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What the GOP Candidates Had to Say About Education

What the GOP Candidates Had to Say about Education

Common Core and federal involvement in education, as predicted, were the two big education topics in last night's first round of GOP debates. Also predictably, Jeb Bush defended his stance of favoring the Common Core against his opponents, who are for the most part vehemently opposed.

Moderator Brett Baier proposed this question specifically to Bush prompting him to explain his support for the Common Core despite its unpopularity in his party:

"Governor Bush, you are one of the few people on the stage who advocates for Common Core education standards, reading and math. A lot of people on this stage vigorously oppose federal involvement in education. They say it should all be handled locally."

Bush responded by saying he believes that Common Core and federal involvement in education are two separate arguments, because Common Core is "clearly" state-controlled.

In other words, Bush wanted to ensure that he makes it clear that his support for the Common Core does not mean he supports heavy federal involvement in education.

Instead, Bush said he supports higher standards, and supports a set of standards that raise expectation to be implemented if a state so chooses, which is how the standards currently work.

"...high standards, robust accountability, ending social promotion in third grade, real school choice across the board, challenging the teachers union and beating them is the way to go," he said.

Marco Rubio did not agree.

"Here's the problem with Common Core. The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied. They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate," he said in response.

But Bush did not back down.

"...[I] think the states ought to create these standards. And if states want to opt out of Common Core, fine. Just make sure your standards are high."

"Because today in America, a third of our kids, after we spend more per student than any country in the world other than a couple rounding errors, to be honest with you, 30 percent are college- and/or career-ready," he said.

While Bush also made brief mention of his support of and success with school voucher programs and school choice, that was the extent of education being discussed in the first round of many more debates to come.

Read The Washington Post's transcript of the debate here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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