Jeb Bush Gives ‘Impassioned’ Speech to Defend his Support for Common Core

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

As Republicans of all stripes and the main-stream media are predicting that Jeb Bush’s support for the Common Core standards will be among his greatest obstacles to a potential 2016 GOP nomination, Bush himself went off-script during remarks at the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday, emotionally defending the highly unpopular education initiative and his own education reform record.

The Hill described Bush’s defense of the controversial Common Core and his own education reform program in Florida as “impassioned” as the former Florida governor deviated from his prepared address.

We decided that the right to rise was also a civil right,” Bush said. “So we went to work to change education in Florida, and boy did we…

The net result after 10 years of struggle, and believe me, the tire marks are on my forehead for this reason, is that we moved the needle in student learning.

Bush reportedly grew more emotional in his speech when he explained how his initiatives turned the Florida education system around during his two terms as governor from 1999-2007:

We grade schools in Florida to have true accountability so moms and dads know exactly where schools stand. We raised expectations and standards, and we assessed faithfully to those standards. We made sure that every child counted in the system, that they weren’t cast aside if they were struggling readers or had problems. We eliminated social promotion in third grade, this insidious policy that exists in the country where, if you’re functionally illiterate, you’re passed along to fourth grade, where the gaps begin to grow and grow and grow, and the social costs grow as well.

However, Ze’ev Wurman, former U.S. Department of Education official under President George W. Bush, told Breitbart News that while Florida improved significantly in its National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) scores in the late 1990s and early 2000s under Gov. Jeb Bush, the above average scores did not persist.

Wurman notes that despite the state’s brief period of success, “What was good for a governor is not necessarily good for a president.”

“What Jeb is trying to do with his Florida education reform is exactly what Mitt Romney did with his Massachusetts ‘Romneycare’ that imploded in a major way when it was imposed on the nation in the form of Obamacare,” Wurman said. “Similarly, Jeb’s brother George also had a pretty decent record on NAEP scores in Texas, yet his No Child Left Behind law – an effort to make Texas-style reform nationwide – did not work out well and was another example of federal overreach.”

Since he left office, Bush has been a premier champion—along with Bill Gates and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—of the Common Core standards.

A Bush spokesperson reportedly told The Hill that “his Wednesday speech was not a defense of Common Core in particular, but said that he still supports the higher standards associated with the practice.”

Perhaps one of the main problems for Bush is that he continues to speak of the Common Core standards as more “rigorous” and “higher” than other standards, when there have been no independent studies conducted to support this claim.

Conservative Republicans, especially, have rejected the standards based on the federal government’s decision to entice states into adopting them in exchange for competitive grants and waivers from the onerous restrictions of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

Americans, in general, have grown to dislike the Common Core the more they have seen what the initiative entails.

As Breitbart News reported last August, a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup (PDK/Gallup) poll found that only 19 percent of Americans knew “nothing at all” about the Common Core standards and that 60 percent opposed teachers using the standards to guide what they teach.

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans 18 years and older, found that Republicans appear to be most educated about the Common Core standards, with 54 percent stating they knew either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about the initiative, compared to 40 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Independents.

Of those identifying as Republicans, 76 percent said they opposed teachers’ use of the Common Core standards, compared to 38 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents.

According to The Hill, “GOP strategist Karl Rove said Bush’s support for the set of nationalized education standards will be his biggest challenge in seeking the Republican presidential nomination.”

The Common Core initiative consists of a set of English and math standards, assessments created by two federally funded interstate test consortia, and the creation of massive student data systems in the states that will ultimately be accessible by the federal government. The data systems will be of major importance to a federal “school to work” (STW) or “workforce” paradigm that is intimately connected to Bush’s other problematic cause—amnesty.

As Breitbart TV reported Wednesday, Bush also said in the same address, to “create high, sustained economic growth,” we need to “dramatically expand immigrants that are coming to work.”

Bush said the United States should be “dramatically expanding immigrants that are coming to work. A guest worker program to deal in the areas where there are shortages.”

As many experts have testified in states throughout the country, the Common Core standards will close the achievement gap by “dumbing down” expectations so that all students in the United States—whether legal or illegal—will be “workforce” ready.

In March of last year, Wurman reflected on the decision of the College Board—headed by the “architect” of the Common Core standards David Coleman—to align the SAT with the Common Core standards.

“One of the first things David Coleman promised when he assumed the presidency of the College Board was to align the SAT with the Common Core,” Wurman told Breitbart News. “Now he delivers on his promise and dumbs down the SAT to match the low level of Common Core expectations.”

“Mr. Coleman and Common Core proponents have a problem: Common Core claims to prepare students for college, yet at most, its content prepares them for community and four-year, non-selective colleges. Its own authors admit as much,” he said.

The Common Core standards were developed by three private organizations in Washington, D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and progressive education company Achieve Inc. All three organizations were privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and none of these groups are accountable to parents, teachers, students, or taxpayers.

There is no official information about who selected the individuals to write the Common Core standards. None of the writers of the math and English Language Arts standards have ever taught math, English, or reading at the K-12 level. In addition, the Standards Development Work Groups did not include any members who were high school English and mathematics teachers, English professors, scientists, engineers, parents, state legislators, early childhood educators, and state or local school board members.

In 2010, most of the 46 states that ultimately adopted the Common Core standards had agreed to them sight unseen.


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