Republicans on Common Core

2016 Republican Candidates give their views on education


By John Minchillo, Associated Press

9 of the GOP front runners in the 2016 election, along with Scott Walker (4th from right) who has since dropped out.

Kam Kravetz, Staff Writer

Thus far in the 2016 presidential race there have been two huge republican debates. The front runners in the republican field took to the stage in Cleveland, Ohio and Simi Valley, California. During the debates, education has taken the back seat and rarely been talked about. Because of such little exposure in the media, many people are curious on some of the republican views on education.

Colorado, 41 other states, and the District of Columbia use the common core which are academic standards that tries to challenge students across the country. They are based on math and English and are considered to be much more challenging than what previously existed.

Even with the strong support of 42 states using common core, almost all of the big name republican presidential candidates are publicly opposed to it.

Ted Cruz (R-TX) considered it to be one of the top 10 things wrong with the country today and said it would be one of his first changes as president, “Common Core is being used by the federal government as a mechanism to force a uniform curriculum, to put federal bureaucrats in charge of what is taught to our kids.” he said recently.  Senator Cruz’ home state of Texas is one of 7 states not to adopt the Common Core yet.

In New Jersey, they have been ranked the #2 education state in the country since 2012, which makes it even stranger for New Jersey Governor Chris Christy to oppose Core. He used to be very supportive to Core, until he started to claim that it wasn’t right for the state. In May, he introduced that he wanted to make changes for their state’s standards. “We must reject federal control of our education and return it to parents and teachers,” Christie said this past June, “We need to take it out of the cubicles of Washington, D.C. where it was placed by the Obama administration and return it to the neighborhoods of New Jersey.”

One of the poll leading candidates, Donald Trump also hasn’t said much on the topic of education, but at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January he said, “He (Jeb Bush) is totally in favor of Common Core. That’s a disaster. It should be local and all of that.”

The other states not to adopt the Common Core include Oklahoma, Virginia, Alaska, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Indiana.  All besides Nebraska and Virginia are ranked in the bottom half of the national school rankings According to the same source Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Alaska are in the bottom ten states for education. Yet, Virginia has always been towards the top of the education rankings, even though they haven’t adopted the standards.

Even though their standards aren’t the only thing holding these states back, it has helped many states, including Colorado, to raise their education scores each year. Each state funds schools differently, which also has a large impact on the success of their students. For example, according to, Massachusetts ranks 1st in education and third in spending, while Mississippi ranks 46th in spending and 50th in school system rankings.

The little support for Core among Republicans comes from the candidates from the states that have been helped by the standards. These candidates include Jeb Bush (R-FL) and John Kasich (R-OH).  They claim that since they implemented Common Core, they have been raising their test scores and their ability to perform well. And John Kasich’s home state of Ohio has been making steady rises in the rankings each year, rising from 18th to 14th during 2012 to 2015.

The states that use Core and are still struggling, are used as the backing to the argument of the Republican candidates, these are states like Mississippi, Arizona, and Alabama . The other Republican candidates believe that education shouldn’t be controlled by the federal government.

Candidate Dr. Ben Carson said that “Education is better handled at the local level.”

Many are in support of the Common Core because of its ability to make it more equal nationwide, if all of the students learn the same thing, then it opens more opportunities for all students. Since everybody learns the same thing, everyone has an equal shot at big universities.

The next Republican debate takes place in Colorado at the University of Colorado Boulder on October 28. In a state where education is key, and the fact that the debate is being held at a university, hopefully can hear more of the Republican field’s opinion on education.