EXCLUSIVE: Mike Farris Chats Homeschooling with Sen. Ted Cruz

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Farris Chats Homeschooling with Sen. Ted Cruz | HSLDA Blog

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.


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

33 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Mike Farris Chats Homeschooling with Sen. Ted Cruz

  1. How can he say that the Feds should not have a role in education, and then turn around and say that day one he will shut down common core….which, by definition, is the Feds having a role in education? Shouldn’t he be saying that the States will be able to use or remove common core as they choose?

    Liked by 1 person

    • By shutting down the federal involvement, he does say the state and local governments can’t continue with it. The federal money is returned to the states rather than held in DC and used as bribe money for CV compliance. Shutting down Federal CD involvement takes the feds somewhat out of education.


    • Notice what he says. He will “instruct the federal Department of Education that Common Core ends that day…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…”

      Nothing there says he will prohibit the states from adopting it on their own, if they are so foolish.

      Get the feds out of it, and it will be effectively shut down.

      Liked by 1 person

    • By removing the federal government from education it would devolve to the states as is proper under the 10th Amendment. States could choose to keep Common Core or do something different. The way it’s implemented now is that the Department of Education ties certain funding to states participating in Common Core. This is the way a lot of federal regulations get pushed down to the state level. For instance, a state could choose to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18, but doing so would mean losing all federal highway funding. That federal funding that the federal government holds over the state’s heads is how they accomplish a lot of their goals. States don’t have to use Common Core, but if they don’t they can kiss a bunch of education dollars good bye. So of course, every state knuckled under and implemented Common Core.

      This is basically the Department of Education’s function – to take tax dollars collected by the states, funnel it to Washington D.C., and then send it back to the states; but this time with a bunch of strings attached.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No he is undoing the government control. This gives you the right to choose not be told you must use common core. It allows you to have a voice and say in what and how your child learns. There are many families in different states that you are told what and how you can teach your children. And in recent years it has become increasingly harder and harder to homeschool. becuase our government is trying to force us back into public schools. So NO he is trying to have government control he is undoing it so we have the right to choose. Which is currently protected by our Constitution.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is a red herring argument. Your nitpicking about language. The Federal Government is the one pushing Common Core. That is all he intends to stop.


    • He said he would stop the DoE from using “Race to the Top” to blackmail states into adopting Common Crap standards. Basically he would use the federal level government against itself to stop common core.


    • That is what removing common core means. It means each state can decide the curriculum for themselves. So if parents and teachers feel that common core isn’t working, they can choose a different approach. No state will be forced to do anything. Think of it like having a curfew. If your curfew was for 10p.m. and then the curfew is removed, you can still go to sleep at 10 if you so desire.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Because he said he would tell Washington that Common Core is dead on day one. You can’t shut down all of the Federal Department Of Education on day one, but you can start making changes. He didn’t say states wouldn’t be allowed to do what they want, he clearly stated the exact opposite of that. I think you are intentionally trying to confuse the clear message a real Constitutionalist is sending.


  2. Brad Shantz, I think he IS saying what your last question indicates. In context, he is saying that he will eliminate the strong-arming that the federal government used via funding to bribe states to adopt CC. Maybe his phraseology isn’t the clearest, but I think it stems from the fact that CC is generally associated with the strong arm tactics of the fed government, and that is what he is addressing when he says it will end on day one. States will be free to keep CC if they want, but they will also be free to drop CC without punishment from the fed. Bottom line, states will be more free….school boards will be more free…parents will be more free…etc.


  3. Great interview! I loved how he could talk specifically and easily about the Constitution, and draw from actual experience fighting for rights and opposing bad UN treaties. Clearly stating his opposition to a Federal role in education makes him unique among the candidates.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so happy to share this blog and the Michael Farris interviews that are presented! In today’s world, the information you provide is a refreshing way to self-educate. Many thanks!


  5. another serious candidate is Trump. He wants things at local level with no common core. Cruz’s proposed bill seems to be a melting together of common core with homeschooling. I do not trust this. Where money goes, is where regulations and control go.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sen Ted Cruz, I like your speech but we will
    To supporting you all the way we needed to
    Fighting for the America and country we will
    Stopping trump not destroy our America
    Why you drop out like that we needed you
    Out there you are good and ideas for the people we will Standing by your side we I like
    Your issues about the bathroom but that closed it all the way you are Christian people all the way


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