George Pataki, the former three-term governor of New York, announced today that he’s running for president. He’s the eighth Republican to do so and the second in two days (Rick Santorum declared yesterday). He’s also the subject of the eleventh installment of the Eduwatch 2016 series chronicling presidential candidates’ stances on education issues.
Pataki defeated Mario Cuomo back in 1994 to win the governorship of the Empire State, an office he held until 2006. In fact, he’s never lost an election. In 1982, he won the mayoral seat in Peekskill, NY. He was elected to the state assembly two years later, and to the state senate in 1992. He’s had a long, successful career—so long that if he wins in 2016, he’ll be the oldest American president in history. And during that time, he’s formed some strong opinions about education:
1. Common Core: “I oppose Common Core. I think it's a terrible idea.” April 2015.
2. Standards: “I'm for rigorous standards. But I don't trust Washington….It should vary state by state....One of the beauties of America, quite simply, is that we are a very diverse country. New York City is not quite the same when it comes to education as Montana. They have different needs, different experiences, different things that have to be done.” April 2015.
3. Charter schools: “I passed the strongest charter school bill in America. We didn't have charter schools in New York before I was governor. Now we have a charter school program that works well; there's enormous pressure to expand it, to create competition, and that is what we need.” April 2015.
4. Education tax credits: “One of the things I fought for but couldn't get was an education tax credit, where we could take a part of our taxes and use it to help students to learn better— whether it was with additional support in the public system or paying for education outside in the private or parochial system.” April 2015.
5. Standardized testing: “The idea that we're going to have one national testing system imposed on students in every community across America is wrong....I put in place programs to have standardized testing--not from Washington, not in Common Core—but school report cards so that parents could know if their school was doing well compared to neighboring schools. And then individual testing in the fourth and eighth grade so they could find out if their kids were learning as well. I'm for standardized testing...but I don't trust Washington to be able to impose those tests fairly or in a way that reflects the desires of the people of a community or a state.” April 2015.
6. State and local control of education: “Education has always been a state and local issue. It's not a Washington issue.” April 2015.
7. The U.S. Department of Education: “[The right and proper role of the U.S. Department of Education is] a very limited role. Perhaps as an information gathering center. Perhaps some other programs. But the idea that the Education Department should be dictating policy or standards or what we teach our children around America is not the nature of this country and not the way our education system has flourished.” April 2015.
8. Education and opportunity: “It used to be that people believed tomorrow will be a better day....Too often, you don’t hear that optimism today. To turn this around, we must link education to opportunity and give every young person the ability to develop a dream and to access that dream.” April 2015.
There you have it—George Pataki. Up next is Lindsey Graham, who plans to announce next week. I’ll follow that up with Scott Walker and anyone else who decides to join the fray. Until next time.