Buzzfeed last week reported on an email exchange between U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush right before Florida Governor Rick Scott issued his executive order that pulled Florida out of PARCC and set-up a review of the Common Core State Standards.
Duncan reached out to Bush for advice as Scott was going to call him. Bush replied:
I am on a plane.
He is fearful of the rebellion. Wants to stop using the term common core but keep the standards. Wants to get out of PARCC. I asked him if he had specifics things that the federal government is doing or perceived to be doing. He didn’t have them when I spoke to him last thursday evening.
You can see the exchange below:
I have four observations about this exchange.
- If Common Core was truly state-led then Governor Scott wouldn’t feel the need to consult with Duncan. But concerns about Race to the Top and NCLB waiver probably prompted the call.
- This demonstrates that Rick Scott had no intention of dumping Common Core and the only changes the state of Florida made were changes they were already allowed to make under the copyright agreement. They added about 15% to the standards.
- Bush is so tied in with the Common Core that Secretary Duncan emails him for advice.
- Common Core opposition was extremely fierce in Florida at the time, so much so that the sitting Governor “fears the rebellion.” Hopefully that continues, but unfortunately some were probably placated by the executive order. At the time it did seem like a positive step, but with hindsight we can see it was much to do about nothing.