During his Q&A session with Sean Hannity at CPAC on February 27th, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was asked about his stance on education, and specifically on Common Core. The Q&A exchange was as follows:
Sean Hannity (11:16): Let me ask you—I know the second big issue that always comes up when you read about Governor Jeb Bush is the issue of Common Core. Um, it was interesting, I didn’t know until I was researching you, that you were the first governor to institute vouchers in the country. It was eventually overruled by the Supreme Court of Florida, but you were the first Governor to allow a voucher system. I think a lot of conservatives believe in vouchers. But I want you to address the Common Core issue.
Governor Bush (11:41): Sure, well, I’ll do it in the context of comprehensive reform, because high standards by themselves aren’t meaningful. They’re helpful, they’re better than lower standards, but by themselves if there’s no accountability around this, if there’s no consequence between mediocrity and failure or excellence, then the system won’t move forward. In Florida, we took a comprehensive approach. Yes, we did have the first statewide voucher program, and we have more school choice in Florida, both public and private, than any other state in the country. And we have the largest virtual school. We have the largest corporate tax scholarship program, we have 30,000 students that if their parents—that if their child has a learning disability they can take the dollars, the state and local dollars, and send them to any private school of their choice. We have all of that, and that’s improved public schools. We eliminated social promotion in third grade, which was a pretty difficult thing to do. We did all of this and we raised standards, and my belief is that our standards have to be high enough where a student going through our system is college or career ready, and that’s not what’s happening right now. Now—
Hannity (12:46): Is Common Core a federal takeover—
Bush (12:48): No.
Hannity (12:49): It’s not.
Bush (12:50): And it shouldn’t be. And here’s, here’s where I think conservatives and myself, all of us are deeply concerned, with this President and this Department of Education there’s a risk that they will intrude, and they have as it relates to Race to the Top. What we should say quite clearly in the reauthorization of the K-12 law that is just—I think it may have actually been on the floor of the House of Representatives today, is to say that the federal government has no role in the creation of standards either directly or indirectly. The federal government has no role in the creation of curriculum and content. The federal government should have no access to student ID or student information. That the role of the federal government, if there’s any, is to provide incentives for more school choice. Take the title one money and the IDEA money and if the states want to innovate their own programs, give them the money to let them create their own programs. That is a better approach.
The Q&A can be viewed in it’s entirety below: