MONCTON – Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is headed to Moncton.

Bush is the guest speaker at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies’ 15th anniversary dinner June 1.

“We had been looking at him for a while because of the education reforms he had championed in Florida,” says AIMS vice-president Barbara Pike. “We pitched the case that the work AIMS has done over the years, how it fits into what he has done and fits in with New Brunswick and the road to self-sufficiency and he came back with a yes.”

After leaving office in 2007, Bush started the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a not-for-profit charitable organization, on the idea that providing a high quality education to all students gives them the skills to succeed.

Bush also felt that having an educated workforce would attract investors and in turn create a more prosperous state, a point of view AIMS says fits well with New Brunswick’s aim of achieving self-sufficiency.

Pike says many of the changes that took place in Florida are things AIMS has been advocating: giving parents a choice of schools for their child, public reporting of results, accountability in the school system.

She says AIMS has tried to provide more transparency in the school system through its annual high school report card, but she says school choice, for example, is not available in Atlantic Canada.

In Florida, students went from the bottom of the pack nationally to having the state’s Grade 3 to 10 students outperforming 60 to 70 per cent of the rest of the students in the country in reading and math.

Pike says research has proved these types of reforms work, not just in the Florida case, but in other areas.

“Public reporting, public accountability and school choice work to the advantage of our students,” she says.

The event is being held at the Delta Beauséjour.

“I think it is going to be a very interesting evening and all are welcome,” Pike says. “Education should be something that we are all interested in.”

Seating is limited to about 450.