Yesterday, the top 10 ranked candidates in the Republican field for president took to the stage to talk politics. Buried among questions on ISIS, abortion, and Obamacare were some tidbits about education.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was asked about his support for Common Core standards. He was quick to say that the federal government shouldn’t be creating standards, saying instead that states and local districts should be in charge.
“I think the states ought to create these standards,” he said. “And if the states want to opt out of Common Core, fine.”
He added, however, that if states do opt out, they’d better be sure to come up with equally high standards.
“If we’re going to compete in this world we’re in today, there is no possible way we can do it with lowering standards,” he said.
United States Senator Marco Rubio of Florida followed up on the Common Core question, saying that the federal government would eventually push to make Common Core or something like it a mandate.
“The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied,” he said.
He said the federal government would threaten to withhold federal funds in order to force states to capitulate.
He admitted that new standards were needed, but a program coming from the federal government wasn’t the answer.
“We do need curriculum reform, and it should happen at the state and local level,” he said.
Bush also said he was for school choice, saying that he created the “first, second, and third statewide voucher system in the country.”
Both Common Core and vouchers are hot topics in North Carolina. The Academic Standards Review Commission was formed to review and recommend a replacement to Common Core in the state.
And vouchers, known here as opportunity scholarships, are already in place in North Carolina, though legal challenges questioned the program’s constitutionality. A recent state Supreme Court decision answered that question when it decided that opportunity scholarships are constitutional and can move forward. Both the House and the Senate’s proposed budgets would raise funding for the program.
Here are Bush and Rubio talking about ed issues.