'This Week': Jeb Bush on Education

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the state of education in America.
3:00 | 10/20/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Jeb Bush on Education
Jeb bush might be undecided about 2016 but he's definitely ready to talk about the state of education. Here's more from jon karl's interview at the governor's annual summit hosted by the foundation for excellence in education. They spoke about one of his brother's signature and controversial initiatives, no child left behind. No child left behind was one of the great bipartisan achievements that your brother had. There was ted kennedy right here in boston. George miller and john boehner, too. What's the legacy of no child left behind? I think no child left behind pushed states that refused to begin the process of reform snoot arena. Now every state is on the journey, some slow, some advanced. Ultimately this is a state driven enterprise. The jump start for a lot of states that refuse to use accountability in testing and the focus on early literacy and all the things that began with no child left behind wouldn't have happened. So I think it served a useful purpose. How bad is the current system? Well, if you measure it by outcomes, 25 percent of kids pass all of the four segments of the a.C.T. Test which means that they're college or career ready -- college ready. About a third or be generous and say 20 percent don't graduate at all, that's failure. How important is it to have national standards? A lot of people -- I think higher standards is really the element of this that's most important. If you dumb down the standards everybody feels good. Little johnny can get a piece of paper that says he graduated from high school, but this massive remediation that's necessary to access higher education is evidence that we're not bench marking ourselves to college readiness or to the best in the world. So higher standards matter. The commonality of them, in this case 45 states voluntarily creating them. The common core. The common core standards in language, arts and math is important because it creates greater transparency. Curriculum is developed, my guess is, in this kind of system where there is common expectations. You'll have 1,000 different flowers blooming as it relates to curriculum. It will be diverse and alive which is what we need. There will be a lot more innovations. A lot of conservatives, certainly tea party movement very suspicious of this process. Sure. Marco rubio said not long ago it's increasingly being used by the obama administration to turn the department of education into what is effectively a national school board. Based on the facts as I know them that's not accurate. Marco is focused on the national curriculum and I am as well. There is a big fear on the right about this massive government overreach. I totally appreciate that. But that's not what this is. This is a national imperative. It's not a federal government program. But we could just, you know, comfortably go in decline if we accept the notion that only a third of our kids are college or career ready even though we spend more per student in the world by the way. That doesn't work. Standards means testing. You hear the common complaint, we test too much or study to the test. Do you agree with that? Do we test too much? I think we do. You can have fewer test test us is. It's hard to fire bad teachers, it's hard to reward good teachers. This has been a complaint for decades. Has the system gotten any better? It has, it has. In states like florida we've eliminated tenure for new teachers. We have to do this. Great teachers need to be rewarded more. Bad teachers should get out of the classroom. And those in the middle, there ought to be teacher development to help them enhance their skills. It's hard to do that in a system where collective bargaining based on longevity of service for all employees in school districts, not just for teachers, is the organizing principle. Governor bush, always good to talk to you. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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