Two Exchanges from the First GOP Presidential Debate that Matter for Homeschoolers

Two Exchanges from the First GOP Presidential Debate that Matter for Homeschoolers | HSLDA Blog

Republican presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland.

The 2016 Presidential election is already shaping up to be an exciting one. A whopping 17 candidates are vying for the GOP Presidential nomination, meaning that any small advantage could go a long way in allowing candidates to distinguish themselves from the crowded field.

On August 6th, the Republican Party had its first chance to showcase all of its presidential candidates on the same stage, for the first presidential debate of the year. With 24 million viewers (the most ever to watch a non-sports-related TV event), the debate gave these presidential hopefuls a chance to elaborate on their policy positions, and let viewers find ways to distinguish between a roster of candidates that all seem to agree with the same principles.

For HSLDA, this debate offered a glimpse into what the candidates believe about issues that matter to homeschoolers. The debate can be watched in full here. But here are two exchanges that matter for homeschoolers.

1. Mike Huckabee on the Department of Education:


Governor Huckabee, on Facebook, John Pietricone asked this, “Will you abolish or take away the powers and cut the size of the EPA, the IRS, the Department of Education?”


It’s not too big to shrink. But the problem is we have a Wall Street-to-Washington access of power that has controlled the political climate. The donor class feeds the political class who does the dance that the donor class wants. And the result is federal government keeps getting bigger.

Every person on this stage who has been a governor will tell that you the biggest fight they had was not the other party. Wasn’t even the legislature. It was the federal government, who continually put mandates on the states that we had to suck up and pay for.

And the fact is there are a lot of things happening at the federal level that are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of the Constitution. This is power that should be shifted back to the states, whether it’s the EPA, there is no role at the federal level for the Department of Education.

 2. Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio on the Common Core Standards:


Governor Bush, you are one of the few people on the stage who advocates for Common Core education standards, reading and math. A lot of people on this stage vigorously oppose federal involvement in education. They say it should all be handled locally.

President Obama’s secretary of education, Arnie Duncan, has said that most of the criticism of Common Core is due to a, quote, “fringe group of critics.” Do you think that’s accurate?


No, I don’t. And I don’t believe the federal government should be involved in the creation of standards directly or indirectly, the creation of curriculum or content. It is clearly a state responsibility.

I’m for higher standards measured in an intellectually honest way, with abundant school choice, ending social promotion. And I know how to do this because as governor of the state of Florida I created the first statewide voucher program in the country, the second statewide voucher program, in the country and the third statewide voucher program in the country.

And we had rising student achievement across the board, because high standards, robust accountability, ending social promotion in third grade, real school choice across the board, challenging the teachers union and beating them is the way to go.

And Florida’s low income kids had the greatest gains inside the country. Our graduation rate improved by 50 percent. That’s what I’m for.


Senator Rubio, why is Governor Bush wrong on Common Core?


Well, first off, I too believe in curriculum reform. It is critically important in the 21st Century. We do need curriculum reform. And it should happen at the state and local level. That is where educational policy belongs, because if a parent is unhappy with what their child is being taught in school, they can go to that local school board or their state legislature, or their governor and get it changed.

Here’s the problem with Common Core. The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied. They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate.

In fact, what they will begin to say to local communities is, you will not get federal money unless do you things the way we want you to do it. And they will use Common Core or any other requirements that exists nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states.


And do you agree with your old friend?


He is definitely my friend. And I think the states ought to create these standards. And if states want to opt out of Common Core, fine. Just make sure your standards are high.

Because today in America, a third of our kids, after we spend more per student than any country in the world other than a couple rounding errors, to be honest with you, 30 percent are college- and/or career-ready.

If we are going to compete in this world we’re in today, there is no possible way we can do it with lowering expectations and dumbing down everything. Children are going to suffer and families’ hearts are going to be broken that their kids won’t be able to get a job in the 21st Century.


Stay tuned as HSLDA continues to cover the 2016 Campaign! We will be publishing articles and weekly profiles about each candidate’s position on Common Core on our blog.

-Andrew Mullins

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

32 thoughts on “Two Exchanges from the First GOP Presidential Debate that Matter for Homeschoolers

  1. What about covering where they stand on parental rights with regard to vaccination? To say it another way, where do they stand on mandatory vaccination and personal beliefs exemptions?


      • Which is why, as the mother & foster mom of vaccine injure children, I absolutely refuse to support him, in spite of the fact that he uses a lot of the right conservative buzz words.

        The man is a statist at heart, and that is what matters.


      • While Carson is for mandatory vaccines, it was my impression it was to do away with a blanket ‘religious exemption’ and put it more to a case by case medical exemption between a parent and physician. There’s a growing concern over the rise of diseases and illnesses once conquered in the USA and the number of immigrants coming in carrying them. All unvaccinated fall prey so minimizing that number limits the spread.

        I think Carson would not use Executive Orders to implement such an idea and it would be left to Congress whether to take up the issue and what it would do. He has commented that there have been too many EO’s.

        Read ‘The Ben Carson Story’ to get a better idea of his core and why he’s motivated to be the country’s leader at this time. We saw the local play years ago and it was profoundly moving for kids and adults.

        Carson is for homeschooling and school choice.


      • He’s on the board of a vaccine manufacturing company and he’s trying to develop a vaccine for colon cancer….something which can be cured naturally. I don’t trust Carson at all.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rand Paul seems to be the candidate that is most for parental rights and personal liberties. Trump is against multiple vaccines at once, but i’m not sure if he’s stated he’s views on paental choice.


