A former White House official, Dan Pfeiffer, tweeted last week during the Fox News GOP debate:
When I worked in the White House, we were always grateful to @JebBush for his efforts to help us urge states to adopt Common Core
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) August 7, 2015
I’m sure that is a tweet former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would love to scrub that tweet from the internet. Pfeiffer, currently a CNN contributor, was a senior advisor to President Barack Obama for strategy and communications.
Bush has been trying to back away from previous statements about Common Core. Valarie Strauss at The Washington Post summarized the progression:
A few years ago Bush had no problem speaking harshly about Common Core critics. For example, in October 2013, he told an audience at his Foundation for Excellence in Education’s annual conference:
“What I want to hear from them is more than just opposition. I want to hear their solutions for the hodgepodge of dumbed-down state standards that have created group mediocrity in our schools…. Criticisms and conspiracy theories are easy attention grabbers. Solutions are hard work.”
After he became a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, he began to offer far more nuanced support for the Core and was much kinder to its critics. In May 2015, he told Fox News host Megyn Kelly:
“Common Core means a lot of things to different people, so they could be right based on what’s in front of them. I respect people having a view, but the simple fact is we need higher standards. They need to be state driven. The federal government should play no role in this, either in the creation of standards, content or curriculum. That’s what I believe. And if we don’t have high standards and assess to them faithfully, we get what we have today which is about a third of our kids being college and/or career ready. And by the way, we spend more per student than any other country in the world other than two or three countries.”
During the Aug. 6 debate, Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked Bush to defend his support of the Common Core State Standards. Some in the audience at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland booed when he said “Common Core,” and Bush gave a careful answer:
“I’m for higher standards measured in an intellectually honest way, with abundant school choice, ending social promotion. And I know how to do this because as governor of the state of Florida I created the first statewide voucher program in the country, the second statewide voucher program in the country and the third statewide voucher program in the country.”
I’ve already addressed Bush’s current rhetoric. If you’d like to see an analysis of that you can go here.