Bush takes on de Blasio on education

Jeb Bush is taking the fight over education reform to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump 'lynching' firestorm is sign of things to come Hillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Nielsen on leaving Trump administration: 'Saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough' MORE even as he struggles to gain traction on the issue with conservatives skeptical of his support for the Common Core standards.

In an op-ed in the New York Post on Tuesday, Bush touted himself as a “decades-long advocate for school choice,” while blasting Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioTwo members of far-right 'Proud Boys' sentenced to prison for part in New York street brawl New York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates MORE for “fighting to undercut school choice at every turn.”

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“Sadly, teachers unions and much of the education establishment in America continues to fight against parental control of education,” Bush wrote. “Mayor de Blasio, a protégé of Hillary Rodham Clinton, has taken up their cause, fighting to undercut school choice at every turn.”

“While calling New York a tale of two cities, the mayor appears to be doing everything in his power to keep it that way — depriving low-income kids of the education they need to succeed,” Bush wrote.

Bush is on the right side of the education reform issue among most Republicans in his push to expand school choice through charter schools and voucher programs. 

However, some Republicans believe that Bush’s support for Common Core could sink him in the primaries.

Common Core has become shorthand for government overreach among many on the right, and Bush is essentially alone in the field of GOP in supporting the education standards. He never implemented the standards as governor, but has promoted them through his foundation.

But Bush has been on the offensive over education reform almost since the start, touting Florida’s education achievements from his time as governor in many of his stump speeches.

Bush has argued that when he took over as governor, Florida was last in the nation in graduation rates, and that the state improved every year under his watch. 

He boasts about having raised standards across the state, that he eliminated “social promotion,” which passes kids along to the next grade even if they fail to meet certain benchmarks, and expanded school choice through digital learning, vouchers and charter schools. 

“The Clintons, who have an outsize influence in New York politics, have largely stood by as Mayor de Blasio has attempted to undermine the benefits that the Success Academies and other school-choice programs have provided to low-income children,” Bush wrote Tuesday. “Will former Secretary Clinton continue to put the interests of the entrenched education establishment above the interests of kids in America?”

“There should be no doubt about my priorities,” he continued. “As president of the United States, I will reduce the power and authority of the federal Department of Education, sending more money and flexibility back to the states so greater school-choice opportunities can be made available to parents and their children.”