State of Iowa Archives: on Education


Sam Clovis: FactCheck: Common Core originated with governors, not feds

Fact-Check on Sam Clovis' statement below: The Common Core State Standards originated with the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. While these did not originate in the U.S. Department of Education as Sam suggests, the Department has been highly involved in funding the assessment consortiums (Smarter Balanced and PARCC) and pushing the implementation of these standards through the Race to the Top program and No Child Left Behind waivers.

Clovis said about the Common Core: "One of the most important tenets of a conservative platform is parental local control of education. Unelected national bodies [such as the federal Department of Education] establishing education policy for the entire country is the opposite of local control. Establishing national standards, employing unproven testing, and administering suspicious assessment processes while conducting privacy-invading data mining runs counter to common sense governance and proven conservative principles."

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts FactCheck on 2014 Iowa Senate race Nov 22, 2013

Sam Clovis: Common Core is federal overreach in spending and control

Sam Clovis took on the issue of Common Core ahead of a forum on the perils of one-size-fits-all national education standards. "One of the most important tenets of a conservative platform is parental local control of education. Unelected national bodies establishing education policy for the entire country is the opposite of local control," said Clovis. "These entities pay no price for being wrong yet we are subject to their mandated experiments."

Over 40 states, including Iowa, accepted Common Core standards when the federal government offered grants and No Child Left Behind waivers as part of Obama's Race To The Top stimulus spending. Bevin continued by saying that the outlandish expense alone is reason to oppose this federal overreach in education. "Establishing national standards, employing unproven testing, and administering suspicious assessment processes while conducting privacy-invading data mining runs counter to common sense governance and proven conservative principles."

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts on 2014 Iowa Senate race Nov 22, 2013

Sam Clovis: Repeal No Child Left Behind and the Common Core

The Department of Education is too deeply involved in issues that should be decided at the state & local level. The current Common Core initiative should be struck down immediately and No Child Left Behind should be repealed. These programs have taken teaching out of the hands of teaching professionals and have forced behaviors that are damaging the learning environments in which we place our children. The federal government needs to get out of the education business of state and local jurisdictions.
Source: 2014 Senate campaign website, Iowans4SamClovis.com, "Issues" Nov 11, 2013

Joni Ernst: No federal involvement in Common Core standards

The candidates were asked their thoughts on the Federal involvement in education and the Common Core State Standards. Ernst said that she was not in favor of the standards. "The Federal government should not be involved," Ernst said. "We need to have standards, but we don't need the Common Core."

Whitaker also opposes the Common Core. "The Federal government does not belong in education," Whitaker said. He described the Common Core as a "one-size-fits-all, cram-it-down-your-throat" reform. He said that lawmakers should be focused on school choice instead.

Source: CaffeinatedThoughts blog on 2014 Iowa Senate primary debate Oct 24, 2013

Matthew Whitaker: Common Core is cram-it-down-your-throat reform

The candidates were asked their thoughts on the Federal involvement in education and the Common Core State Standards. Ernst said that she was not in favor of the standards. "The Federal government should not be involved," Ernst said. "We need to have standards, but we don't need the Common Core."

Whitaker also opposes the Common Core. "The Federal government does not belong in education," Whitaker said. He described the Common Core as a "one-size-fits-all, cram-it-down-your-throat" reform. He said that lawmakers should be focused on school choice instead.

Source: CaffeinatedThoughts blog on 2014 Iowa Senate primary debate Oct 24, 2013

Michele Bachmann: Don't censor intelligent design, but it's a state issue

While emphasizing that she didn't have a platform position on teaching evolution --since she believed it wasn't something the federal government and president should be involved in--Bachmann said her religious beliefs informed her scientific views and that sufficient questions have been raised concerning evolution to justify alternative theories to be discussed in science classes.

"I do believe that God created the earth and I believe that there are issues that need to be addressed--the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the issue of irreducible complexity, the dearth of fossil record," she said. "Those are all very real issues that should be addressed in science classes."

Not allowing ideas like intelligent design to be discussed in science classes amounted to government censorship, she said. "I think the one thing we do not want to have is censorship by government," she said. "Government shouldn't be dictating what information goes on the table."

