The latest example of conservative disdain for Common Core comes from the managing editor of the Federalist. Joy Pullman, an education research fellow at the Heartland Institute, names….names of ten who are cashing in. Her conclusion of what’s becoming a virtual syndicate is stunning:
First, we have an obvious conflict of interest problem here. People deserve to know when a prominent official or self-proclaimed “expert” who is testifying before state legislatures or writing op-eds is making money from their persuasive efforts. It means their judgment is not entirely independent, even if they feel it so. Basic ethics requires someone with a financial or personal stake in the outcome of a public decision to recuse himself from participating in that decision. That has not been happening.
Second, it indicates rampant cronyism, which is a form of political and social corruption. We see that Common Core is infested with essentially the same set of people rewarding each other with taxpayer dollars and huge private grants, decades before there can be any proof that all this money laundering produced a genuine public good. Common Core is a giant experiment, remember. Bill Gates says he won’t know if his “education stuff” worked for “probably a decade.” Former public officials (or semi-public officials, which is what I label the Common Core coauthors, because while we did not elect them we all must live with their decisions) are amply rewarded for doing what the rich and powerful wanted with sweet compensation packages following their “public service.”
Pullman never mentions former governor Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education but she easily could have two have close ties to his financing. Another is one of his foundations anointed state Chiefs for Change. Joel Klein’s News Corp and Aspire ($1.5 million) and David Coleman’s College Board/SAT ($25,000) along with former Idaho state education boss Tom Luna have the most direct ties.
There are less direct ties. Luna, along with former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett are on the payroll of Project Lead the Way which is financed by a handful of the same entities which finance Bush. Pullman describes Arne Duncan’s former chief or staff, Joanne Weiss, as “one of those ubiquitous DC consultants” with “deep-pocketed clients.” These clients also fund Bush.
What have they gotten for their money? Most recently, his foundation ran a two-month multi-media campaign to support Common Core called Learn More, Go Further. It abruptly ended mysteriously after two months. Scathing Purple Musings wrote at the time:
So why did they pull the plug?
There are two possible reasons. Neither of them good for Bush or Common Core, the latter of which is being sounded defeated at every juncture. Bush has few political allies on Common Core left and its main private sector supporter, the Chamber of Commerce, has slowly been losing the benevolent status they once enjoyed from traditional conservative voters for its advocacy on Common Core and immigration reform.
Respected conservative columnist George Will said earlier this year on FOX News that a supporter of Common Core couldn’t win the republican nomination. This is even more true now. Make no mistake. Jeb Bush wants to be president. The recent two months of inactivity from his website may be a signal he’s thrown Common Core under the bus for political expediency.
Just a bit over four months after pulling the plug on Learn More Go Further, Bush announced the formation of a PAC to explore a presidential run. And less that two months after that announcement, Bush wouldn’t even utter the words, Common Core, at his annual education summit.