George Will understands why conservatives are revolted by the Common Core standards. Jeb Bush either does not understand or, perhaps worse, does not care. Either way, Bush owns his insistence upon the highly controversial education initiative, a position that will likely cost him with most conservatives in a presidential bid, and should also matter to all Republicans.
Writing at The Washington Post, Will explains clearly how Bush’s support of the Common Core is at extreme odds with what it means to be conservative.
“It is not about the content of the standards, which would be objectionable even if written by Aristotle and refined by Shakespeare,” he asserts. “Rather, the point is that, unless stopped now, the federal government will not stop short of finding in Common Core a pretext for becoming a national school board.”
“Bush says ‘standards are different than curriculum’ and: ‘I would be concerned if we had a national curriculum influenced by the federal government. My God, I’d break out in a rash,'” Will continues. “But standards will shape what is tested, and textbooks will be ‘aligned’ with the tests.”
By way of example, Will cites the federal government’s use of Title IX as a means to take over the area of sexual assault accusations at colleges and universities. Title IX states no person “shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
“Title IX’s 31 words beget hundreds of pages of minute stipulations and mandates,” he observes, pointing out the rape charge “epidemic” that has now become even ludicrous.
Will writes that “if Bush does not see the pertinence of this episode to Common Core, which is the thin end of a potentially enormous federal wedge, he should not be put in charge of the executive branch.”
If he desired, Bush could easily find similar examples of federal intrusions in education – usually tied to federal funding – such as the invasion of the LGBT agenda in public schools, sex education à la Planned Parenthood, and the enormously unpopular and wasteful school meals program, courtesy of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Yet, despite what David Kirp, public policy professor at University of California, Berkeley, aptly calls a “buzz saw of opposition because of his embrace of the Common Core,” Bush appears intent on advancing the cause of the standards as he also condescends to the conservatives he seems to believe are a negligible portion of the base of the Republican Party.
At this point, however, it is too late for Bush to separate himself from the Common Core standards. He owns them.