Conservatives are backing away from Common Core in response to angry parents who see it as a federal takeover of their local schools. Several states have dropped the Common Core assessments or the Common Core standards.

But one conservative is not backing down: Jeb Bush. He has become the flag-bearer for the Common Core. He and Arne Duncan are the most ardent proponents for the embattled national standards.

The Wall Street Journal reports that his gamble is risky in Republican primaries but would be a plus in general elections.

Critics note that the Gates Foundation, which paid to develop the standards, is one of Jeb Bush’s biggest donors, but foundation spokesmen scoff at the suggestion:

“No one doubted that Mr. Bush governed Florida from 1999 to 2007 as a conservative. He cut individual and corporate taxes, signed the “Stand Your Ground” law pushed by gun owners and ended affirmative action in university admissions and state contracting. On education, he spearheaded a law that assigned schools letter grades based on their test scores and required third-graders who couldn’t read to be held back. He also pushed for taxpayer-funded vouchers to let students in failing schools attend private schools, a program that courts struck down.

“As the GOP has shifted to the right, it is tea-party activists who are now among Mr. Bush’s most ardent opponents. In addition to unhappiness with the federal role in education, conservative activists see a corporate connection to the initiative.

“Since 2010, Mr. Bush’s foundation has received $5 million from the Gates Foundation, and it gets donations from companies in the education industry, including Pearson U.K.:Common Core. (News Corp publishes The Wall Street Journal.)

“All Common Core roads lead to K Street,” wrote commentator and activist Michelle Malkin, one of Mr. Bush’s biggest antagonists, referring to the Washington turf of many lobbyists.

“A spokeswoman for the foundation, Jaryn Emhof, rejected criticism over corporate funding. “We have a firewall,” she said. “They don’t get any say over our reform agenda.”