Bush may be best known for his education reforms in Florida and his continuing efforts to see comprehensive reform throughout the country. He admits, however, "In the last year or year and a half there has been a stalling-out of the comprehensive reform movement." Common Core has been in the middle of this, with supporters advocating the adoption of high standards originally developed by the states and critics characterizing them as the administration's attempt to take over education. This is a distraction, in Bush's view, along with less central issues like the amount of testing required of children.
Interestingly, Bush does not castigate Common Core critics for peddling misinformation about the state-developed standards. Instead he invokes a theme conservatives find familiar: "The principal reason [for the fight] has been the president. There is no trust he will faithfully enforce the law." He points to the administration's conditioning No Child Left Behind waivers on adoption of Common Core or equivalent standards, a practice driven not by legislation but by executive whim. "I respect the frustration. But those who oppose Common Core need to finish the sentence. 'I oppose Common Core ... but I want high expectations for my child, for my schools."
COMMENT: Mr. Bush is correct that the conditional waivers are illegal and unconstitutional. However, he totally misses the point that the federal interference in education that started under his father, George HW Bush that led to federally required state standards and tests in 1994 and the expansion of yearly tests in 2001 under his brother George W. Bush have led to these problems with the illegal waivers requiring Common Core trying to deal with terribly unconstitutional legislation in the first place.
Bush ticks off the list of must-haves in education beginning with "higher standards" and without invoking Common Core specifically. He goes down the list: "Accurate testing, shifting to teacher effectiveness and being able to fire bad teachers, school choice, embrace digital learning. We know these have yielded great results."
COMMENT: None of these things are "must haves." The testing mania/accountability requiring teachers teach to the test and students spend so much time testing instead of learning is quite harmful and is sparking a rebellion all over the country, and especially in his home state of Florida. School choice laws are being written to impose public school (Common Core) tests on private schools. And, digital learning is resulting in massive data gathering, psychological profiling and indoctrination without parental knowledge or consent, not to mention the potential physical harm of so much electronics exposure at young ages.
However, this criticism of Obama is new. Here are pictures of Jeb Bush with the president at a Miami education event in 2011, one year after Common Core was adopted, indicating Bush's support for Obama's education policies:
Bush is starting to be challenged in polls such as the one in Florida that showed Senator Rand Paul ahead of him against Hillary Clinton in Florida and the newest one in New Hampshire showing him also behind Paul. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bush's aids are trying to prevent donors from looking at other candidates. All of this indicates continued issues with a potential Bush presidential run.