JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The PGA Tour and The Players each commit to raise up to $50 million for public education and youth charities in Northeast Florida and members of the business and philanthropic community gathered at TPC Sawgrass to discuss how that money and other reforms can improve education in the area for the Champions for Education Conference.
"We're all here today because we believe in children," said Duval superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti.
Former Governor Jeb Bush was the keynote speaker. He applauded Dr. Vitti and Mayor Alvin Brown for realizing that education has to be a community affair in addition to a school district affair. He added that his commitment to education reform created the A+ Plan, which set the foundation for future education reforms within the state by creating a system of accountability for performance in schools.
"We must incentivize teachers to go to the challenging schools, where they're most needed," Bush said.
Much of the focus for speakers like Bush , Vitti, and the others was on teachers, how to make them better, how to get more people to want to teach, and how to keep them in the district.
"The window to get this right for kids really closed yesterday," said Dr. Vitti.
Governor Bush says the key to continuing to improve education in the state is to keep setting expectations higher for students and to surround them with the resources and tools they need to succeed.
There was no shortage of recognizable faces amongst those in attendance on Tuesday. Some of the distinguished guests included Mayor Alvin Brown, former Jaguars owners Wayne and Delores Weaver, former Jaguar Tony Boselli, former Florida State College at Jacksonville president Steve Wallace, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, and several members of the Duval County School Board including president Fel Lee.