GOP Presidential Candidates on Common Core


Compiled by Lia Annunziata

Some of the concerns with Common Core include the questionable academic quality, non-transparent creation and quick adoption, federal involvement, expansion of student data-mining and the further erosion of state and local control.

As they have learned how Common Core will affect curricula, teaching, and testing, state lawmakers and citizens have strongly objected, causing more than a dozen states to consider withdrawing and others to drop their involvement with federally funded tests.

Here’s what the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates say about Common Core.

Common Core
Where the Republican Candidates Stand

  • Jeb Bush (Aug. 6, 2015)

“I don’t believe the federal government should be involved in the creation of standards directly or indirectly; the creation of curriculum or content. That is clearly a state responsibility. I’m for higher standards, measured in an intellectually honest way with abundant school choice and ending social promotion…if states want to opt out of common core, fine. Just make sure your standards are high.”[1]

  • Ben Carson (Oct. 8, 2015)

“In recent years, there has been a troubling trend of the U.S. Department of Education increasingly trying to dictate how children are educated in our primary and secondary schools. This must stop and Common Core must be overturned.”[2]

  • Chris Christie

“I’m changing because I gave it four years to work…”
“…the fact is that I thought this was worth giving it a try. And we tried it. And it didn’t work.”[3]

  • Ted Cruz (Sept. 29, 2015)

“I am passionately opposed to Common Core. We should repeal every word of Common Core; we should get the federal government out of the business of curriculum.”[4]

  • Carly Fiorina (May 31, 2015)

“Common core has become a nationally driven set of bureaucratic standards that teach teachers how to teach; that teach children how to learn. What we need is to provide more parental choice so that our kids anywhere they live have a real chance and common core doesn’t help us do that.”[5]

  • Jim Gilmore

“I’m against Common Core and I feel very strongly about it. And the reason is that I had the experience with this. I know what this is really about. Education is absolutely a local function. That’s where the parents and the teachers know what the demographics of their kids are like and can tailor the education in the best possible way to their kids.”[6]

  • Lindsey Graham

“The federal government should not coerce states into adopting Common Core and its top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education. We need to restore and protect state authority and flexibility in establishing and defining rigorous student academic standards and assessments.”[7]

  • Mike Huckabee

“Education is a family function — not a federal function. I oppose watering down our education standards or automatically promoting every student. I also oppose Common Core and believe we should abolish the federal department of education. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.”[8]

  • Bobby Jindal (Feb. 27, 2015)

“It is so important we get rid of Common Core. The federal government has no room; no place in curriculum or standard decisions. This top down approach is the absolute opposite of what the founding fathers intended.”[9]

  • John Kasich

“Governor Kasich believes in setting high expectations for our students, and as President he would call on states to develop, adopt and maintain their own rigorous standards, not impose federally mandated learning standards on local schools.”[10]

  • George Pataki (Jun. 10, 2015)

“I think it’s a bad idea”[11]

  • Rand Paul

“The Federal Government should not dictate what happens in our local classrooms.  I believe we must abolish Common Core and give control back to the states, localities and parents.”[12]

  • Marco Rubio (Aug. 6, 2015)

“I too believe in curriculum reform. It is critically important in the 21st century. We do need curriculum reform and it should happen at the state and local level. That is where educational policy belongs. The department of Education just like every federal agency will never be satisfied. They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate, in fact what they will begin to say to the local communities is: “You will not get federal money unless you do things the way we want you to do it and they will use common core or any other requirements that exist nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states.[13]

  • Rich Santorum 

“Rick Santorum believes we need Common Sense not Common Core. He is opposed to Common Core and any other top-down nationalized education standards – and he has opposed Common Core from the start!”[14]

  • Donald Trump (Aug. 28, 2015)

“I am not a common core person. I want local education. The Department of education has done a horrible job”[15]

Click here for a downloadable and printable version: Candidates on Common Core


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