Republican Presidential Education Voter Guide

INTRODUCTION: This voter's guide includes the American Principles in Action (APIA) Common Core Report Card on the Republican presidential candidates. There is additional insight from the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition on the report card HERE. This FSCCC report includes the candidates' stands on the federal role in education and some events that have occurred since the publishing of the APIA report. A downlloadable PDFversion of this voter guide is available HERE.
 











Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) APIA Report Card Grade A-    
PROS
  • Understood and explained the damaging effects and lack of constitutionality of Common Core back in 2011 while running for US Senate
  • Strongly supports home schooling
  • Signed Senator Grassley's letter and supported the Iowa Senator's efforts in 2013 and 2014 to end federal funding for Common Core
  • Multiple speeches and debates have discussed plan to "repeal" Common Core by "direct[ing] the Secretary of Education to immediately end the federal government's mandates that seek to force states to adopt this failed attempt at a universal curriculum"
  • Only candidate to explicitly say on his campaign website that he will abolish the US Department of Education and lays out a plan for transferring remaining federal programs to other departments
  • Voted against the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA - Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind) in July of 2015
  • Offered amendment 2180 in ECAA to end the federal testing mandate that received 40 votes.
  • Supported Senator Mike Lee's amendment 2162 in ECAA to allow parental opt out of testing that would not count against the 95% mandate of the US Department of Education.
  • Correctly voted against cloture (cutting off debate) on the final version of ECAA called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • Voted against $1.1 trillion omnibus funding bill that increases federal control of education
  • Was the first presidential candidate to sign Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly's anti-Common Core pledge
CONS
  • Did not attend the final vote on ESSA, already a forgone conclusion, due to campaign commitments
  • While supporting school choice as does every other presidential candidate, Senator Cruz co-sponsored a bill by Senator Mike Lee (S 306) and pushed by the Heritage Foundation that was unlikely to pass or be included in ESSA to allow federal Title I funds to follow poor children to private schools (portability). This is potentially dangerous to private school autonomy because the Common Core tests would likely be required for "accountability" purposes. More discussions need to occur with Senator Cruz about this issue. 
  • Criticized by some in homeschooling community for another provision in S 306 that expands tax credits via Coverdell savings accounts that some see as dangerous to home school autonomy.  ¬∑This issue has been controversial within the homeschooling community well before this election. The Home School Legal Defense Association, that has supported and protected home school rights for decades, supported the provision (HERE and HERE). Some home school parents, who are understandably concerned about creeping federal overreach, oppose it. The difference of opinion over this provision in S.306 should be worked out in the homeschooling community before blaming one candidate with bad intent as some have done.
 
Businessman Donald Trump APIA Report Card Grade B-    
PRO
  • Speaks about Common Core at almost every event calling Common Core "a disaster"
  • Also frequently speaks about closing the US Department of Education, stating that "we are going to make education local"
 
CONS
  • Has no public record on education
  • Frequently changes positions, sometimes daily, on a whole host of topics, so it is very difficult to know if he will maintain his verbal opposition to Common Core
  • Funded the politicians who voted for funding Race to the Top, the federal grant program that bribed/blackmailed states into adopting Common Core - including Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, who also voted for No Child Left Behind 
  • Website contains no information or policy plans on education, so there are no details other than the statements mentioned above
 
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) APIA Report Card Grade C      
PROS
  • Has repeatedly attacked Common Core on the campaign trail and in debates
  • States on his website that he has been fighting Common Core since 2011
  • Voted against the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA - Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind) in July of 2015
  • Supported Senator Cruz's amendment 2180 in ECAA to end the federal testing mandate that received 40 votes.
  • States on his website that he co-sponsored legislation against federal mandates without specifying any bill numbers
  • States on his website that if elected, he will issue an executive order on the first day in office "directing federal agencies to stop all activity related to implementing or enforcing Common Core."
  • Supports home schooling and other learning options
 
CONS
  • Spoke favorably of Race to the Top and the nomination of Arne Duncan
  • Funded by pro-Common Core billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Singer
  • Sponsored invasive "Know Before you Go Act" that seeks to have the federal government collect data on students throughout their lives just to be able to provide information to others about which colleges and majors provide the best jobs and which has privacy experts extremely concerned
  • Also supports portability of federal funding for low income children which can lead to loss of autonomy for private schools by accountability requirements of public school (Common Core) tests
  • Says nothing on his website about actually abolishing the US Department of Education
  • Did not attend the cloture or final votes on ESSA or the omnibus budget bill that increases federal control over education due to campaign commitments
 
Governor John Kasich (R-OH) - APIA Report Card Grade F    
PROS
  • Says he supports local control: "And, frankly, look, if I were president, I'd take 104 federal programs, bundle them into four buckets, and send it to the states, because fixing schools rests at the state and the local level, and particularly at the school board level."
  • States on his website that he would "call on states to develop, adopt and maintain their own rigorous standards, not impose federally mandated learning standards on local schools."
 
CONS
  • The only governor and presidential candidate left in the race that has long been a vocal cheerleader for Common Core
  • Falsely portrays Common Core as developed by governors and implemented with curriculum by local school boardsOpenly mocked and belittled parent and teacher opponents of Common Core as "hysterical"
  • Supported an education program to expand innovation that required 350 school districts to submit numerous pieces of personally identifiable student information while ¬∑ while saying on his website that Ohio has protected student data and that he would as president

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