  2. While I agree with Huckabee that financially interested parties are running politics, I am not seeing much coverage by the media (also controlled by the same fianancilly interested parties) of Senator Rand Paul who, from my own research, seems to be the least financially controlled. How do HSLDA members feel about him as a pro-homeschooling candidate?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi. I would humbly suggest you check further into Gov. Huckabee’s stand on Common Core. I was listening to the Glenn Beck radio show a while ago, and he had audio tape on a meeting being held where Gov. Hucklebee spoke out strongly for Common Core. In fact, Gov. Hucklebee suggested that they change the name from Common Core to some other name since the name Common Core is controversial. This excerpt from Glenn’s radio happened at least a year ago, so I don’t remember where and when that meeting happened. All I clearly remember is Gov. Hucklebee saying he was in favor of Common a Core and that he wanted to change its name. And the way he said it was quite chilling, which is probably why I remember that incident. I live in Louisiana and homeschool since even the Catholic schools implemented Common Core in the curriculum. The Catholic school where my daughter attended from pre-k through 3rd grade implemented Common Core when she began 2nd grade. The school hid this fact until news leaked out at the end of her 3rd grade year. By that time so much damage had been done. We in Louisiana are on constant guard to do whatever we can do to defeat this monster. It is not easy. Proponents for Common Core are well funded. There is an organization called Empower Louisiana who is throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the candidates for Common Core. Those who contribute to Empower Louisiana include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jim and Alice Walton (Wal-Mart, Arkansas), John and Laura Arnold, former hedge fund manager, and Eli Broad, founder of two Fortune 500 companies (California)—-all out of state money! Common Core is big business to a few! Evil! Sorry to be so long!


    • Gregg-

      I have checked Bush’s claims. Stay tuned to this blog for an up-and-coming white page on Gov. Bush’s stance on Common Core! You may find it quite interesting.


  3. I wonder where and how the children of the potential candidates are educated? If I had to guess, I would say private schools. Leaving education decisions up to localities sounds great, sounds empowering, but I wouldn’t trust our local school board any further than I could throw them. They are clueless. Some states are quite capable of crafting effective, quality curriculum, but many are not. For those without the luxury of being able to teach their children at home, the choices are few.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The choices are few for homeschoolers? Have you done much research on the choices? There are MANY! It took me months to decide what I would use because there are so many choices.


      • She said, “For those without the luxury of being able to teach their children at home, the choices are few.” She is not saying, “The choices are few for homeschoolers.” She is saying exactly the opposite – for NON-homeschoolers in some areas the choices are few.


  4. I hope this is ongoing coverage because Donald Trump was not mentioned here and in the most plain speak of any candidate he tells it like it is. He outright says,
    “Common Core is a disaster and Must be ended.”
    I don’t trust Jeb Bush for a second with his policitized answer.


  5. I would be interested in commentary on the implications of what each candidate is advocating, rather than just straight quotes. To my untrained ears, they still seem to be saying practically the same thing.


  6. We believe Common Core education is wrong and that the Dept. of Ed. can and should be eliminated. We support Rand Paul for President. His principled stand is based on the Constitution and the entire Bill of Rights.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rick Santorum seems to be the only candidate that says education should not be controlled at the state level not just federal. I believe he has the best answer on education. I haven’t picked one candidate over the others yet.


  8. If you have been paying attention over time, as opposed to just relying on statements made in the first debate – there is only one candidate home school families can trust with their liberty -educational or otherwise:

    Rand Paul


  9. Be careful & do your homework on Mike Huckabee. He is more “big government” than he lets on. He was absolutely 100% behind Common Core early on. He then seemed to soften only when it “seemed” that he was going to run for President. Search for the article on breitbart where he tells Common Core supporters to “rebrand, Don’t Retreat”. My impression = just change the name of Common Core, but continue in that same direction. Not someone I choose to trust!


    • He also scares me because he loves vaccines. I haven’t heard him say one way or he other about parental rights though, so i don’t know if he would try to mandate them.


  10. Gov. Mike Huckabee wants to do away with the Federal Dept. of Education and kill Common Core. He believes in local and parental control of education. As Governor, Mike Huckabee 1) Protected the right of parents to home school their children, 2) Appointed a former home schooling parent to the State Board of Education, 3) Signed a much improved charter school bill, resulting in the creation of Arkansas’ first ever charter schools, and 4) Issued a Home School Day proclamation.


  11. From a Christian perspective I feel very comfortable with much of what Huckabee says. I don’t think he’s phony. However, at this point, I think the person that is going to actually effect change is Trump. While I don’t think we Christians are going to like some of his social policies, he is a nationalist idealogue who will revitalize the actually stemming the tide of socialism. Our social issues are not going to matter one bit when none of us have jobs. If things keep going the way they are, we won’t even have a voice. We have to have a stop-gap to that first. Beyond that as a nationalist I’m quite sure that he will recognize the nationalistic spirit and principles of homeschoolers.

    I think Huckabee has the right idea here, but Trump also believes in local government. He will not touch homeschooling in a negative fashion. In fact when he sees the stats of how much better we do, as a man who is all about success, even if its unorthodox, he will probably even incentivize us for paying taxes and our own school fees on top of that. Just my two cents.


  12. Please check out Gov. Christie who stated (I only overhead his comments while preparing dinner) that children should be in school until 6:?? p.m. and I think also he believes in mandatory vaccinations. This information was not on the debate night but probably on FOX news several weeks prior. FOX is our TV news source. I was so upset to hear what he said. The innuendo was children had a place and it was in school.

    I homeschooled my son from the middle of third grade to college years ago. He is 41 now. and employed by a university.


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