by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Washington Free Beacon details a summit this week in New Hampshire led by former television news anchor and now education activist Campbell Brown. Six Republican presidential candidates participated.
At Brown’s “The Seventy Four” summit, all six candidates also expressed support for local control of curricula.
[Jeb] Bush discussed the value of vouchers and charter schools. “The net result of a system where a parent has total choice of where to go, is that every school is going to have to get better, or they’re going to lose their students,” Bush said.
When asked about his support for the Common Core, Bush put some distance between himself and the controversial policy, emphasizing the necessity of high standards and core content that are state-driven. “The commonality [of standards] is not as relevant as the highness of them,” he said. …
… Carly Fiorina emphasized innovation and diversity, which she said could only be maintained at a local level. She said that as president she would “devolve as much money, and as much responsibility, and as much accountability into the states’ and into communities’ and parents’ hands as possible.”
Fiorina criticized federal programs such as Race to the Top that dictate standards on the state level through funding. “A bureaucracy by nature will standardize and systematize. They won’t standardize goals, they will standardize methods,” she said. Fiorina supported the version of the No Child Left Behind Act revised in the Republican House, which would push money out to the local level.
She advocated zero-based budgeting and a “top-to-bottom audit” of the federal government. …
… [John] Kasich supported a strong school choice program that included charter schools and vouchers and committees that would help failing schools.
“We have to break the agrarian model: we stick everybody in a classroom and we try to teach everybody in the same way, and as we all know, children learn in different ways,” he said.
Kasich, like Bush, distanced himself from Common Core. “We had a big war here in the country over this thing called Common Core. Did you hear anything out of me that didn’t represent local control? So we have to sometimes get beyond the headlines and the politics, and look underneath to figure out what the reality is,” he said.
Kasich said that teachers were vital to student success and individualized education. “How do we pay a college football couch four million dollars a year and we pay our teachers peanuts?” he asked. “If they’re not teaching very well, we need to either help them get better, or they shouldn’t be teaching.”