On Saturday night, after Jeb Bush suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination following a dismal performance in the South Carolina primary, critics of Common Core were quick to take credit — and gloat massively.
“From the very beginning, Governor Bush’s stubborn support for the low-quality Common Core standards permanently damaged his credibility with voters — and not just with conservatives but with voters across the political spectrum,” Emmett McGroarty, an executive at the American Principles Project, said in a statement sent to The Daily Caller.
Bush, through his leadership of the non-profit Foundation for Excellence in Education, played a notable role in the creation and promotion of the national education standards and he has stood by them ever since. During Bush’s tenure as the governor of Florida, test scores rose significantly, and he has long been among the country’s most aggressive supporters of tougher school standards.
McGroarty’s American Principles Project strongly opposes the Common Core standards primarily because, the group says, the standards hinder local, democratic control over education.
“Let Governor Bush’s fate be a lesson for all politicians. Voters want to see politicians not only oppose Common Core but actively work to eliminate it and return control of education to local and state government,” McGroarty declared on Saturday night.
“Politicians — and it doesn’t matter which party — who fail to fight Common Core will be severely handicapping themselves on Election Day,” he warned.
In Bush’s post-primary speech in Columbia, S.C., the former governor thanked his family and his supporters.
“I’m proud of the campaign that we have run to unify our country,” Bush said. “And to advocate conservative solutions that would give more Americans the opportunity to rise up and reach their God-given potential.”
“I have stood my ground, refusing to bend to the political winds,” he said.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an attempt to standardize various K-12 curricula around the country. After 45 states and the District of Columbia excitedly implemented Common Core earlier this decade, the standards faced bracing opposition from labor unions and grassroots conservative groups. (RELATED: Common Core Teaches Kids New Way To Add 9 + 6 That Takes 54 Seconds)
In December, Congress easily passed — and President Barack Obama signed — the Every Student Succeeds Act, a law that dramatically overhauls how the federal government approaches K-12 education. (RELATED: This Boring But Important Education Law Is Huge)
The new law is primarily the work of two Republicans, [crscore]Lamar Alexander[/crscore] in the Senate and [crscore]John Kline[/crscore] in the House. The law shifts education policy noticeably to the right and reduces the power of the federal government. Obama’s willingness to sign the bill reflects the general, bipartisan dissatisfaction with No Child Left Behind, which the new law replaces.
Notably, the new law prohibits any actions by the federal government to require or incentivize states to adopt Common Core or other school standards. The Obama administration had used such incentives in recent years to encourage states to use Common Core. (RELATED: Arne Duncan Blames ‘White Suburban Moms’ For Common Core Pushback)
New York and Louisiana, two otherwise largely disparate states, have been epicenters of the battle against Common Core.
Last spring, 20 percent of New York’s students boycotted Common Core-aligned standardized tests, egged on by teachers who were angry about plans to use the tests in teacher evaluations. (RELATED: Mandatory Common Core Tests In New York Just Happen To Be Full Of Corporate Brand Names)
In Louisiana, the intense battle over Common Core has included a federal lawsuit against the use of the standards by former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.
Three states — Iowa, Arizona and Florida have craftily re-branded their Common Core standards by calling them something else but otherwise making virtually no substantive curriculum changes. (Common Core Proponents Try To Save Flailing Standards Using This One Weird Trick)
Several other states, such as New Jersey, have assigned committees to overhaul Common Core standards but those committees have recommended relatively moderate alterations. In North Carolina, an effort to overhaul Common Core stumbled when a committee failed to recommend any specific changes. In other states like South Carolina and Indiana, anti-Common Core activists were disappointed by “replacement” standards they say sported mere cosmetic changes.