination as Reagan's V.P.], George berated the press for asking about his past differences with Reagan. "I'm not going to be nickeled and dimed to death about that sort of thing," he said heatedly. To underscore the point, he dropped his support of the Equal Rights Amendment, vehemently changed his position on abortion, modified his stance on school busing, and proclaimed himself in favor of school prayer, all of which proved he was a man witth he sould of a Vice President.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.373 , Sep 15, 2004

Pledge of Allegiance: Kids should say "One nation under God"

Junior [kept a] list of Dukakis's weak points on a 3-by-5 card with 7 topics: taxes, defense, drug penalties, death sentence, Boston Harbor pollution, MA prison-furlough program, and requiring the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

Bush repeatedly said on the campaign trail, "I'll never understand, when it came to his desk, why he vetoed a bill that called for the Pledge of Allegiance to be said in the schools of MA. We are one nation under God. Our kids should say the Pledge of Allegiance."

Source: Fortunate Son, by J.H.Hatfield, p. 82 , Aug 17, 1999

America 2000: choice of public, private, or religious school

Q: We have an awful lot of high school graduates who don't know how to read a ruler, who cannot fill out an application for a job. Who would like to begin? The education President?

BUSH: I'd be delighted to, because you can't do it the old way. You can't do it with the school bureaucracy controlling everything. We have a new program that is now in 1,700 communities across the country. It's called America 2000. It literally says to the communities: Reinvent the schools, not just the bricks and mortar but the curriculum and everything else. Think anew. We have a concept called the New American School Corporation, where we're doing exactly that. So I believe that we've got to get the power in the hands of the teachers, not the teachers union. So our America 2000 program also says this: It says let's give parents the choice of a public, private, or religious school. And it works. It works in Milwaukee. Competition does that. So we've got to innovate through school choice.

Source: The Second Clinton-Bush-Perot Presidential Debate , Oct 15, 1992

America 2000: accountable schools with parental choice

"Our America 2000 strategy for education lays out a series of bold challenges to create better and more accountable schools that parents can choose, to reinvent the American school by developing a new generation of American schools, to turn our land into a nation of students and, in the process, me into a computer genius."
Remarks to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency Ballroom
Source: Heartbeat, by Jim McGrath, p.195 , Jun 3, 1991

Assess student performance in 4th, 8th, and 12th grades

Real improvement in our schools is not simply a matter of spending more: It's a matter of asking more--expecting more--of our schools, our teachers, of our kids, of our parents, and ourselves. And that's why tonight I am announcing America's education goals:Ambitious aims? Of course. Easy to do? Far from it. But the future's at stake.
Source: Pres. Bush's 1990 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 31, 1990

Churches & private schools provide 93% of education funding

DUKAKIS: This administration has cut and slashed and cut and slashed programs for children, for nutrition, for the kinds of things that can help these youngsters to live better lives. It's cut federal aid to education; it's cut Pell grants an close the door to college opportunity on youngsters all over this country.

BUSH: The big spending liberals think the only way to do it is for the federal government to do it all. The fact happens to be that education spending is up by the government. But here's the point he misses. The federal government spends 7% of the total on education, and the state governments & local governments & the thousand points of light, and I'm talking about private schools & private church schoo and things of this nature--are putting up 93%. But the federal spending for education is up, and I want to be the education president, because I want to see us do better. And we can do it. But it1s not going to be dedicated by some federal bu

Source: Presidential Debate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (APP) , Sep 25, 1988

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Other past presidents on Education: George Bush Sr. on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022