Here’s what the Republican presidential candidates said about the Common Core in their debate in Miami, Florida, on March 10, 2016.
Donald TRUMP, when asked about Common Core
Education through Washington, D.C.? I don’t want that. I want local education. I want the parents, and I want all of the teachers, and I want everybody to get together around a school and to make education great. And it was very interesting, I was with Dr Ben Carson today, who is endorsing me, by the way, tomorrow morning, and he is …
We were talking. We spoke for over an hour on education. And he has such a great handle on it. He wants competitive schools. He wants a lot of different things that are terrific, including charter schools, by the way, that the unions are fighting like crazy. But charter schools work and they work very well. So there are a lot of things. But I’m going to have Ben very involved with education, something that’s an expertise of his. …
But [education] has been taken over by the federal government. It was originally supposed to be that way and certainly sounds better that way. But it has all been taken over now by the bureaucrats in Washington, and they are not interested in what’s happening in Miami or in Florida, in many cases. Now in some cases they would be, but in many cases they are more interested in their paycheck and the big bureaucracy than they are taking care of the children.
Ted CRUZ on the Common Core
Common Core is a disaster, and if I am elected president, in the first days as president, I will direct the Department of Education that Common Core ends that day. …
Now, let me tell you why you can do that, because it’s easy to talk about the problem, but you have to understand the solutions. The Obama administration has abused executive power in forcing Common Core on the states. It has used Race to the Top funds to effectively blackmail and force the states to adopt Common Core.
Now, the one silver lining of Obama abusing executive power is that everything done with executive power can be undone with executive power, and I intend to do that.
Beyond that, though, Jake, I intend to work to abolish the federal Department of Education and send education back to the states and back to the local governments. And let me say, finally, the most important reform we can do in education after getting the federal government out of it, is expand school choice; expand charter schools and home schools and private schools and vouchers, and scholarships, and give every child—African American, Hispanic—every child in need an opportunity to access … a quality education.
John KASICH on the Common Core
Well, look, all I’m in favor of in Ohio is high standards. First of all, let me tell you, I would take 125 federal education programs, put them in four buckets, and send them back to the states. OK, I’ve been working on this for many, many years.
Secondly, Jake, in our state, the state school board sets the standards. And we want high standards because we have not always had high standards, unfortunately. They set the standards and the local school boards develop the curriculum. Not only did we have that in the law, we reasserted it in the law.
And we also want parental advisers in the local school district so that, in fact, you know, frankly, education has to be run at the school board level with a little guidance from the state.
Now on top of that, you want to talk about the 21st century and what we need to do with our kids? We need to start connecting them to the real world. We need to be training them for the jobs of the 21st century, not the jobs of 20 years ago. We need vocational education starting in the seventh grade where kids can get that kind of education that can take them to college, but all the way through their K through 12 they ought to be connected with real-world jobs.
Frankly, what ought to happen is we ought to get them to pursue their God-given talents and connect them with the things that give them passion. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in Ohio, combined with mentoring programs to talk to kids about what their future can be.
So let me be clear, local control, obviously, high state standards. That’s what it is in the state of Ohio.
Mr Kasich’s response is the only one that makes any sense or reflects even a modicum of understanding about how education works in America. At least his positions don’t misrepresent the facts about how schools work, despite my disagreement with some of his ideas.
Some Ohio residents have argued, though, according to this Washington Post report, that Mr Kasich drastically cut support from the state for education, especially through his support for incentive pay for teachers (it doesn’t work), charter schools (the charter schools in Ohio are among the worst in the nation), and vouchers (may divert tax dollars to private schools).
Mr Trump’s non-answer about the Common Core is typical of him in past debates, but his reference to competition making American schools better is in dispute, as is the effectiveness of charter schools as they have become in the US. Anyway, it’s kind of pointless to try to talk intelligently about these issues: policy statements, or whatever we call them, during a campaign aren’t usually binding. Just trust him: he’s going to fix everything and make America great again.