Bush’s overall record on education during his tenure as governor is well-admired on the right. His “A+ plan” placed a greater emphasis on standardized testing in Florida, and he instituted broad school choice featuring vouchers and charter schools. However, Bush also took an active role in implementing the Common Core standards and continues to be perhaps their staunchest defender on the right.

“He’s the poster-child for Common Core,” Deace said.

The Common Core standards were developed by a group appointed by the National Governors Association, the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. The standards were adopted in mid-2009, intending to foster greater academic achievement and allow for comparable standards across states. One of its goals, as stated by the NGA , was to return power back to states after President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law let the federal government play a major role in state education standards.

Conservatives began souring on the Common Core law after the Obama administration tied certain grants to states’ adoption of the standards. But as the right’s opposition has grown, Bush and the group he co-founded, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, have dug in with their support. Bush has even suggested opponents of Common Core are dabbling in conspiracy theories.