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Jeb Bush: Willing to Emotionally Damage Your Child for a Higher Test Score

March 22, 2014

Former Florida Governor (and likely 2016 presidential hopeful) Jeb Bush made the following comment, recorded in The Miami Herald, on March 21, 2014. It’s Bush’s undeniably callous perspective on attempting to force American public education to fit a mold that benefits American education corporations such as Pearson (and here, and here):

Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem. They care about math, whether they can read – in English – whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful,” Bush said.

You tell me which society is going to be the winner in this 21st Century: The one that worries about how they feel, or the one that worries about making sure the next generation has the capacity to eat everybody’s lunch? [Emphasis added.]

Think about this, folks: Do we really want this guy in the White House? Do we want him (and the corporations that have him in their pockets) pushing his damaging, perpetually failing education reforms from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Ahh, but Bush is in good company. Call it Common Core Callousness. Bush’s statement reeks of David Coleman’s sentiment regarding his vision of “Bringing the Common Core to Life.” From blogger Christel Swasey (Swasey’s entire article is worth a read):

The absolutely least lovely comment I’ve ever heard from any educator, ever, came from David Coleman:

As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, “Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.”

There you have it, in case there was any doubt:

The Common Core Brought to Life.

Jeb Bush and David Coleman offer the same sociopathio-pedagogical vision for American education: Death to emotional health, joy of learning, empathy, and good will to man.

The country able to step on the faces of other countries via the highest test scores “wins.”

You can hear Coleman for yourself in this brief video clip (my thanks to Tim Furman). Keep in mind that Coleman believes he is selling the Common Core to his listeners:

Coleman and Bush: Serrated Education Partners.

Back to Bush’s assertion that Asia does not care for the well being of its students. Bush is wrong:

Chinese educational experts are taking a more somber view in the face of the stellar achievements by their students, saying the results are at most partial and covering up shortcomings in creating well-rounded, critical thinking individuals.

“This should not be considered a pride for us, because overall it still measures one’s test-taking ability. You can have the best answer for a theoretical model, but can you build a factory on a test paper?” asked Xiong Bingqi, a Shanghai-based scholar on education.

“The biggest criticism is that China’s education has sacrificed everything else for test scores, such as life skills, character building, mental health, and physical health,” Xiong said.

Even the party-run People’s Daily noted the burden on Shanghai students. “While many countries have been urged to increase more study time and more homework for their students, Shanghai clearly needs some alleviation,” the editorial reads.

Japan’s education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, pointed to the test results as evidence of success in reforms aimed at reducing class sizes — despite continued criticism of the pressure-filled university entrance examination system. Many Japanese students also attend cram schools to get an extra edge.

“Asian countries do better than European and American schools because we are ‘examination hell’ countries,” said Koji Kato, a professor emeritus of education at Tokyo’s Sophia University. “There is more pressure to teach to the test. In my experience in working with teachers the situation is becoming worse and worse.” [Emphasis added.]

In his January 2014 address to a parents congress, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan lauded South Korean test scores.

Duncan failed to mention South Korea’s high unemployment for those with college degrees (in 2011, 40 percent of college grads were unemployed four months following graduation)– and the associated designation of South Korea as “the most suicidal society” despite a drop in South Korean suicides in 2013.

In order to curb the suicide rate, the government banned pesticides– a cheap and easily accessible means of suicide.

One Korean’s response to the pesticide ban:

But we still have bridges and charcoal briquettes.

What is driving South Koreans to kill themselves in unprecedented numbers?

They want their government to care about them:

Jang Chong-yoon, who almost committed suicide 12 years ago, agrees with the pesticide ban, but thinks more could be done to address the mental well-being of South Koreans:

“Old and young people have their own pain from either quick economic development or unemployment,” he said, adding: “I hope the government will care more about people’s health.” [Emphasis added.]

What a sobering realization to think that Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush has no qualms about pushing America down this despairing path.

Common Core and all of its reform tentacles need to die.

Let’s show Jeb and David that we indeed to “give a s**t.”

