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Politico: Common Core Could Hurt Jeb Bush's White House Hopes

By    |   Tuesday, 16 December 2014 08:13 PM

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's support of the Common Core State Standards Initiative could hurt his chances at becoming the nation's next president should he decide to run, writes Politico.

Bush, who announced Tuesday that he will "actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States," has long been a proponent of reforming the educational system. He supported Common Core, which is essentially a set of standards imposed by the government on states participating in the program, when it debuted in 2010.

Since the Common Core standards were first released, however, three of the 46 states to sign up have abandoned them: Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Missouri, North Carolina, and Louisiana are working to purge it from their educational systems, while another group of states — Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia — never joined the program at all.

Bush's support of Common Core, writes Politico's Stephanie Simon, could come back to bite him during a presidential campaign.

"The standards have become synonymous with federal overreach, over-testing and confusing math problems, a ripe target for comedians' jokes and parents' protests," Simon writes.

"Much of the criticism is off base: the Common Core wasn't a federal initiative and it doesn't prescribe curriculum. But the discontent has stuck nonetheless — and national polls suggest it's growing. And nearly all of Bush's likely rivals for the 2016 presidential nomination have scrambled to distance themselves from the standards."

Of the possible Republican candidates for 2016, Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are the only ones who currently support Common Core.

An August poll showed 60 percent of Americans opposed to Common Core.

Bush addressed Common Core in a speech last month, saying it should be the "new minimum" in classrooms across America.

"For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: aim even higher, be bolder, raise standards, and ask more of our students and the system," he said.

During that same speech, Bush criticized the U.S. public school system, calling it "13,000 government-run unionized and politicized monopolies who trap good teachers, administrators, and struggling students in a system nobody can escape."

That comment drew anger from the American Federation of Teachers, which said through a spokesman that Bush's stance on educational reform has "put him at odds with teachers unions on a fairly regular basis, and I think it will be important for people to be reminded of that record if he enters the presidential race."

Another point of contention involves standardized testing. Bush said last month that "we should have fewer and better tests" to gauge students' knowledge.

Bush's time as Florida's governor (1999-2007) was largely defined by his focus on reforming the public educational system in the Sunshine State. He enacted classroom standards and pushed for improvements in school vouchers and charter schools.

"Jeb Bush had a stellar education reform record as governor of Florida," Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told Politico. "What made it so compelling and so effective was how comprehensive it was.

"No state in the country showed larger gains for poor and minority children than the Sunshine State under Bush's tenure."

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's support of the Common Core State Standards Initiative could hurt his chances at becoming the nation's next president should he decide to run, writes Politico.
common core, president, republicans
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 08:13 PM
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