Note: HSLDA has reached out to all of the major presidential campaigns for interviews. We will post and analyze the interviews as they occur. HSLDA has not endorsed any 2016 presidential candidate.
In the next interview in our series of conversations with presidential candidates, HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris spoke with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, to discuss homeschooling and current homeschool-related legislative issues.
HSLDA’s interview with Sen. Cruz covered some of the most important issues related to homeschooling including Common Core, parental rights, S. 306 ( Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the federal government’s role in education.
HERE ARE SOME NOTABLE HIGHLIGHTS:
Sen. Cruz believes the federal government shouldn’t have any role in education.
“I don’t think the federal government should have any role in education. I am a constitutionalist, and I have spent my entire adult life fighting to defend the Constitution and fighting to defend the Bill of Rights. Under the Tenth Amendment, the powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states and to the people.”
“Education is too important, I believe, for it to be governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington. It needs to be at the state level, or even better at the local level, where parents have direct control over the education of our kids.”
Ending Common Core will be a top priority for Sen. Cruz.
“…If I’m elected president, on the very first day in office, I intend to instruct the federal Department of Education that Common Core ends that day. Now, the reason that that can be accomplished is because Barack Obama has abused executive power in forcing Common Core on the states. And particularly the Department of Education has used the Race to the Top fund to effectively blackmail or bribe the states to adopt the Common Core standards. That will end on the opening day of January of next year if I am elected.”
306, which Sen. Cruz co-sponsors, helps eliminate discrimination against homeschoolers. (HSLDA supports S. 306)
“The legislation is legislation that Senator Mike Lee has introduced, who is a passionate supporter of homeschooling, as am I. And it’s legislation that simply eliminates the discrimination against homeschoolers currently in [Coverdell] education savings accounts, so that if individuals choose to save their own money for educational purposes, they are allowed to spend their own money on homeschooling. And there’s no reason that federal law should discriminate against homeschoolers and treat them as second-class citizens. And as you know, the Home School Legal Defense Association has actively supported that legislation for a number of years, has spoken out in favor of eliminating discrimination against homeschoolers. And nothing in that legislation would open the door to even the teeniest bit of government regulation—and if it would, I would oppose it. I do not think the government has any business regulating homeschoolers, restricting their fundamental parental liberty. And allowing people to spend their own money who educate their kids is entirely consistent with that.”
Sen. Cruz believes United Nations treaties should not be used to undermine U.S. law.
“I am passionately opposed to anything that would undermine American sovereignty. And one of the patterns that we have seen more and more from the Left is efforts to go to international treaty, to go to international law, and to try to use them to undermine the constitutional rights of Americans, to undermine our Bill of Rights.”
“One of the very first things that I did as a newly elected senator is: [I] argued vociferously to my colleagues in the Senate that they should not confirm [the UN CRPD], they should not ratify this treaty, because it could have the effect of undermining the rights of parents, undermining the rights of homeschoolers, and putting international law and international obligations in a superior position to the rights of Americans. And I’m glad to say that the arguments I raised passionately with my colleagues prevailed, and the Senate declined to ratify that treaty. And I oppose any treaty that undermines American sovereignty or in any way jeopardizes the constitutional rights of Americans.”
It is important to note that HSLDA is not endorsing any candidate in the 2016 presidential primary, but we have been releasing regular blog posts about where the candidates stand on noteworthy homeschool-related issues.
In our series of conversations with presidential candidates, HSLDA has also had the opportunity to talk about homeschooling with Florida Senator Marco Rubio. You can find that conversation here.
HSLDA has invited all serious candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties to join us for an interview about homeschooling and education policy on Homeschool Heartbeat. So stay tuned—we hope to hear from more of these candidates soon!
— Andrew Mullins