The Wall Street Journal editorial board took a turn at Jonathan Gruber’s strategy in getting Obamacare passed. The board advised Jeb Bush that if he wants to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he should simply change the “polarizing” name of the standards he continues to champion, suggesting that conservatives won’t know the difference.
The board wrote that Mr. Bush need not repudiate his support for national education standards, though he should disavow President Obama’s use of the federal purse to coerce states to impose them. The polls showed that nearly as many Republicans as Democrats support high standards as long as the polarizing “Common Core” name is removed. GOP Governors Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) and Mike Pence (Indiana) have already dumped the label and kept similar standards. Mr. Bush can then pivot to his stellar record on accountability and choice in Florida.
Such a condescending view of conservatives seems in line with Gruber’s calling American taxpayers “stupid.” The WSJ editorial board demonstrated that it is out of touch with the conservative base of the Republican Party, so much so that it believes Gov. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana is in the clear because he simply “rebranded” the Common Core standards with another name.
As Breitbart News observed in April when Pence approved the new Hoosier standards – strikingly similar to Common Core – Erin Tuttle, co-organizer of Hoosiers Against Common Core, reflected the uproar of parents against the controversial standards when she said, “For all Pence’s claims of federalism, his signature legislation removing Indiana from the Common Core required the new standards to ‘comply with federal standards to receive a flexibility waiver.’”
Conveniently for Common Core proponents, the only standards that “comply with federal standards to receive a flexibility waiver” are the Common Core standards.
“[Pence’s] Hoosier process was predicated on satisfying the federal government, thus resulting in a rebrand of the Common Core,” Tuttle added. “This was all about delivering a predetermined result, a set of standards with almost perfect alignment to the Common Core to satisfy the US Department of Education.”
Regarding Bush, the editors at the National Review noted the similar lack of conservatism in his approach to education policy. “His support for raising educational standards is laudable,” they said, “but his idea that a push for nationally uniform standards is the right way to achieve this goal is misguided.”
Bush is celebrating the 15th anniversary of his Gates-funded Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE). Other donors to FEE include News Corp, which owns the WSJ, Bloomberg Philanthropies, mega textbook publisher Pearson, and publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, K12, and Scholastic. Additionally, former New York City schools Chancellor Joel Klein, now CEO of Amplify, a digital learning company that is a subsidiary of News Corp, is on FEE’s board of directors.
Bush’s relationships with textbook and digital learning companies that will profit from the Common Core standards must not be overlooked.
As Pulse: North Carolina Watch pointed out, “The country’s virtual education market happens to be dominated by two companies, K12, Inc … and Connections Academy, a subsidiary of Pearson, an educational publishing company also traded on Wall Street. … Both companies employed lobbyists in North Carolina last year.”
These companies with which Bush has formed relationships are, in fact, being closely scrutinized themselves.
Pearson Education, for example, is closing its charitable foundation after a series of legal problems. As Breitbart News reported in December of 2013, the Pearson Foundation agreed to a $7.7 million settlement with the state of New York after accusations by the state’s attorney general that the foundation helped develop Common Core-aligned courses for Pearson, Inc., its corporate parent.
In October, Breitbart News also reported a scandal in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in which Superintendent John Deasy, former employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, resigned after pushing a $1.3 billion iPad buy for every child in his district from Apple and Pearson Publications. The program was a huge failure and led to further scrutiny of Deasy’s close personal ties with Apple and Pearson.
The Los Angeles Times further reported earlier this month that the FBI was also conducting a criminal investigation into the failed LAUSD iPad program and had seized 20 boxes of records related to the matter. A federal grand jury is reportedly studying the situation.
Additionally, both Alan Singer at the Huffington Post and Mercedes Schneider noted that Pearson, which was awarded the assessment contract by the PARCC interstate consortium in what was described as a contract of “unprecedented scale,” is losing states that were once signed on to PARCC for their assessments. Schneider reported that only ten states will be using PARCC tests this school year.
As for K12, Bloomberg reported last month that the largest operator of online public schools in the United States “was heralded as the next revolution in schooling,” with backing from billionaire Michael Milken and praise from Bush. The company, however, has not delivered and has been “plagued by subpar test scores,” loss of management contracts, and has been “threatened with school shutdowns in five states this year.”
Bloomberg also observed that the National Collegiate Athletic Association has decided that students can no longer count credits from 24 of the K12 virtual high schools toward scholarships.
Conservative author Michelle Malkin wrote that Bush’s agenda is the one he shares with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one that serves as champion for “mass legalization of cheap, illegal alien workers” and a “top-down, privacy-undermining, local autonomy-sabotaging Common Core racket.”
“Jeb’s problem isn’t just Common Core. It’s that he has no core,” Malkin says. “Instead of retreating from the costly federalized scheme that has alienated teachers, administrators, and parents of all backgrounds, Bush has doubled down with his Fed Ed control freak allies and corporate donors.”