  1. permalink

    And money in his bank account.

  2. Great, great writing. Thanks!

  3. sallyo57 permalink

    I have a question about Coleman’s quote – that the most common type of writing in high schools is “personal writing” (in which he lumps together persuasive writing with personal narrative but that’s another issue). Where is the evidence for this? Does anyone know if it is even true? Or is this one of those “facts” that has been repeated often enough that it seems it must be true?

    • Like many corporate reformers, Coleman “declares” facts.

      And he “declares” what “should be.”

      High school students are adolescents. For them to be often writing about themselves is developmentally appropriate.

      • Rosemarie Jensen permalink

        As a parent to a current public high school junior taking AP Lang, I can assure you she is not writing personal narratives. In fact, third quarter she wrote approximately 25 papers based on documents, essays, speeches, op eds, documentaries, etc. David Coleman is not an educator nor a parent so I don’t give a sh$& what he thinks and the same is true for Jeb. The Bushes don’t strike me as very loving people so his lack of compassion is not surprising, but please keep this blowhard away from children and education policy.

      • Lark permalink

        Many parents object not only to the odious CCSS low quality and methods but also object to the personal intrusions of SEL and lifeskills. These are often age inappropriate taught by unqualified educators for data collection and based on developmental psychology THEORIES.
        With examples ranging from making an entire class of first graders cry to telling 11 year olds that they have a ” right to a private life”…. These are essentially strangers prying into our children’s delicate psyche somehow cloaked in academics wasting real scholarship time for uninvited group therapy or psychoanalysis.
        So the question is, what is the meaning here for the Jeb bashing ( justified) and the Asian comparisons putting lifeskills, etc as the winner on top here? Because they are a huge part of deep learning, guided reading and group learning of CCSS as well as the guidance and line crossing personal interrogations of all of these programs and methods and data collection. I know first hand from my three children and long chats with their teachers and administration and would really like to know how you can divorce one from the other. They both stray far into bad territory which enflames parents and infringes on their rights.

        Thanks for your work here!

  4. Coleman, right. I keep confusing him with Cameron…Thanks

  5. Another great piece, Mercedes.

    When reading Jeb Bush’s remarks about Asian education, I remembered Dewey’s point that you need to meet students where they are. So you just don’t demand that they start at the finish line. This mistake is rampant among CC promoters who have no scholarly or practitioner knowledge of how kids learn.

    • Thanks, Nicholas. I always appreciate your encouragement.

      Dewey’s advice is how I teach: Meet the students where they are and move them forward.

  6. Not Chris Christie, Jeb Bush or Rick Perry….are there any interested potential candidates for President who truly care about our country’s children and their education? I don’t care what party they claim.

    • Jennifer Zapata permalink

      A leader who cares about children will leave them to their parents and community to decide how to educate them. I don’t want the president or congress involved.

  7. Ted permalink

    Just like God could reply, “Nietzsche is dead”, we can all say, “who gives a sh#@ what Coleman thinks.”

  8. Angela permalink

    I teach jr. high. The majority of our writing is argumentative in which the students must cite textual evidence, refer to at least two nonfiction articles, and relate the information to real life situations.

  9. Dr. Rich Swier permalink

    Great. Posted:


  10. The deformers’ attitude toward children seems to be that they need to be toughened up, as if they’re mini Marines. The same pathological attitude of machismo that got us involved in horrific wars for deceptive purposes seems to me to be operating here. Completely lacking in empathy, nevermind a total ignorance of child development. The proponents of the CC$$ and incessant “testing” see no value in anything other than what will make the corporate economy sizzle. I think they think that veteran teachers (mostly women) have too much heart and aren’t ensuring “grit” in their charges. How did such a pathological view of childhood and nurturing the next generation become ubiquitous?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 'Architect' of Common Core: 'People Don't Really Give A Sh*t About What You Feel or What You Think'
  2. What Common Core Looks Like In Desperation | Dr. Rich Swier
  3. Jeb “Common Core” Bush is unloading new data – about himself. | Reclaim Reform

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