It began in 1988 when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, declared that he wanted to be “the education president.” After his election, Bush summoned the 50 state governors to attend a two-day education summit in Charlottesville, Virginia. This 1989 summit launched the basic idea that later became Common Core: national standards for what is taught, enforced by measures of “accountability” to ensure that all schools toe the official line.
That summit made Arkansas governor Bill Clinton into a national figure, and when Clinton followed Bush 41 into the White House, he pursued the same education policies he helped develop at the Charlottesville summit. Clinton rebranded Bush’s America 2000 as Goals 2000. Then George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law picked up where his father and Bill Clinton left off, with the same standards-and-assessment model of federal control. When the failure of No Child Left Behind became too obvious to ignore, the National Governors Association repackaged the same failed ideas under the label Common Core. Common Core was quickly adopted by 46 states, and the publishing industry rolled out new textbooks supposedly “aligned” to the Common Core. Jeb Bush has been a tireless advocate for Common Core, but as it became toxic, Jeb made a too-little, too-late attempt to rebrand the same ideas under another new name. We hope that the Republican party will return to its pre-Bush position against any federal role in public or private education.
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