Several of the contributors here had the opportunity to ask questions of Republican presidential candidates on the issues we cared about the most. For me, as a parent and educator, the biggest issue is improving education in America, and it was a question that both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz answered. Rubio’s answer was provided in the video below:
Well, as a parent of four kids that are still in school, I understand that the K-12 education system belongs primarily and almost entirely to local governments, the school board, communities and states, not to the federal government. So my priority is to get the federal government out of the business… out of the business of K-12 education. And, that includes not imposing or forcing Common Core on our districts. In fact, I don’t even think we need a federal department of education. If it has important programs like student loans and grants, we can transfer that over to treasury. But, we don’t need a federal school board. I am a strong supporter of school choice. Again, we’ve seen that grow in Florida, I hope it grows around the country. It is primarily a choice to be made by states and local communities. The one thing I do want to do at the federal level is create a corporate scholarship program where American corporations, in lieu of paying corporate taxes, can pay a portion of those taxes instead by donating them to a qualified, state-based not-for-profit scholarship organization, who in turn uses that money to give scholarships to low-income students so they can attend a school of their choice or a school of their parents’ choice.
Ted Cruz’s answer came in the form of a text response:
School choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. I am a passionate advocate of school choice. Education is too important for it to be governed by bureaucrats in Washington taking choices away from parents and kids. We should be empowering parents to choose the best education for their kids. And we need to end programs like Common Core.
Educational opportunity thrives on choice, ingenuity and diversity: The Department of Education squelches all three. I will work to eliminate the Department of Education and restore the states’ constitutional power, and liberates students and teachers from a failed top-down approach.
The question was part of a partnership between Salem Media and ChangePolitics.org to host a virtual town hall with presidential candidates. You can also see the responses to Moe Lane’s question on Supreme Court Justices here (Cruz) and here (Rubio).