Jeb Bush at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit  Photo credit: Dave Davidson - Prezography.com
Jeb Bush at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) published a video back in January on Common Core through his political action committee Rand PAC which is on his campaign’s Facebook page.  This video has the most views other than his video promoting his presidential campaign announcement which received national attention.  Currently the video, to date, has 463,388 views with over 19,200 likes and 10,795 shares.

The accuracy of the video surely will be attacked by Common Core advocates as he dives into curriculum issues, but the sheer popularity of the video I believe speaks to the potency of Common Core as an issue in the race to the Republican nomination for President.

The issue has been a stumbling block to Jeb Bush, and he addressed it in his campaign announcement speech this week.

After we reformed education in Florida, low-income student achievement improved here more than in any other state.

We stopped processing kids along as if we didn’t care – because we do care, and you don’t show that by counting out anyone’s child. You give them all a chance.

Here’s what I believe.

When a school is just another dead end, every parent should have the right to send their child to a better school – public, private, or charter.

Every school should have high standards, and the federal government should have nothing to do with setting them.

Nationwide, if I am president, we will take the power of choice away from the unions and bureaucrats and give it back to parents.

We made sure of something else in Florida – that children with developmental challenges got schooling and caring attention, just like every other girl and boy. We didn’t leave them last in line. We put them first in line because they are not a problem. They are a priority. (Emphasis mine)

This is the approach he has been taking ever since he began to consider a run for President.  This isn’t a repudiation of the Common Core.  It’s just stating a talking point everyone can agree with.  Who doesn’t want high standards?  The problem with his statement on Feds setting standards is he still favors federal assessment and accountability mandates.  He didn’t express concern about Race to the Top at the time it was implemented.  Sure he doesn’t like the Feds setting standards, but it is ok to coerce them through the power of the purse and other mandates?

Donald Trump in his announcement speech and at an event in Des Moines, IA attacked Bush on his support for Common Core.  Paul has attacked him on the issue.  Carly Fiorina has expressed disagreement.  There will be others who level criticism as well as the campaign wears on.  Bush is the only candidate who is standing firm on Common Core.  He may downplay his support.  He may try to spin his support.  Gates funding is trying to change the narrative for him in early states like Iowa, but he has not backed away.

He has critics on Capitol Hill as well as The Hill reported last week in light of the attempt to reauthorize No Child Left Behind.

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.

“Jeb Bush is the only one holding on to Common Core. I think that’s toxic,” conservative Louisiana Rep. John Fleming added.

Bush may not be alone in his support however if Ohio Governor John Kasich jumps into the race, but as a top tier candidate in a number of polls Bush is the one with the target on his back.

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