During the first round of the 2016 GOP presidential debates, Jeb Bush was pressured by the moderators to explain his history of pushing for Common Core implementation across the country. In his statement, Bush said:
“I don’t believe the federal government should be involved in the creation of standards directly or indirectly, the creation of curriculum or content. It is clearly a state responsibility. I’m for higher standards…”
In his statement though, Bush avoided the specific answer the moderators wanted, which was whether or not he did or did not endorse the current Common Core curricula be adopted by various states. This isn’t the first time Bush has dodged the question, back in December of 2014 Bush had this to say about the implementation of off a common curricula adopted by states:
"…Standards are different than curriculum…I would be concerned if we had a national curriculum influenced by the federal government. My God, I’d break out in a rash."
Here’s why the way Bush phrased his response is so telling, he spent his portion of his answer time during the debate to state what Common Core is not instead of giving an actual answer. Bush simply stated these two known facts:
1) Common Core is not a federal standard of education
2) Common Core is not a product of the Department of Education
Even though he did say he was against the federal implementation of core curricula, he did say however that states did have the right to opt-in or opt-out of implementing a shared standard similar to other states . That’s where he managed to slip in the answer to the question though, the proverbial devil in the details; Common core is a program which states can choose opt into, which he wants states to do as long as standards for students are high.
This should concern anti-Common Core activists, since one of the biggest issues is that the Department of Education did funnel a lot of federal money into states which chose to take part of Common Core, therefore providing a huge incentive without actually endorsing the program.
A key moment during this debate debacle was when Senator Marco Rubio responded to the former Governor’s remarks:
“Here is the problem with Common Core. The Department of Education will never be satisfied. They will not stop with making it a suggestion. They will make it a mandate. In fact, what they will say to local communities is, ‘You will not get federal money if you don’t do things the way we want you to.’ They will use Common Core and any other requirements that exist nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states.”
Rubio’s statement hit at the heart of the issue; its that even though this progressive policy isn’t federally born, the money offered to states that adopt the system is what has influenced the culture of corruption we have been seeing throughout the country since its inception.
As of now, only two of the GOP candidates in the prime time debate stood strong against Common Core since the beginning, Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul . Ohio Governor John Kasich recently started to follow this wave by cutting all state spending to Common Core exams. The rest of the candidates on stage have all come to oppose Common Core, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker .