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In Denver, Bush touts school leadership

Editor’s note: This story was written by our partners at KUSA 9News.

Former President George W. Bush says he continues to have a “great passion” for education even though he considers himself to only be an observer in politics these days.

Bush made the remarks Thursday morning in Denver after meeting with Mayor Michael Hancock and local education leaders at Get Smart Schools, a nonprofit Colorado group that trains principals for innovation and charter schools.

“I’m here to honor a program called ‘Get Smart.’ It’s a program that has set high expectations and believes every child can learn and is willing to train leaders who believe that as well,” President Bush said.

The group is joining a national network that is part of an initiative by the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership.

The initiative seeks to change how principals are recruited, trained and evaluated.

“President Bush really starts with the heads of the school. He believes they set the tone for the school to hold schools accountable,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “So he really talked about accountability and how it’s important to make sure the leader of the institution sets the right tone for achievement and accomplishments.

Bush says that an “excellent school must first have an excellent leader.”

“It was good to hear what led [Bush] to really push for No Child Left Behind, and it was about accountability,” Hancock said. “It was about measuring whether or not our third- and fourth-graders can read. There’s no sexiness about that other than can they read. That is what is a fundamental predictor of how a young person will be as an adult.”

Get Smart Schools is one of 16 organizations working with the Bush Institute.

According to Hancock, the group did not discuss legislation but instead focused their conversation around evaluations and testing.

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