On March 6, the Washington Post published an op-ed penned by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. In the op-ed, Bush implicitly reaffirmed his support for the Common Core despite the growing, bi-partisan opposition to the standards. Bush also argued for a limited federal role in elementary and secondary education, while simultaneously advocating for the re-authorization of federal education programs:
The federal government’s role in elementary and secondary education should be limited: It should work to create transparency so that parents can see how their local schools measure up; it should support policies that have a proven record; and it should make sure states can’t ignore students who need extra help. That’s it.
The reauthorization process can define and clarify this role. Where the federal government maintains the power of the purse — as it does with Title I programs aimed at supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds — Congress should direct it to let states use that funding in a flexible manner to meet the goal of the programs. For example, states should have the right to decide whether Title I funding should be used to create education savings accounts that parents can use to send their kids to the schools that best meet their needs.
Most critically, we can use the reauthorization process to keep states and local districts in control of making vital decisions about standards, curriculum and academic content. States should also actively protect the privacy of student data; some states, such as Oklahoma, have already found the right solutions to that problem.
Such control can work. We’ve seen more than 40 states voluntarily work together to create the Common Core standards for language arts and math. I support such rigorous, state-driven academic standards. Some states would rather set their own standards, and that’s appropriate, provided they are high standards. But no matter what, no state should be forced to adopt standards mandated by the federal government.
Bush’s op-ed can be viewed in its entirety here.