With Common Core fast becoming a toxic issue, candidates’ statements on Common Core are undergoing a constant metamorphosis. A reporter for Sunshine State News recently tried to pin down what the presidential hopefuls are saying on national standards, a brief summary is below:
Jeb Bush: Changing Tone, But Not Backtracking
Initially, Bush was very upfront about his support for the national education standards, even going so far as to dismiss critics of the standards, saying they offered no real solutions.
But now, as Bush creeps closer and closer to a potential face-off for president, his approach toward Common Core has changed. Although he still remains on board with the standards, Bush hasn’t directly addressed them or referred to Common Core by name in what seems like quite some time.
Ben Carson: Defer to Parents and Teachers, Not Bureaucrats
“This must stop and Common Core must be overturned,” wrote Carson on his website. “Our education system must be run by involved parents and engaged teachers and principals. Any attempt by faceless federal bureaucrats to take over our local schools must be defeated.”
Hillary Clinton: Late Endorser
Clinton hasn’t directly come out and pledged her support for the standards, but did seem to endorse them in an event held in Iowa this week. A high school teacher, asking Clinton a question in a panel, called Common Core “a wonderful step in the right direction in improving American education” and Clinton agreed.
“It was about coming up with a core of learning that we might expect students to achieve across our country, no matter what kind of school district they were in, no matter how poor their family was. That there wouldn’t be two tiers of education,” Clinton said on the standards’ creation.
Ted Cruz: Repeal “Every Word”
…“Imagine repealing every word of Common Core,” said Cruz, during his campaign announcement speech at Liberty University in April.
Carly Fiorina: It Separates Her From Jeb
…Former Hewlett-Packard CEO took aim at Jeb Bush by blasting his stance on Common Core.
“I don’t tend to agree with Common Core — you and I have had this discussion before — his answer on Common Core is that, ‘Well it’s not intended to be a heavy-handed bureaucratic program. It’s intended to be a set of nationwide standards,’” Fiorina told Laura Ingraham in April. “Bureaucracies only know one way: It’s called heavy-handed. So if you get a federal bureaucracy, or in some cases even a state bureaucracy, involved in anything, it will become heavy-handed. That’s how we’ve gotten bigger and bigger government under both Republicans and Democrats.”
Mike Huckabee: CC Waters Down Our Standards
“While I believe such standards make sense for public schools in math and English, I support parents’ freedom of choice to educate their children however they want, including homeschooling, regardless of the standards that are applied in a public school setting,” he wrote in 2013.
Fast forward to 2015 and Huckabee has made an about-face on Common Core — now he opposes the standards.
“I oppose watering down our education standards or automatically promoting every student,” he said. “We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.”
Rand Paul: It Kills Innovation, Inserts Bias
“If you have a national curriculum and rules, you’ll never get new ideas. Once education is nationalized one person can insert bias into the curriculum,” Paul said in a video on his website. “That’s why I oppose Common Core.”
Marco Rubio: Leave It To the States
“State and local levels are the best places to come up with curriculum reform, and it’s something the federal government shouldn’t be deeply involved in,” said Rubio.
Rick Santorum: Fight Top-Down Education Reforms
“What troubles me the most is how fast these standards were adopted and how little transparency there was in the process,” wrote Santorum, urging parents to assert educational control over their children. “Let’s start a broad movement to put parents back in charge of the educational system. Fighting Common Core and other top-down education reforms is a good start.”
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.