Editor's note: This post was first published on Flypaper on April 27, 2015.
This is the second in a series of Eduwatch 2016 posts that will chronicle presidential candidates’ stances on today’s biggest education issues. Last week’s inaugural post revealed Hillary Clinton’s views on everything from Common Core to charter schools. Next up is the junior senator from the Sunshine State, Marco Rubio.
Rubio’s been active in his role as a legislator, especially when it comes to school choice. In 2013, for example, he introduced the Educational Opportunities Act—a bill designed to support choice through tax credits—and co-sponsored a bill that would allow billions of Title I dollars to follow kids to whichever school they attend. But those are just pieces of senatorial legislation, and unsuccessful ones at that. Rubio’s dreaming bigger; he wants to jump from lawmaker to leader of the free world, which means a whole lot of talking between now and November 2016. So let’s see what he’s had to say about education:
1. The Department of Education: “If I was president of the United States, I would not have a Department of Education, perhaps at all….We don’t need a national school board.” April 2015.
2. Common Core (2015): “I don’t care what anybody tells you….Those standards will eventually be used to force on states policies the federal government wants.” April 2015.
3. Common Core (2013): “Common Core started out as a well-intentioned effort to develop more rigorous curriculum standards….However, it is increasingly being used by the Obama administration to turn the Department of Education into what is effectively a national school board. This effort to coerce states into adhering to national curriculum standards is not the best way to help our children attain the best education. Empowering parents, local communities, and the individual states is the best approach.” July 2013.
4. School choice: “The public school system for millions of disadvantaged American children is a disaster. Many of these schools deny opportunity to those who need it most. We need to allow charter schools and other innovative schools to flourish. The key to that is empowering parents. Parents should be the ultimate decision makers on where their children go to school. But poor and working class parents often have no choice about what schools their children can attend. All our parents should be able to send their children to the school of their choice. For parents with special needs children, the freedom to choose their kids’ school is especially important.” December 2012.
5. Teaching creationism and evolution: “If you want to give them a truly rounded education, you should explain to them that there’s a theistic creationism that exists, a theistic evolution that exists out there....The Catholic Church has adopted that position. It teaches that science and faith are not incompatible.” April 2014.
6. Curriculum: "I believe in having a twenty-first-century curriculum, but I believe it should be done at the local and state level.” April 2015.
7. Educational tax credits: “Our tax code should reward investment in education. If you invest in a business by buying a machine, you get a tax credit for the cost. If there is a tax credit for investing in equipment, shouldn’t there be a tax credit for investing in people? Let’s provide tax encouragement to help parents pay for the school of their choice. Let’s create a corporate federal tax credit to a qualifying, non-profit 501(c)(3) Education Scholarship Organization, so that students from low-income families can receive a scholarship to pay for the cost of a private education of their parents’ choosing.” December 2012.
8. Subsidizing college: “Let’s say you are a student who needs $10,000 to pay for your last year of school. Instead of taking this money out in the form of a loan, you could apply for a ‘Student Investment Plan’ from an approved and certified private investment group. In short, these investors would pay your $10,000 tuition in return for a percentage of your income for a set period of time after graduation—let’s say, for example, 4 percent a year for ten years.” February 2014.
9. Career and technical education: “Not everyone should be forced to get a four-year degree in order to find a job. There are millions of good-paying jobs out there, and we should allow people to have access to skills they need in a cost-effective way. In the twenty-first century, some of the best jobs require more than high school–traditional high school–but less than four years of college." February 2015.
10. Issue soup: “We should create a universal education tax deduction, perform a regular review of Department of Education programs, make block grants conditional on performance and accountability measures, improve parental access to school performance, improve school choice through a federal corporate income tax credit, protect teachers from frivolous lawsuits, overcome the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics crisis, create students-with-disabilities scholarships, promote voluntary pre-K scholarship, provide opportunity scholarships for students in chronically failing schools, reinstate the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, and promote a national virtual learning platform.” Archived quote from Rubio’s Senate website, available as late as April 18, 2015, now removed.
And that’s it for Candidate Rubio. Next up are editions for Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and—very likely—Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and a few others. Until next time.
Note: This post was updated on May 4 to remove Lincoln Chafee's name, who said that his statement, "I'm running," was a mistake.