Jeb Bush talked about education for 35 minutes during a summit meeting in Florida, but didn’t once utter the phrase “Common Core” while on stage.
The former Florida governor wasn’t asked about the federal education standards he and his Foundation for Excellence in Education once championed – but that have become particularly controversial among conservatives, especially after President Barack Obama’s administration embraced them.
Instead, Bush on Tuesday said simply he’s for “higher standards,” adding he also wants to limit the federal government’s role in education decisions, something he said should be left to state and local governments.
“I am for creating real restrictions on the federal government’s role in this so you can alleviate people’s fears that you’re going to have some kind of control by the federal government of content, of curriculum, or even standards,” Bush said.
“I’m against all that,” he said. “I’m against the federal government being involved in demanding that assessments are done in a certain way.”
Bush’s comments come as his Republican rivals for the 2016 presidential nomination attempt to turn Common Core – which has drawn ire in both parties – into a litmus test for conservatives.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal raised the issue on Monday during a breakfast with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. He said GOP contenders will have to address “not only on Common Core, but the role of the federal government in education.”
Jindal, who once embraced Common Core, is now one of its most vociferous opponents.
“I think we’ll have a bigger conversation first within the Republican Party, then with the American people about what’s the proper role of the federal government,” Jindal said. “I do hope that Common Core will be one more, one more reason for us to have this bigger debate, this bigger conversation about the proper role of the federal government in local education.”