Politics

Jeb Bush Emailed With Education Secretary About Rick Scott’s Common Core Concerns

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Arne Duncan to discuss Common Core, Duncan turned to an unlikely adviser: Jeb Bush.

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sought — and received — advice from Jeb Bush about how to deal with Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s concerns about Common Core, emails obtained by BuzzFeed News show.

Bush advised Duncan that Scott, “fearful of the rebellion” brewing around the program, “[w]ants to stop using the term common core but keep the standards,” but couldn’t name “specifics [sic] things that the federal government is doing or perceived to be doing” that he found objectionable.

The exchange, which took place in the morning of Sept. 23, 2013, begins with an email (“Subject: Gov Scott”) to Bush from Duncan’s private account. It reads simply: “Is calling me. Any advice?”

Just over an hour later, Bush replies from the air:

I am on a plane.

He is fearful of the rebellion. Wants to stop using the term common core but keep the standards. Wants to get out of PARCC. I asked him if he had specifics things that the federal government is doing or perceived to be doing. He didn’t have them when I spoke to him last thursday evening.

Duncan replies: “Thanks.”

The very same day, Scott issued a press release detailing his plan “[t]o protect Florida from the federal government’s overreach in education policy.”

Scott’s release included an announcement that he was withdrawing Florida from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) — a group of states building tests based on the Common Core standards — just as Bush had warned.

“Since leaving office, Gov. Bush has focused on reforming education, state by state, through the education foundation he established that is committed to improving education for every American child,” a spokesperson for Bush told BuzzFeed News. “Gov. Bush has worked with leaders in both parties to introduce state-based reforms that hold the power to transform education in America by providing more choices for parents and greater accountability for schools and teachers.”

Here’s the exchange:

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