Jeb Bush's keynote address at an education conference this week could ramp up the debate over Common Core standards that he supports – and test his political skills with conservative opponents as he weighs a White House run.
The Wall Street Journal
notes that the Thursday speech by Bush, former governor of Florida, will be his first big public appearance since the midterm elections.
He's not expected to talk presidential politics, The Journal reports, but if he chooses to run for president, he'd run up against near-certain opposition from grassroots conservatives over his support for the national education standards, The Journal reports.
According to the Education Commission of the States, two Republican-led states have passed laws to abandon the standards and four others are considering repeal, The Journal reports.
"It is likely the Stop Common Core crowd will only get stronger as parents, teachers, and taxpayers continue to join forces across party lines to repeal one more federal program being forced upon their families," Tamara Scott, a Republican national committeewoman from Iowa, which holds the first presidential nominating contest, told The Journal.
In a recent interview with Education Next, a nonpartisan education policy journal, Bush reiterated his support, The Journal reports, saying: "To be clear, higher academic standards are necessary, and the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms."
His stance puts him at direct odds with
other potential GOP presidential candidates, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
"Everyone is super-focused on what he is going to do, and every time he says anything, people read a million and one variations into it," Bobbie Kilberg, president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and a Republican fundraiser who worked in the White House under Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, told The Journal.
"I've learned a long time ago, you don't try to read the tea leaves with the Bushes. When they are ready to tell you something, they will," Kilberg said.
Unlike nearly all of the other Republicans considering 2016 bids, Bush hasn't yet set foot in Iowa or New Hampshire.
"Jeb is more calm and less reactive," John Rood, a GOP fundraiser in Florida, told The Journal. "He figures he doesn't need to do all those things until he makes a decision."
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