Jeb Bush left the Florida governor’s office in 2007, but his influence still holds sway in Tallahassee, and now is felt in state capitals from New Jersey to Oregon, where lawmakers are eager to adopt his ideas on how to improve education.
Since leaving Tallahassee, the popular former Florida governor has developed a national reputation as an education powerhouse and champion of vouchers and charter schools. His latest recognition: the Bradley Foundation, a conservative group that says it shies away from lauding politicians. Last week, it gave the Republican its Bradley Prize, a distinction that carries a $250,000 stipend.
“The reforms that he put in place during his two terms as Florida governor in many ways lead the country in elementary and secondary education,” said Michael W. Grebe, the president and chief executive officer of the Bradley Foundation, which has spent more than $40 million over the last 20 years in support of charter schools and voucher programs, including as a donor to Bush’s education foundation. “He put in place programs that have clearly raised academic standards. It’s measurable, demonstrable. We’re also really impressed by what he continues to do as a private citizen. When he left office, he didn’t leave behind his work.”