I interviewed U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has declared his presidential campaign, while he was in Iowa for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kickoff for Caffeinated Thoughts. We discussed education first.
Shane: I write a lot about Common Core and you mention Common Core a lot in a number of your speeches. You talk a lot about Common Core, however with Common Core actually being decided at the state level, what is it that the federal government can do to address the problem?
Senator Cruz: Well the federal government can stop mandating it and using Race to the Top funds to force states to adopt Common Core. What the Obama administration is to use the coercive power of federal money to get states down this road, and they are also trying to intrude with federal oversight of substantive standards. I think the federal government has no business whatsoever being involved in the curriculum that is taught in the schools. We need to repeal Common Core, all together, I’m categorically opposed to it.
I think that education should be at the state level, or even better, at the local level. The advantage of having it at the state level is that it gives parents direct control over the education of our kids. Education is too important to be governed by some distant bureaucrat in Washington – all of us as parents need to have direct input into what our kids are taught.
Shane: The Senate HELP Committee passed the ESEA reauthorization out, what is your position on that current bill? Have you had a chance to read it?
Senator Cruz: You know it is coming out of committee so I’m studying the details of that particular bill. I believe we should be reducing, or even better, eliminating the strings and mandates that are coming out of the federal government regarding education. We should be expanding school choice. We should be empowering parents and children to choose the best education for their families and I am a passionate advocate of school choice. I think school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century, and every child has a right to a quality education regardless of race, ethnicity, wealth or zip code. So I’ve filed legislation, along with Senator Mike Lee, to allow the federal money that is currently going to education to follow the child, to be portable with the child so you can expand options so kids can have better education and a greater hope and future.
Shane: So like an education savings account?
Senator Cruz: Different from an education savings account, but I support that. I support anything and everything that gives more choice to children and expands their options with education.
You can catch the entire interview here.