#StopJebNow - Bloomberg Interviews Dr. Effrem About Jeb Bush as His Florida Poll Numbers Start to Slide

July, 2014

Toluse Olorunnipa of Bloomberg News wrote a story about the fierce criticism that Jeb Bush has been receiving regarding his stubborn and misguided support of Common Core.  He interviewed Dr. Effrem who said:

"There's a lot of anger and concern about him running, because of his stance on education," said Karen Effrem, co- founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, which is made up of several local tea party groups. "All he's doing is expanding federal control and destroying the autonomy of parents and local school districts."

Despite the reporter's efforts to be balanced by listing some improved education statistics since Bush's tenure as governor, all of the people interviewed listed concerns, if not downright hostility to Common Core.  Here is a political science professor Audrey Jewell from Orlando:

Bush also faces an uphill battle in trying to convert those statistics into a winning message to Common Core skeptics in the tea party movement, said Aubrey Jewett, who teaches political science at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

"Theoretically, it should help him because at least some of the data does support what he's saying," he said. "But there are some folks in the Republican Party who do not want to do anything on Common Core -- other than get rid of it."

In addition, Bush is starting to get criticism from Florida media outlets. Jac Wilder VerSteeg of the Sun Sentinel wrote a column saying:
Jeb is a godfather of bogus high-stakes testing. Way back in 1999, he started using the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to assign grades to schools. Nothing about that grading system was valid. Yet then-Gov. Bush claimed it was "accountability."

Things have only gotten worse in subsequent years. Schools and teachers have been labeled as "failing" by a test that was not even administered to large numbers of their students. The Legislature and Gov. Scott decided high-stakes tests should be used to decide if a teacher should be kept or fired. Never mind that there is no formula or algorithm that can reliably tell which teachers are good and which are bad.

The harm to students punished, retained and even denied a diploma because of bad scores on high-stakes tests, is even worse. In a tacit admission that the FCAT was inadequate for the purposes for which it was used, Florida abandoned that test and planned to adopt the Common Core Standards and tests. But Florida's Republican governor and Legislature fretted and dithered because of right-wing opposition to Common Core -- which former Gov. Bush supports.

The result is that Florida does not have its own tests to measure progress on Common Core and, as the Sun Sentinel reported, will use a version of Utah's tests.


Any in-depth look at Gov. Bush's education record will confirm his reputation is undeserved. That's the third pillar falling down.

Bush is also starting to slide in Florida polls even in his home state.  Sunshine State News reported last week on a Survey USA poll showing that Bush is no longer leading in the presidential polls even in his home state:
A new poll shows U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., running better in Florida against former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton than two potential Republican presidential candidates from the Sunshine State in hypothetical 2016 match-ups.

Bush also is also faring poorly against many conservatives in the GOP. In this Sunshine State News article about the Western Conservative Summit, Chairman John Andrews said that conservatives were much more enthusiastic about Floridians Dr. Ben Carson and Allen West:

While Andrews called Bush a "hero" for his work on education, he added that the former Florida governor's support for Common Core has "tarnished" him with Western conservatives. Andrews also said Bush's position on immigration, such as criticizing Arizona's law, and his father and brother also serving in the White House, have undermined his standing with conservatives.

"Between Common Core, immigration and the Bush family, Western conservatives would not be warm to an address from Gov. Bush," said Andrews.

One can only hope that those who love freedom and see the dangers of Common Core prevail in convincing Jeb not to run.

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