Radio ads supporting Common Core draw static for Jebby John Kennedy | October 3rd, 2013
With the Florida Department of Education scheduling three public hearings this month on the new Common Core Standards and test that accompanies it, former Gov. Jeb Bush is stepping up his defense of a system caught in a crossfire between the political left and right.
Radio spots have begun airing this week on Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh programs across Florida supporting Common Core. The ads are sponsored by a group called Conservatives for Higher Standards.
The organization was founded by Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, both of which have received millions of dollars in financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also big supporters of Common Core.
The radio spots mention Bush, former U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett and tea party hero Mike Huckabee as among the backers of Common Core. And, the ads seek to deflect lingering criticism from conservatives by emphasizing that “there is no Washington, D.C., curriculum. That’s done on the local level.”
But Laura Zorc, a leader of Florida Parents Against Common Core, said Thursday that the radio spots are backfiring on Bush. Conservatives tuning into Glenn Beck, who has ridiculed Common Core, don’t want to hear ads supporting the system, she said.
Zorc also pointed out that many Republican Party county committees have endorsed resolutions opposing the standards.
“He is going against his own party,” Zorc said of Bush. “He is disrespecting the party by pushing his personal agenda.”
Public hearings are slated for Oct. 15 in Tampa, Oct. 16 in Davie and Oct. 17 in Tallahassee on the new standards, scheduled to be fully in place in Florida by next school year.
Gov. Rick Scott last week sought to straddle the political divide by telling federal officials that the state is withdrawing from the national testing system that was to assess how students are meeting the Common Core standards. But while looking to develop a new Florida test, Scott said the state was sticking by Common Core.