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The Manhattan Institute Honors outstanding urban leaders who have improved the quality of life in their cities with its annual Urban Innovator Award.

Gina M. Raimondo
Michelle Rhee
Renee Glover
Mitch Daniels
Jeb Bush
Paul Vallas
Raymond Kelly
Manuel Diaz
Martin O'Malley
Anthony Williams
Norm Coleman
Jerry Brown
Richard Daley


Urban Innovator Award Winner

Paul Vallas.2007
Jeb Bush First Governor to Receive Urban Innovator Award for Education Reform

On November 13, it was the Manhattan Institute's great pleasure to honor former Florida Governor Jeb Bush with the Urban Innovator Award for his state's comprehensive and influential education reform program.

Over his two terms in the statehouse, Governor Bush instituted an array of government reforms with a noticeable impact on the quality of life in Florida's urban communicates. Today, Florida cities lead the nation both in job growth and in improving the educational attainment of the disadvantaged.

Before Governor Bush's tenure, in 1996, Florida was rated 29 out of 32 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in fourth and eighth grade reading and math. Ten years later, in 2006, the state scored above the national average in reading and is at the national average in math.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced Governor Bush and presented the award. "Jeb and his team helped establish a culture of accountability throughout Florida, breathing new life into its schools, especially into its urban districts." Mayor Bloomberg outlined the approaches used by the Governor: empowering school leaders and holding them accountable; ending social promotion; increasing transparency; expanding school choice and building competition; and giving parents the tools to become more active partners in their children's education. "One of the most important of those tools was a report card that didn't grade students, but in fact graded schools," he said. "Last week we released our own version of the report card, which builds on Jeb's vision, giving more than 1,200 schools in our city a grade letter of A through F, based largely on not how students are doing at the moment, but how they are improving and the progress they are making." Mayor Bloomberg noted that he and Governor Bush have been working together on reforms to improve the No Child Left Behind law for reauthorization.

In Governor Bush's acceptance remarks, he explained how he developed education reform policies and suggested further ideas for improving education systems in other states and communities.

"In Florida, by trial and error, we've tried just about everything that the Manhattan Institute has been advocating or talking about over this last generation. And I'm here to tell you that most of it works," Governor Bush said during his remarks. "It starts with accountability," he continued. "At the core of reform has to be the recognition that there should be a different consequence for mediocrity and improvement. If you have rising student achievement you need to reward it. If you don't have rising achievement—if you are stuck in mediocrity—there needs to be a new strategy to organize yourselves around our children so that they gain the power of knowledge."






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that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

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