Jeb Officially Enters Presidential Race As He Leads Our Children Off the Common Core Cliff

June, 2015

Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director

Jeb Bush has done what everyone knew was coming for the last six months by officially entering the race for president during a speech in Miami on June 15th.  He finally decided to quit skirting campaign finance law to raise millions of dollars and coordinate with his PAC by not being a declared candidate. Bush's questionable tactics have been called out by Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith and many others. 

Despite being the first candidate to even mention running, his family name and connections, and the huge amount of money already raised, Bush is not maintaining the aura of a front runner at all. Sunshine State News political reporter Kevin Derby has rightfully noted that Bush's "shock and awe" campaign has failed to clear the decks of other contenders. A Monmouth University Poll released on the same day as his announcement showed Bush in third place behind Dr. Ben Carson and Governor Scott Walker in a tight cluster of candidates with no clear front runner:
The latest Monmouth University Poll found that "undecided" is the most popular response when Republican voters nationwide are asked who they support as their party's standard bearer. It remains difficult even to identify a clear "top tier" in the field of 16 possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates...
...While former governor Jeb Bush formally announces his candidacy today, it is fellow Floridian and current U.S. senator Marco Rubio who seems to have enjoyed greater momentum in the past few weeks. When asked to name who they would like to see as the party's nominee for president, Republican and Republican-leaning voters are divided among commentator Dr. Ben Carson (11%), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (10%), Bush (9%), Rubio (9%), and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (8%). Other preferences include Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (6%), Texas Senator Ted Cruz (5%), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (4%), former Texas Governor Rick Perry (4%), former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (3%), businesswoman Carly Fiorina (2%), South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (2%), and businessman Donald Trump (2%).

Unlike other presidential campaigns, education is a major issue this time. When discussing Bush's lackluster performance so far, his education position supporting Common Core or in an effort to avoid Common Core's toxicity, what he now euphemistically calls "high standards" is always mentioned or inferred:
Smith said on Bush's announcement day, "Money and establishment support usually wins out, but Bush is running in a very different Republican Party than his brother did in 2000 and his father did in 1988. The conservative grass roots has wrested considerable power away from the party elites, and Bush must overcome not just name fatigue, but also fierce hostility to his positions on hot-button issues like education and immigration."
The Washington Post in an article titled, "How Jeb Bush's campaign ran off course before it even began" said, "On the stump, Bush has stuck to his pledge not to shift to the right to win the nomination, but his middle-of-the-road positions on immigration and education have come off more as out of step with the base of his party than shrewdly pragmatic."

Chris Christie, one of the few remaining Common Core supporters among declared or possible presidential candidates and once as staunch a defender of the Common Core standards as Bush, has come to see them as a political liability.  He has gone from "having grave concerns" to just recently fully renouncing them as "not working" in New Jersey.


From Tallahassee to Washington DC, evidence of both Jeb Bush's and the state of Florida's deception regarding their role in Common Core and the idea that Florida is out of Common Core continues to mount.  We have chronicled the many quotes from  the media, Commissioner Pam Stewart and other education officials, former Speaker Weatherford and especially Jeb Bush who tried to say that Florida was out of Common Core while admitting as he campaigned for Governor Rick Scott last fall that the changes to Common Core that became the Florida Standards were "insignificant."

Now there are several new pieces of evidence showing that fraud.  Buzzfeed found emails between Bush and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan showing both Bush's stature in controlling and implementing Common Core in Florida and across the nation as well as Governor Rick Scott's true intentions to merely change the name of Common Core instead of getting rid of it in order to be re-elected. The key phrase in Bush's reply to Duncan's request for advice is that Scott was "fear[ful] of the rebellion" for his re-election, but apparently not enough to really do something, because as Bush describes and history shows, all he did most likely with Bush's advice, was "stop using the term common core but keep the standards." (Emphasis added).

In another piece of hypocrisy, Bush, in his effort to sound conciliatory about conservatives' main concern about Common Core, has been saying that the federal government should have no role in standards.  However, this statement is very disingenuous, because besides supporting Common Core, Bush is also supporting the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education law his brother signed. Both the House and Senate bills actually cement federal government control. That position is also getting him in trouble with the conservative base, because even though there is a prohibition against federal interference with standards like Common Core, there are still continued federal mandates requiring statewide standards and tests. The Hill reports:

The intraparty fight over whether to reform or gut No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is putting renewed focus on Bush's status as the lone top-tier GOP presidential hopeful still backing the Common Core state education standards for reading and math.

Bush's conservative critics on Capitol Hill say he's simply out of step with the party when it comes to education.

"It's about federal control of education, whether it's watered-down federal control or No Child Left Behind federal control," said conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who is supporting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in the 2016 presidential race. Bush is going to "have a hard time with Republican voters with a position like that.

"If you have a position on No Child Left Behind or Common Core that is contrary to the wishes of the majority of Republican voters, you're going to have a problem," Amash said.

Here are a few of the many other reasons for parents and teachers to be concerned about the reauthorizations of NCLB and voters to be concerned about Bush's support for these bills:
  1. Continues the master-servant relationship between the U. S. Department of Education (USED) and the states, requiring state plans and giving the Secretary enormous authority to approve or disapprove them.
  2. Does nothing to stop the planned psychological profiling of students' "mindsets" and "grit" in the NAEP test.
  3. Removes the prohibition against statewide tests that "evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes" in the House bill and greatly expands psychological screening in the Senate bill
  4. Considers a state legislature to have waived "the State's rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary" if the legislature even approves an overall state budget that includes any money from the federal education programs.
  5. Relies on an outdated and severely weakened federal privacy law (FERPA).
  6. Diminishes parental authority to the right to "participate in" not control -- the education of their children.
Finally, There is great and justifiable alarm about the new APUSH framework that portrays America as racist, discriminatory, destroying the planet and imperialistic, the same ideas that are replete in the Common Core English official list of text examples. Bush, in another attempt to deflect criticism, constantly states in interviews that Common Core has nothing to do with social studies, that it is only English, reading and math. (See this interview with Megyn Kelly at 4:10.) Yet, this is at best a mistake or at worse a falsehood, because Common Core is associated to social studies via the social studies literacy standards under Common Core English.  Those Common Core social studies ELA literacy standards are being used to alter and align state social studies standards as in Minnesota (see p. 13 of document at this link) as well as the AP standards to the radicalized anti-American view common in the official list of text exemplars for Common Core's ELA standards:

Another way that the Committee [sic] ensured that the proposed social studies standards provide college and career readiness, was to align the social studies standards with the 2010 Minnesota Academic Standards in English Language Arts. The language arts standards contain content related to literacy in history and social studies. They include all of the Common Core language arts standardsrigorous standards that have been widely documented as aligned with college and career-readiness expectations. (Emphasis added p. 13)
It is Bush's undying support for Common Core and the punitive, unhelpful tests coupled with his deceptive efforts to dance around that issue that are likely starting to cause grave problems for him in both national and state polls.  The Real Clear Politics national average has him only 0.2% ahead of Scott Walker; tied for 5th place in Iowa; number one by a mere 3.8% in New Hampshire; and by an even smaller margin of 0.4% in South Carolina.  In his home state of Florida, Senator Marco Rubio has closed the gap from 15 points to 6 since March on a St. Leo poll released on June 10th.  Even the pundits on Bret Baer's Special Report Candidate Casino - Mara Liasson, Charles Krauthammer, and Steve Hayes - all lowered their bets on Bush on the June 5th show and the pundits from the June 12th show did the same. 

The coronation he seemed to be expecting last December is not happening. There are many parents that hope these trends continue for the good of the country and our children's education.


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