Source: Jason Noble in Des Moines Register, "Early Life in Iowa" Nov 30, 2011

Terry Branstad: One Unshakable Vision: World-Class Schools for Iowa

Young people today must meet higher expectations than ever to succeed in this global economy. For the future of our children and our state, we must transform our good schools into world-class schools. "One Unshakable Vision: World-Class Schools for Iowa," represents a long-term, reform-minded policy direction that builds from Iowa's strengths and adopts whole system improvements with lessons learned from the highest-performing systems in the world.
Source: 2011 Iowa Gubernatorial press release Oct 3, 2011

Herman Cain: No Child Left Behind has unfunded mandates

Q: [to Huntsman]: This week, the Obama administration announced that they would grant waivers to some failing public school systems that couldn't meet the standard of the No Child Left Behind program. If you were president, would you return to full enforcement of this Bush-era law?

HUNTSMAN: No Child Left Behind hasn't worked for this country. It ought to be done away with. We need to take education to the local level, where parents and local elected officials can determine the destiny of these schools. Nobody wants their schools to succeed more than local elected officials and their parents. We need choice. We need vouchers. We need more technology in the classroom.

Q: [to Cain]: Would you return to the full enforcement of NCLB?

CAIN: No. I believe in education starting at the local. No Child Left Behind had some faults. I don't believe in unfunded mandates. I believe that the federal government should be out of the business of trying to micromanage the education of our children.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Jon Huntsman: No Child Left Behind has failed; we need vouchers

Q: [to Huntsman]: This week, the Obama administration announced that they would grant waivers to some failing public school systems that couldn't meet the standard of the No Child Left Behind program. If you were president, would you return to full enforcement of this Bush-era law?

HUNTSMAN: No Child Left Behind hasn't worked for this country. It ought to be done away with. We need to take education to the local level, where parents and local elected officials can determine the destiny of these schools. Nobody wants their schools to succeed more than local elected officials and their parents. We need choice. We need vouchers. We need more technology in the classroom.

Q: [to Cain]: Would you return to the full enforcement of NCLB?

CAIN: No. I believe in education starting at the local. No Child Left Behind had some faults. I don't believe in unfunded mandates. I believe that the federal government should be out of the business of trying to micromanage the education of our children.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Tim Pawlenty: Parents should have educational options, like home schooling

Public education must be improved, but families also deserve better access to˙more options, such as charter schools and home schooling, he said, calling the public school system a government-run, lethargic monopoly.
Source: IowaCauus.com, "Pawlenty in Iowa City" Feb 7, 2011

Roxanne Conlin: Invest in education: fund K-12 & retain teachers

In Iowa, we believe the way to a better life is a good education. We must invest in education. What can the federal government do? Schools across Iowa and the country are facing closings and layoffs. Class sizes are increasing and arts and music classes are being cut. I will assure funding for our K-12 schools, so that we can retain teachers in the classroom and advance our educational opportunities. We need more preschools so that our little ones can start kindergarten ready to learn.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.RoxanneForIowa, "Issues" Jul 20, 2010

Bill Richardson: $60 billion plan to make American education #1 in world

I’ve outlined a $60 billion plan to make American education number one in the world again. One out of two African American and Hispanic youth don’t get through high school and that is a huge tragedy and there has been no improvement. This is what I would do. Preschool for every child under four. You get to kids early. Full day kindergarten. Investments in science and math academies because we are 29th in the world when it comes to science and math. I believe that having a strong art in the school program is going to make us more competitive in science and math. I’d get rid of No Child Left Behind--that is an impediment. And I would also have a minimum wage for our teachers at $40,000 and let me conclude with this: National service. This is what I mean. College loans unaffordable. Rip off artists, banks, student loan companies, here is my plan. Two years in exchange, two years of government loans, the government helps pay for tuition, one year of national service by the student.
Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Joseph Lieberman: Young people need a better public education

Q: What is the most important thing to make a real difference with respect to the abandonment of young people?

