January 20, 2015

Two Bush Brothers With Two Takes On School Accountability

By Bellwether

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Not surprisingly a lot of stories looking at how President George W. Bush is similar or different than his brother Jeb, the former Florida governor and current presidential candidate. The Times is here. The New Yorker take focusing on education here.

Here’s one way they differ on policy that hasn’t received a lot of attention. In the NY’er story Sandy Kress alludes to some friction between Florida officials and WH officials during the NCLB-era. That’s because Jeb Bush isn’t a fan of race-based school accountability rules while his brother helped strengthen race-focused accountability rules in federal education policy.

Here is Jeb Bush in 2012 putting some distance between his policies and his brother’s:

I don’t think there needs to be a [school accountability] requirement based on race. If you’re going to pick anything, pick poverty. [Florida’s] system is better in that it has an extra focus on the lowest [performing] 25 percent.

I get tired of hearing people, well-meaning people, talking about African-American kids or Hispanic kids as if they’re all the same. Which isn’t true. There is a very diverse group of people in both groups in terms of income, objectives in life, aspirations, cultural wants, habits, all the things that make us unique Americans. This identity politics is unhealthy in education policy. It started under our previous president.

That’s a difference with some salience in the current debate over federal education policy as well as broader questions about how best to design social policy.

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