Ben Carson: Homeschool is Best for Education

Ben Carson: Homeschool is Best for Education | HSLDA Blog

Earlier this month, The Seventy Four, an educational policy non-profit, sat down with 2016 presidential hopeful Ben Carson to talk education policy. The moderator was Campbell Brown, editor-in-chief of The Seventy Four.

Here are some takeaways:

1. Carson: “We know that the very best education is homeschool.”

The homeschool part, we agree with. Vouchers, not so much.

Here’s the entire quote:

Campbell Brown: “If you could do one thing, one thing that would improve schools, especially for low-income families, what would it be?” (6:56)

Carson: “Provide vouchers so that they would have choice in terms of the schools that they go to. Because we know that the very best education is homeschool; the next is private school; the next is charter school; then the last is public school. And if we want to change that dynamic, we’ve got to offer some real competition to the public schools.”

2. Carson: “I am generally hoping [Common Core] will die a quiet death.”

Campbell Brown: So let me ask you about Common Core, because we’re thinking about all 50 states. I think the idea behind Common Core was to create a common set of standards to help each state raise their standards. To bring their best game, if you will. And it has become quite controversial among Republicans. Where are you generally on Common Core?

Carson: I am generally hoping that it will die a quiet death—and like I said before, the closest education to home is the best education. And I don’t know of any state that wouldn’t be very interested in its people being very well educated. (12:10)

During the interview, Carson also talked about his plans to use federal dollars to incentivize states to create school voucher systems. When pressed for more details, he said this:

Campbell Brown: So you would support using federal dollars to incentivize states to expand charter schools, or adopt vouchers, or tax credits? (10:04) 

Carson: The same dollars that we already use. 

Campbell Brown: Right. So in the way that Race to the Top has done under [President Obama]? 

Carson: Yes.

This is particularly disturbing because Race to The Top was the vehicle by which waivers were granted to pressure states into adopting the Common Core. 

The entire interview can be found here.

Note: HSLDA is covering all of the 2016 presidential candidates on our blog. Check it out for more information on the election!

-Andrew Mullins

17 thoughts on “Ben Carson: Homeschool is Best for Education

  1. The problem with vouchers….transportation for the very poor and tenure. Although vouchers sound great in theory….the poorest would still suffer in fact…the poorest children would stay in those schools that others left….unless transportation is provided. The other issue that keeps the voucher program from treating school like a market is tenure. Teachers would need to be ranked and paid based on their students success and tenure eliminated. If these things are not in place than I believe the voucher program would have very little hope of helping to provide a solution to a failing public school program.


    • While it might sound like a good idea to pay teachers based on the students success, it is not that simple. Some schools and classes have a higher concentration of children who have difficult backgrounds and who have experienced trauma and maybe experiencing ongoing trauma. Trauma affects the ability of a brain to be open for learning because it is caught in the survival mode. Neurologically those children have less access to their cortex for learning until they can perceive that they are in a safe place. Researchers like Dan Siegal and Bruce Perry have done a good job of explaining how trauma affects the brain. Those teachers can be working very hard to reach the children they teach and may be having a positive affect but it may not show up on test scores. What goes on at home and in the community impacts what happens in the classroom. It would penalize teachers who are working with the toughest to reach children. We don’t want people to be afraid to teach in those schools and classrooms because they will be lower ranked or even lose their jobs. Even as homeschoolers I don’t think we want to be ranked by how well our children do because there is such a difference in children’s abilities and temperaments. Whether we are teachers in the public or private school system, homeschooling moms or good neighbors, we need to be reaching out with gentleness and sensitivity to all the children around us so they can be safe, have a sense of wonder and curiosity that is encouraged and feel valued. We may need to be tutoring our neighbors children if they want/need it or at least read stories to them. There are no easy or simple solutions but choice of some kind is a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree that there are significant outside influences on the ability of children to learn. One of, if not the most significant is the level of parental involvement and support, which is one major reason why homeschooling is so successful–you can’t get more involved than that! When the home environment is not supportive of learning, children face a stiff headwind no matter what teachers do.

        And yet… If the purpose of having children in school is to actually educate them, and not just babysit them, we should be holding teachers accountable for finding ways to reach them. I’m not denying the challenge, but if the students aren’t learning, what are we paying the teachers for? Judgments should be based on progress, not a standardized level–if a teacher gets a student who’s two years behind to start, moving up to just one year behind is stellar performance, not failure. But saying, “These kids have a tough background,” can’t be an excuse for not holding anyone accountable. At the same time, we need to be looking for ways to assist the teacher with the matters that are out of her/his control.


  2. This article is organized to say that Ben Carson believes that homeschooling is best and Common Core needs to be eliminated. Carson was wanting to allow parents to use the same tax dollars for their own children that are allotted to government schools per student. Carson’s emphasis from the actual interview was to provide vouchers and facilitate school choice, incentivizing states with money. Campbell Brown said “in the way that Race to the Top has done,” in passing, to say that federal dollars give incentive to states. Carson’s reply, “yes,” was not necessarily saying that he endorsed everything about that program as a vehicle. Campbell, in the original interview, later probes Carson on Common Core and the role of the state. Carson again says that education closest to home is best. He emphasizes that states can set their own standards of education and work with parents and PTA’s, and that he has seen a big problem with imposing from above (federal government) and setting a standard of how it should be done. We have homeschooled for the last 20 years and have over 12 years to go. I am so happy to hear a Christian Presidential hopeful state that homeschooling is best. I did listen to the actual interview myself because of how Mullens wrote his negative concluding sentence. I found that I was even more in line with Carson’s views than I had previously thought. Even later in the Campbell interview, when asked about “No Child Left Behind,” Carson emphasizes that education should not be dictated from the national level. Local control and choice were Carson’s bottom lines. I will share the actual interview from The 74 on You Tube this time.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One can be a strong advocate for homeschooling and still recognize that homeschooling doesn’t work for everyone. In those situations, vouchers are an excellent way to provide an alternative to the governmental monopoly on education. I’m disappointed to see you making such antagonistic comments. Do they come with strings attached? No doubt. Tax dollars should come with accountability. But better for parents to be in control of where their children go to school than for them to be locked into a setting that may be incapable of providing effective learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew Mullins summary of Dr. Carson’s interview is not accurate. He never said he was in agreement with the federal “Race to the Top” program but rather that he advocated using funds that already exist for incentivizing states to create school vouchers. The main point is that Carson is pro-homeschooling. Whether we agree with all of his ideas or not, this is what we need to know about his stance on home education.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The best education is a Christian bible based home education. As for a “quiet death” of common core, Americans would have loved to hear this dove instead call for a “fast and furious” death of the government indoctrination, and the absolute hands off, of our progeny. And, with his apparent ties to the vaccine industry, I am also praying for the fast and furious death of Dr. Carson’s political career.


    • Dr. Carson doesn’t have a political career as your comment indicates you do. That truth, with me, is a great big + for him but not enough to vote for him. However, all of his other positions and capabilities, with the exception of one, do cause me to desire that he is our next president.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dr. Carson definitely has the BEST interest of America’s future in mind, and he clearly believes the future of our country lies within our children, who become our future leaders, business persons, etc.
    I disagree with government funding of vouchers, as with this type of finding, comes “hidden” conditions (restrictions, et al) that may thwart the desired outcome. This is why some Christian colleges do not accept government money (i.e. Pensacola Christian College).
    I’d like to ask how he would handle recovering the taxes for home educators. We all are required to pay pharoah for a product and service most home schools are unable to use, but do not receive tax returned for the overpayment of education taxes.


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