In 2003, Navigators Global served as the senior communications consultant to Governor Jeb Bush’s Department of Education, helping the department handle the real and potential political and public opinion challenges surrounding the roll out and implementation of some of Governor Bush’s key education reforms.
Key among the governor’s reforms was the issue of third-grade reading levels. Research had shown that students who were not reading at grade level by the time they left the third grade would most likely never read at grade level. Governor Bush understood this and passed tough new education reform measures that required Florida public schools to retain any child not reading at grade level by the time they finished third grade. Though this reform was passed in 1999, it did not take effect until 2003.
Facing the daunting challenge of having literally tens of thousands of public school children forced by new laws to repeat the third grade, Navigators Global developed an entire political, policy, communications and paid media campaign to educate the public about the new requirements and how to work with students, parents and teachers to guide them through it.
The “Read to Learn” campaign was launched in early 2003 to address this pending crisis. By September, the public had not only accepted the new reforms, they were embracing them.