Jeb Bush Still Loves Common Core, Blames Obama for 'Co-Opting' It


Jeb Bush
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Jeb Bush has distinguished himself from other potential Republican presidential candidates by remaining steadfastly supportive of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The former Florida governor likes the standards and thinks that if states have a problem with them, they should propose something even better.

However, just like other supporters of Common Core on the right, Bush recognizes that federal involvement in the issue has given the standards a bad name (deservedly or not). In an interview with Education Next, Bush blamed the Obama administration for all the bad PR Common Core has received:

States are free to modify the Common Core State Standards or adopt their own individual standards, because academic standards are the prerogative of the states.

The opposition to the common core has been mostly fueled by President Obama and his administration attempting to take credit for and co-opt a state-led initiative.

I don't know if "mostly" is a fair description. Many teachers now oppose Common Core because of its standardized testing requirements. But it's certainly true that federal involvement has fueled hostility toward the standards on the right. That's because the Obama administration issued waivers and grants to states in exchange for becoming Core-compliant, effectively ending their ability to decide this important education matter for themselves.

But there is hope! A Republican-controlled Congress could pass an amendment to federal education law prohibiting the federal Department of Education from issuing such bribes to states. This would mean advocates and critics of Common Core could again argue over the actual standards, rather than concentrate on the Obama administration's creeping curriculum nationalization.

It's a reform that both sides could—and have—agreed on.

For more on this subject, read "How a Republican Congress Could Kill Common Core."