Over the past several months, the entire Republican presidential field has turned against the Common Core State Standards, which were pushed by the federal government through Race to the Top handouts. The only holdout has been Jeb Bush.
Until now, Bush’s default argument about Common Core has been that while the government’s intrusion into education was improper, the standards themselves are good. That argument was just blown away as a 2011 video was uncovered showing that Bush didn’t just support the standards, but also liked the idea of the Obama Administration bribing states to adopt them:
At NBC’s 2011 Education Summit (financed with a $500,000 grant from the Gates Foundation), Bush endorsed the President’s education agenda: “Look, I think Secretary Duncan and President Obama deserve credit for pushing—for putting pressure on states to change . . . they’re providing carrots and sticks and I think that’s appropriate.”
Needless to say, this is a game changer. Bush has, with a single sentence, destroyed the entire foundation of his “federalist” argument about Common Core. Given voter antipathy to the standards, this statement might be the final straw that completely turns them away from him. If Bush has any chance to come back from this, it will have to start with a strong realignment of his position on federal authority in education.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.