The nation’s atwitter about a potential Republican nomination brawl between Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, as well as a posse of Tea Party candidates.
One of the wedge issues, pundits predict, will be education policy. Picture it now: Bush and Christie, both moderate Republicans, saddled up at debate podia and straddled by an assortment of more conservative cowboys like Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and maybe even Mike Huckabee. Remember what happened to Mitt Romney with his maladroit references to the “47%” and “corporations are people too?” Suddenly two more moderate Republican governors, one from purplish Florida and one from blue Jersey, may be forced to shift right by the collective heft of conservatives who demean the Common Core State Standards and standardized assessments.
Here’s another prediction: the likely airing of this Bush/Christie spaghetti western will warm up the political relationship between the 2015 New Jersey State Legislature and the N.J. Education Association. This shift will, in turn, affect debates and outcomes on unresolved education policies at the Statehouse this year, which include yet another effort to update the state’s twenty-year old charter school law, the future of PARCC standardized testing, school funding, local control in Newark, and the sun-setting of the pension/health benefits reform act on July 1.