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Rubio may oppose Common Core but has supported the ideas behind it

Published Jan. 22, 2016

Marco Rubio has been attacking Chris Christie over Common Core and yesterday went after Jeb Bush, saying the former governor was "nowhere to be found" when Republicans were fighting Obama's agenda and "spent most of his time traveling the country trying to push" the education standards.

Bush's support is clear as is the damage it has done to him in the presidential race. But while Rubio never advocated for Common Core, he was a proponent of the building blocks.

Bush on Thursday noted that Rubio had supported Race to the Top, the federal program that incentivized states to adopt Common Core.

"I think that's a good idea," Rubio said in 2009. He did stress, however, that he felt "education is a state function, best regulated and governed at the state level."

That year Rubio also praised Obama's hire of Arne Duncan as education secretary, calling him an "innovator" while praising the federal government's effort "encouraging" states to adopt curriculums "that reflect the 21st Century."

Rubio's 100 Ideas book, a template for his tenure as House speaker, endorsed ideas such as more testing and a revamped curriculum. Idea No. 2 called for Florida to "systematically and sequentially replace the Sunshine State Standards with a new, world-class curriculum comparable to those found in the leading education systems in the world."

As Gary Fineout of The Associated Press pointed out Thursday, Rubio never asked state officials or Gov. Scott to stop Common Core from being adopted in Florida. (Amid the backlash, the state has simply whitewashed the words Common Core from official policy.)

Rubio officially came out against Common Core in July 2013.

"Common Core started out as a well-intentioned effort to develop more rigorous curriculum standards," he said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. "However, it is increasingly being used by the Obama Administration to turn the Department of Education into what is effectively a national school board. This effort to coerce states into adhering to national curriculum standards is not the best way to help our children attain the best education. Empowering parents, local communities and the individual states is the best approach."

On the presidential campaign trail, Rubio has called for abolishing the federal Department of Education.

"I do support curriculum reform," he said in Nevada in September. But he added that is should be done at the state and local level.


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