EXCLUSIVE: Mike Farris and Ben Carson chat homeschooling

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Farris and Ben Carson chat homeschooling | HSLDA Blog

Ben Carson

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 third interview in our series of conversations with presidential candidates, HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris spoke with retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson to discuss homeschooling and current homeschool-related legislative issues.

HSLDA’s interview with Dr. Ben Carson covered some of the most important issues related to homeschooling and parental rights including faith, mandatory vaccinations, Common Core, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the federal government’s role in education.


Faith in Christ is central to Dr. Carson’s life.

“It’s a central part of who I am—godly principles, loving your fellow man, caring about your neighbor, developing your talents to the utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you, having values and principles that guide your life. That’s something that will be with me no matter what position I have.

Homeschooling is best for education.

“I think that the government obviously needs to monitor the education of the populace, because our Founders said that our system and our freedom is based upon a well-informed and educated populace. And if we ever become anything other than that, the nature of the country will change. So clearly we want to make sure it’s happening.

But in terms of dictating how it is done, I think that’s where the problem comes in. And that’s why I have a problem with Common Core. My slogan is ‘Common Core—out the door.’ And in fact, what we really need is more local control. The closer education is to home, it seems, the better it is. Homeschoolers do extremely well, and then private schoolers, and then charter schoolers, and then lastly public schoolers. Which means we need to make an attempt to provide school choice for people. And maybe that’s where the government can have a role by taking all the federal monies and agencies and shifting them to a state and local level—which is where you’re going to get, I think, much more bang for the buck.”

The number of vaccines is concerning.

“I believe that there are some vaccinations that are absolutely critical. You know, we’ve largely wiped out polio, smallpox, things like that—because of vaccinations. To allow those things to come back would be absolutely absurd.

But it’s the number of vaccinations that I’ve been somewhat concerned with—not the concept of vaccination. And there’s some that are not absolutely critical. If you don’t work, for instance, in a medical facility, you don’t need to get all those hepatitis shots; I don’t think you do. I know some people think you do, but I don’t. And I think there’s some things that should be left to discretion, but we should always keep public safety in mind.

And I think it’s important to dispel some of the myths that exist. There’s absolutely no correlation with shots and autism. What has happened is that we’ve gotten much better at diagnosing autism and the various types of autism. And therefore, if we thought eating carrots cause autism, we would say there’s an increase in autism because people are eating carrots. But it wouldn’t be because of eating carrots; it would be because we’ve gotten so much better at diagnosing.”

We don’t need the UN to tell us what to do.

“Well, the problem is that on the surface, [domestic UN treaties] look wonderful. The problem is they put people in this country under the jurisdiction of other people outside this country. I totally disagree with that concept. That’s the problem. We have our own laws for dealing with the disabled and with children. We don’t need the UN to tell us what to do.”

It is important to note that although we have been releasing regular blog posts about where the candidates stand on noteworthy homeschool-related issues, HSLDA is not endorsing any candidate in the 2016 presidential primary.

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. In addition to our interview with Dr. Carson, we have also had the opportunity to talk about homeschooling with Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. You can find the audio of our conversation with Rubio here and with Cruz here.

We hope to hear from more of these candidates soon—so stay tuned!

—Andrew Mullins

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