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Common Core trouble may be deepening; Bush allies seek help from media

by John Kennedy | September 17th, 2013

In a move that may hint at the depth of the trouble in Florida over new nationwide education standards, former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future is seeking help from the state’s media to quell what supporters call “misinformation” about Common Core.

Patricia Levesque, executive director of the foundation, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that Common Core is the next step in Florida’s education evolution, which began with the changes enacted under Bush in 1999.

Graduation rates have increased, reading and math gains have been met, and the new standards simply will build on those successes, Levesque said.

“We’re not number 1 in the country yet, but we want to be,” Levesque said of education in Florida.

Common Core is set to to take full effect in Florida in 2014-15. But opponents from the political right and left are calling for the state to withdraw, blistering Common Core either as government overreach or another step toward “teaching to the test” in schools.

Gov. Rick Scott earlier supported Common Core, but hasn’t said much lately as criticism rises — especially from the tea party wing of the Republican Party that was so key to his 2010 election.

Bush and his allies see Common Core as part of his legacy in Florida, maybe even part of a springboard heading toward the 2016 presidential race. With his own re-election campaign looming, Scott also isn’t looking to pick a fight with that side of the GOP and is being heavily lobbied to keep the new standards on track.

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