Jeb Bush says plunging US math, reading scores should be ‘call to arms’


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sounded the alarm on U.S. math and reading scores plummeting in the aftermath of COVID-19 school lockdowns.

Math scores saw their largest decreases ever, while reading scores dropped to levels not seen since 1992 for fourth and eighth graders across the country, according to the Nation’s Report Card. 

“It’s a disaster,” Bush told “America’s Newsroom” Monday. “I guess it should be expected that if you spend two years out of the classroom — in many cases, we had a problem before, and it’s gotten a lot worse. So this should be a call to arms.”

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Bush went on to say, “We should put aside the hyper-partisanship that dominates life in Washington and realize that this really is important, that kids learn how to read and learn how to calculate math in a way that allows them to live a life of purpose and meaning. And right now, that is at risk. I notice lots of things that could be done.”

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The average mathematics score for fourth-grade students fell five points from 2019 to 2022. The score for eight-graders dropped eight points. Reading for both grades fell three points since 2019.

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Earlier on “Fox & Friends First,” a Michigan mother who pulled two of her children out of public school during the coronavirus pandemic said that the report card does not surprise her.

Stephanie Butler argued that the difference between their former public school education and their current private school is “staggering.”

“My second-grade son is now learning cursive. These kids are coding in school. I just it’s staggering. They’re getting a good education every day… I’d rather go out and break my back and give them a good education than what I saw with them happen in a public school,” Butler said.

“I definitely would like to point my finger at this administration and especially the teachers union. The teachers’ unions have way too much power nowadays. They do not have our children’s best interests at heart. They’re bringing in all sorts of money. I saw a staggering number, I think in 2019. It went from 4 million to 2020 being $32 million that they’ve received and donations.”

Bush encouraged voters to support candidates who are passionate about reforming the U.S. education system.

“This country really has to reform how we educate our children,” he said. “Our country deserves far better.”

Fox News’ Stephanie Sorace contributed to this report. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a mother of two who pulled her children out of public school react to the test score report following the coronavirus pandemic.

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