Former Florida governor Jeb Bush gave his first speech as a 2016 presidential hopeful in the state today, at an event called “Keeping the Promise” hosted by the educational policy group Foundation for Florida’s Future. Many conservatives are wary of Bush’s enthusiastic support for Common Core State Standards, and reporters noted that Bush made it through his address without mentioning Common Core.

According to Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa, Bush did defend his policy of holding back illiterate third graders:

He staunchly defended a policy that he and his education foundations have strongly lobbied for in Florida and elsewhere: holding back 3rd graders who can’t demonstrate literacy. Sarcastically dismissing those who say that such students may struggle emotionally to deal with being held back, Bush told his Tallahassee audience, “God forbid if little Johnny is stressed out. How horrible it is for their self esteem if they’re held back.”

Bush did mention assessments but warned that some school districts “just go nuts” with too many tests.