Browsing articles in "Politics of Education"
Nov 27, 2014
ELW

Response to Jeb Bush’s Education Summit Speech

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President

Jeb Bush gave the keynote speech at his Foundation for Excellence in Education national education summit in Washington DC on November 19th  as he continues to lay the ground work for a likely presidential run.  He made an effort to soften his attacks on those who oppose Common Core by now saying he respects us and by shifting blame to the federal government.  As his remarks in Education Next on Common Core required a rebuttal, so too do his efforts to continue his unreasonable defense of Common Core.  Here is a response to some of his statements on Common Core from that speech:
JB:  This is why the debate over the Common Core State Standards has been troubling.KRE:  What is really troubling is that you think these horrific standards that are academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative with their accompanying tests and invasive data collection system should just be imposed on the nation without a word of protest from the parents, students, and teachers that have to suffer under them.JB: I respect those who have weighed in on all sides of this issue.  Nobody in this debate has a bad motive.

KRE:  I suppose that we should be happy that you have changed your tune from this same speech a year ago when you called opposition to Common Core “political” and full of “conspiracy theories.” However, everyone can see that it is you who are being political as you try to placate opposition while getting ready to run for president.

JB: And in my view, the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms.

KRE: There is nothing particularly rigorous about these standards. They are untested and not internationally benchmarked. Federally mandated state standards have done nothing in this country to improve achievement and several think tanks including the Brookings Institute say that national standards, particularly Common Core, will not improve achievement either.  Imposing these very problematic standards will only further denigrate our very troubled education system.

JB:  For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher…be bolder…raise standards and ask more of our students and the system.

KRE: It is not states that should be doing this via federal mandates, but rather parents, teachers, and duly elected school boards at the local level working to improve education without federal and state micromanaging.

Continue reading »

Nov 27, 2014
ELW

ELW Responds to Jeb Bush’s Common Core Comments in Education Next

Karen R. Effrem, MD – President

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush discussed Common Core during an interview with Education Next.  His comments are significant as he is likely to run for president. Below is a point by point response to his statements:

EN: You have been a steadfast supporter of the common core, even when others have become increasingly critical. Why? What do you say to critics?

JB: I support high academic standards. Period.

KRE: If you support high academic standards, then why do you support Common Core? They are untested; not rigorous; not internationally benchmarked; developed by one key architect who admitted the major authors were “unqualified;” admitted by another key architect to be inadequate for STEM majors in four year universities; admitted by the US DOE, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and other major groups to teach “social emotional learning,” “mindsets,”” behaviors;” and are declared by 500 early childhood experts, as well as many content experts and psychologists to be developmentally inappropriate.

JB: High academic standards are a basic element of reform. Yet, across the country, state standards have been abysmally low for too long, evidenced by the fact that 75 percent of high school graduates are not fully prepared for college or a good paying job. A recent study by the American Institutes for Research compared state standards with international assessments and found the difference between states with the highest and lowest standards was the equivalent of three to four grade levels.

KRE: There is no evidence that statewide or national standards improve academic performance.  Since the passage of the Improving America’s Schools Act and Goals 2000, started by your father and completed by President Clinton in 1994, NAEP scores have either been stagnant or fallen.

According to research by Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute, the U.S. does both better and worse on international achievement comparisons than nations that have national standards Additionally, according to research by Dr. Chris Tienken at Seton Hall University, the US far exceeds the nations that outperform American students on international comparisons with regard to entrepreneurship and innovation. Continue reading »

Jun 27, 2014
ELW

Jeb Bush Faces Increasing Criticism and Isolation Over Common Core – #Stop Jeb Now

Karen R. Effrem, MD – Executive Director

Jeb Bush is becoming increasingly strident and isolated in his support for Common Core.  He is often met with protesters as he starts to act like a presidential candidate.  Most recently, as in his home state of Florida, he was greeted by parents from Ohioans Against Common Core and members of the Hamilton County Republican Party opposed to Common Core in Cincinnati. Hamilton County is rightly deemed  “the most important county in the most important state” because of its bellweather function in elections.  Photos of the protest  along with this video are courtesy of Ted Stevenot:

 

Not only is Bush being protested, but he is also becoming more isolated on the political front as other proponents, and especially potential GOP presidential candidates have or are starting to back away or outright reject the standards as federal intrusion into what is constitutionally delimited as a state and local function.  Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are the only two potential 2016 candidates that are still openly supporting Common Core.

Most of the others have firmly rejected them like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum or Marco Rubio.  Bobby Jindal has changed his mind by vetoing a Common Core bill in Louisiana. Scott Walker has mentioned concerns about federal overreach, but has otherwise been non-committal.  Probably the worst of the bunch, other than Bush, are Mike Huckabee and Mike Pence who have respectively advocated or perpetrated deceptive “re-branding” or “lipstick on a pig” maneuvers like the Bush inspired and directed ones here in Florida.

According to a survey done by Public Policy Polling and reported in Sunshine State News, 50% of voters surveyed in Florida do not want Jeb Bush to run for president compared to 35% who do.  According to the article, “While 47 percent of Florida Republicans want Bush to run, 38 percent say he shouldn’t. ” And, between Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Bush, Rubio is preferred for president 45 to 41 percent by Republicans surveyed.

While not the singular issue, congressional primary candidates all over the nation have made resisting Common Core a prominent part of their campaigns.  Dr. Susan Berry lists them in her Breitbart post.  Particularly important is the stunning upset victory of obscure college professor David Brat over U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  Common Core and immigration reform, i.e. amnesty, were both significant issues in that campaign and both issues that also find Jeb Bush opposed to the Republican base.  Tampa Bay Times political columnist Alex Leary labeled Bush one of the week’s political losers due to Cantor’s loss and National Journal writer Josh Kraushaarmentioned Common Core being a problematic issue for Bush in the column where he said:

Bush shares many of the same vulnerabilities as Cantor–a rusty political operation and being out of touch on the issues that animate conservatives.

Bush backed candidates have had problems or have had to distance themselves from Common Core.  In Florida, these include Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto who lost a congressional primary and is now being challenged for her senate seat in large part due to Common Core and Carol Platt, who is backed by Bush in the FL-9 congressional primary and supports Common Core, but was a distant third in a straw poll after a congressional primary debate.   Even North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis, though backed by Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and the Chamber of Commerce, had to say he was opposed to Common Core in the primary.

Other media outlets are finally starting to write about the crony capitalist connections that are fueling Jeb Bush’s foundation and his potential presidential run after Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and activists across the country have written much about this issue.  Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times’ The Buzz column wrote an article outlining Bush’s connections to Bill Gates’ foundation and Microsoft, Pearson, GE, Apple, and Rupert Murdock’s part of Big Data called Amplify.

Feeling the powerful backlash from parents and teachers, even Bill Gates has started to at least acknowledge the many problems with implementation by calling for a two year moratorium on the high stakes testing consequences of the standards.   Yet, Bush is refusing even that kind of a mild delay.  State Impact quoted a Wall Street Journal piece (subscription required), saying:

“Pressing pause means stopping forward momentum,” said a letter released Monday by Mr. Bush’s nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education. “And when that happens, things can go backwards.”

The Twitter hashtag #StopJebNow was developed by the Ohio activists before their rally last week.  Given his dangerous promotion of the academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative Common Core standards, tests, and data collection system, we believe many activists across the nation will be using that as one more weapon in the war to save the hearts and minds of our precious children.

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