Stop The Lies Representing Warning Sign And Truth
There are about 20 or so Republican announced or rumored candidates and while I am not planning to vote for a Republican it is interesting to watch their stances on education. I admire Jeb Bush for being one of the only candidates, and the only Republican right now that is still in support for Common Core. I am more likely to trust a candidate who doesn’t give in to what polling says or what the perception is about a topic. Whether or not he wins the nomination or the election, I’d much rather run on issues I care about that I know work than run on a bunch of lies. CNN reports:
Bush — unlike other 2016ers — is not backing away from his endorsement of Common Core as an effective method of measuring student learning. His brother, after all, pushed and ultimately signed No Child Left Behind in early 2002, which imposed test score standards on schools with lower-income students that received federal funding.
As for Common Core, Jeb Bush has expressed frustration with how the standards have been prone to misinformation that have in part helped turn the issue into a political football.
“Because people have a different view of what Common Core is, am I supposed to back away from something that I know works?” he asked at the same event in Bedford.
As two-term governor of Florida from 1999-2007, Bush focused heavily on education reform, which included implementing higher standards as well as a school voucher program. After he left office, he launched a nonprofit called the Foundation for Excellence in Education that ultimately became a leading proponent of Common Core.
One major problem with supporting Common Core today is that it has been tainted as a federal program (of course supported by Obama) and no one gets the message that theses standards were developed collaboratively across states. The federal government simply offered funding to states who adopted higher standards to help with implementation.
Contrary to what some believe, Common Core standards were not developed by the federal government but by the National Governors Association along with help from state education leaders, parents and teachers. The standards dictate what students in elementary school and high school should know by the end of each grade, and it’s up to the states to come up with testing and curriculum that align with those measurements.
The federal government got involved when it gave states financial incentives to adopt higher standards. Those standards didn’t have to be Common Core, but since the standards were available, 46 states have adopted them since 2010, though some have since changed or eliminated them.
At least as Jeb Bush campaigns he’s spreading the message that Common Core works and the truth about the program. We can only hope that will encourage others to question the other candidates as to exactly why they oppose common core, because it’s more than likely that its just a campaign ploy. Common Core is already tagged as a national program, and Republicans are anti-federal oversight, so this is seemingly low hanging fruit for Republicans to further their campaign agenda.
For his part, Bush has politely tried to correct some misunderstandings about Common Core on the trail, without trying to get to deep in the weeds. At an event in Manchester, a retired math teacher told Bush that he got frustrated with spending more time testing than teaching.
Bush explained that tests are only administered on the state and local level — not by the federal government — and proposed that states should mandate that school districts tell parents why they are giving so many tests. That would better facilitate a conversation between parents and educators on how to strike a balance.
“And that’s the way it should be. You can do that in New Hampshire,” he said, urging the man, John Potucek, who’s also a state representative, to push back on the state about his complaints. “But please make sure you have accountability around students, ’cause the net result is you’re going to have a decline.”
After the event Potucek told CNN he was surprised by Bush’s answer, and while he didn’t agree with everything Bush said, he said his Common Core stance wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
“He explained it in a way that I wasn’t expecting, and I have to kind of chew on it a little bit,” he said.
It doesn’t always go well, though. At a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, a retired local school board member named Les Feldman grilled Bush about his support for Common Core. After a tense back-and-forth that lasted several minutes, a somewhat exasperated Bush ultimately concluded with, “I’m just for higher standards, man.”
Keep speaking the truth Jeb, and maybe you’ll make a supporter out of me!
The bottom line, Bush has argued, is that students need better accountability and there are a variety of ways to make that happen with higher standards.
“There’s got to be a better way,” Bush said at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire earlier this month, saying only half of high school graduates are college or career-ready. “We can’t just keep fooling ourselves and just say ‘oh it’s because … kids in poverty can’t learn’.”
“That’s crap,” a man in the audience interjected.
“Thank you, brother,” Bush said forcefully. “That is crap.”