Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush defended the Common Core test to a group of lawmakers and business people on Wednesday at the Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville.
The focus of the event was to bolster Gov. Bill Haslam’s push for Tennessee to adopt the new standardized math and reading tests.
As Haslam moderated the talk between Sen. Lamar Alexander and Bush, one point was emphasized: Common Core should not be seen as federal overreach.
“I think, unfortunately, people get too confused about the federal role and the national priority and then it gets stuck And we just kind of get back to the local control mantra without advocacy of better results,” Bush said.
Bush, who praised the work of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, said despite spending a lot of money, the education results in Tennessee and around the country are disappointing.
After the talk, Bush batted away a question about his presidential ambitions, saying it was off topic.
Throughout, Bush underscored what he sees as the as the best way to ensure school accountability: standardized tests.
“Common Core state standards are effectively higher standards. There are fewer of them. They require critical thinking skills. It’s hard to argue against that.”
Haslam said universities and businesses are continually frustrated that high school graduates are not as prepared as they should be.