Politics & Policy

Jeb Bush’s Common Core Snit Fit

Concerned parents and experts aren’t just acting from “purely political” motives.

This is priceless. Former Florida GOP governor Jeb Bush, consummate politician and 2016 presidential aspirant, has now bitterly accused opponents of his federal-education schemes of possessing “purely political” motives. Projection, anyone?

Having previously suggested that critics of the so-called Common Core standards program are crazy, ignorant, and lying, Bush piled on at a National Press Club appearance this week. Jeb the Insult Comic Dog did not hold back. Not only is the growing anti-Fed Ed movement of parents, teachers, school-board members, academics, privacy advocates, and state legislators of all stripes “purely political,” Bush sniped, but the Common Core backlash that’s causing him conniption fits is also opposed to academic excellence.

#ad#Yep. If you question Jeb Bush and his Big Business/Big Government cronies, you stand foursquare against student achievement and intellectual rigor. Pay attention, all you informed moms and dads who have raised pointed, carefully researched questions about the costs, quality, validity, constitutionality, and intrusiveness of Common Core. Bush thinks you are “purely political” beasts who are recklessly harming your own kids’ scholastic advancement.

“If you’re comfortable with mediocrity, fine. I’m not,” Bush hissed at Common Core critics. “We’re not going to be able to sustain this extraordinarily exceptional country unless we challenge every basic assumption on how we do things.”

Translation: Don’t you know Jeb Bush cares more about your children than you do?

Bush is all for challenging how we do things, unless you’re challenging how the Common Core machine does things. He reiterated Common Core peddlers’ claims that their standards are internationally “benchmarked” and “world-class.” But that’s pure horse-hockey. And it’s not “political” people who are calling out the Common Core racket.

Stanford University professor James Milgram, a prominent dissenting member of the Common Core math-standards committee, has exposed how the muddled standards would leave American students at least two years behind the rest of the planet.

University of Arkansas education professor emeritus and Massachusetts school-standards architect Sandra Stotsky, who sat on the language-arts validation panel, has documented how the English standards will result in:

  1. teachers spending at least 50 percent of their reading-instruction time on “informational texts” at every grade level.
  2. reduced emphasis on analytical skills involving complex literary works.
  3. a depleted fund of content knowledge that will leave students unprepared for basic college coursework.

Both Stotsky and Milgram repeatedly asked their panel colleagues for the names of the countries the Common Core standards were allegedly “benchmarked” to, but they never received an answer.

Furthermore, Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University notes that much of the “evidence” and “empirical research” that the Common Core crowd cites comes from . . . the Common Core crowd. “When I reviewed that ‘large and growing body of knowledge,’” Tienken reported, “I found that it was not large, and in fact built mostly on one report, Benchmarking for Success, created by the NGA (National Governors Association) and the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers), the same groups that created these standards. Hardly independent research.”

Jeb Bush routinely has dismissed those who protest Common Core’s increasing federalization of local control over schools as conspiracy-mongers. But it’s President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan who’ve made common cause with Bush and corporate elites in foisting Common Core standards, tests, technology, and data-mining boondoggles on local school districts. Obama, Duncan, and Bush have been meeting with deep-pocketed CEOs in Washington, not with ordinary parents outside the Beltway.

Dr. Bill Evers of the Hoover Institution succinctly debunked Bush’s repeated insistence that 45 states voluntarily adopted the irresistibly rigorous standards:

States weren’t leaping because they couldn’t resist the Core’s academic magnetism. They were leaping because it was the Great Recession — and the Obama administration was dangling a $4.35 billion Race to the Top carrot in front of them. Big points in that federal program were awarded for adopting the Core, so, with little public debate, most did.

Can you spell b-o-o-n-d-o-g-g-l-e? Remember: Bush’s educational foundation, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, is tied at the hip to the federally funded testing consortium called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which raked in $186 million through Race to the Top to develop nationalized tests “aligned” to the top-down Common Core program.

One of the Bush foundation’s behemoth corporate sponsors is Pearson, the multi-billion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate. Pearson snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of PARCC test items. The company holds a $250-million contract with Florida to design and publish its state tests. Pearson designed New York’s Common Core-aligned assessments and is also the exclusive contractor for Texas state tests.

And in Los Angeles this summer, Pearson sealed a whopping $30 million taxpayer-subsidized deal to supply the city’s schools with 45,000 iPads pre-loaded with Pearson Common Core curriculum apps. That’s $678 per iPad, $200 more than the standard cost, with scant evidence that any of this shiny edu-tech will do anything to improve the achievement bottom line.

As with all political posers who grab power under the guise of doing it “for the children,” don’t read their lips. Follow the money.

Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. © 2013 Creators.com.

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