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Focus Group Responds to Question About Jeb Bush: ‘Common Core, What Is That?’

By Andrew Ujifusa — May 21, 2015 1 min read
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Former Florida governor and prospective presidential candidate Jeb Bush is getting a huge amount of scrutiny from the media—but when it comes to perhaps his most high-profile K-12 policy position, some members of the public seem to be drawing a big blank.

Bloomberg and Purple Strategies, a consulting firm, interviewed a focus group consisting of 10 Iowa Republicans about Bush, an early and vigorous supporter of the Common Core State Standards even as many Republicans, including some GOP hopefuls for the White House in 2016, have come out against the standards. The focus group was asked if they thought the common core was important, and if they were bothered by Bush’s position regarding the standards.

Watch the focus group’s response (or lack thereof) below, beginning at the 44-second mark:

In case the video doesn’t work for you, after the two-part question, there’s a notable silence, after which a man finally speaks up and asks what the common core is. Nobody offers any opinion one way or the other, at least in the video posted on the Real Clear Politics website. The focus group goes on to discuss his family connections and the prospect of a presidential race pitting Bush (who hasn’t officially declared himself to be running) against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

It’s important to point out that polling doesn’t necessarily jive with the impression this particular focus group leaves you with. Earlier this year, for example, an NBC News/Marist College poll of the three states with the earliest presidential nominating contests found that in Iowa, a majority (57 percent) of Republicans surveyed said they’d find a GOP candidate’s support for the common core acceptable, compared to the 37 percent who said they’d find it unacceptable.

Will common core come up in any of the big GOP candidates’ debates? Or will moderators also say to themselves, “Common core, what is that?” and leave the issue untouched? The first Republican debate is slated for Aug. 6, so stay tuned.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.