A: I’d say education. Let me give you a stunningly painful number, that the average African-American, Hispanic-American student graduating from high school is 4 years behind grade level of the other students. The priority is to fully fund special education; invest in the so-called No Child Left Behind; fully fund it. We need to have a pre-kindergarten program for all of America’s children.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Carol Moseley-Braun: Replace property tax with national payments for schools

Right now the federal government pays for about 6% of the cost of elementary and secondary education. That means that the property tax has to pay for schools. The property-tax base is the worst place to pay for education. It ought to be paid for at the national level. There ought to be more dollars flowing to the state and local governments, to keep these schools open, to rebuild them, to pay for pensions, to make certain that education becomes the kind of universally available right to children.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

Howard Dean: Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” is an unfunded mandate

Don’t vote for unfunded mandates like No Child Left Behind, which make is impossible to explain to the American people that those kind of unfunded mandates are wrong. They drive up your property taxes. What we need is full funding of mandates like special education. So stop strangling our cities and towns.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

Al Gore: Increase public school aid by 50% instead of vouchers

Q: How would you improve the quality of inner city public schools without vouchers?
A: No child in this country should be trapped in a failing school. Bringing about revolutionary improvements in our public schools has to be the number one priority for investment in the future. I never supported vouchers... because they would drain money away from our public schools at a time when we ought to be increasing the federal investment in public schools and I propose to increase it by more than 50%.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

Bill Bradley: “Lifetime education” from birth to every life stage

I view education as not just simply K through 12, I view it as beginning at birth, extending through every life stage and for everybody. And that means early child care and 400,000 more slots for Head Start, getting kids ready to learn. In elementary and secondary school, that means making sure there are qualified great teachers in every classroom. I’ve offered a proposal that would put 600,000 qualified great teachers in public schools in urban areas and in rural areas of this country.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

Bill Bradley: Voted for voucher experiments; now focus on public schools

GORE [to Bradley]: Senator Bradley voted for vouchers every single time they came up for 18 years in the Senate. I’m glad that he says he’s opposed to them now and that was a mistake, but when he talks about them, I still get the feeling he’s a little intrigued by them. I think that they represent a mistake because they would drain money away from our public schools at a time when we ought to be increasing the federal investment in public schools.

BRADLEY: I don’t think vouchers are the answer to the problems of public education. I’ve said that over and over in the course of the campaign. I voted for experiments. Those experiments were tried to help kids that are caught in dead schools have a chance. No experiments ever took place and so now I think what we need to do is we need to focus on how we improve education in this country. I’ve offered a proposal that would put 600,000 qualified great teachers in public schools in urban areas and in rural areas of this country.

Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

Alan Keyes: Replace the Department of Education with parental control

Q: How much power should the federal government have over state education?
A: We [must] put the control of our educational system back in the hands of our parents. We have to overcome the arguments that those parents don’t have the responsibility, the concern, the love, the capacity to do the right thing. [I] would abolish the Department of Education and make it clear that it is primarily the leadership of the parents, not any level of government, that we have to rely on in this society.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Gary Bauer: Allow Ten Commandments in schools & disallow Nazi salutes

The Columbine High School killers were giving each other the Nazi salute [every day]. Nobody said anything to them. But if a teacher at Columbine had hung up the Ten Commandments in her classroom, she would have been told take them down or lose your job. We’ve got things upside down in this country. When I’m president they’ll be no more Nazi salutes in the schools. And it’ll be OK to hang the Ten Commandments up again, not only there, but in the Oval Office.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Gary Bauer: Vouchers and local control will save our schools

Q: How much power do you think the federal government should have over state education? A: Washington DC is the problem, it’s not the answer.. I will block grant the money. It was $17 billion then; it’s $38 billion now. Only one dollar out of four gets to the classroom, to the pupils and to the teachers. I support vouchers, credits for all forms of education, including home schoolers. We can get the bureaucracy out of the way and begin to have some real good things happen in the classroom again.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

George W. Bush: Expand character education via federal funding

Our schools ought to expand character education. The federal government [should] encourage school districts through joint venture money to have character education that teaches children right from wrong, good from bad, basic values of life. Our after school programs ought to be open to faith-based programs, programs that will say to our children, we care for you a lot, but in order to access the American dream there are right decisions to make in life and there are wrong decisions to make in life.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

George W. Bush: Local control and accountability will prevent failure

Q: How much power should the federal government have over state education? A: It starts with trusting local people to make the right decisions for their schools. I strongly believe in local control of schools; I’ll work with the Congress to pass power back from Washington in block grant form to states. But when the federal government spends money, I’m going to ask this question: What are the results? We must ask school districts and states that accept federal money to develop an accountability system.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

John McCain: Use sugar, oil, and ethanol subsidies to finance vouchers

Q: How much power should the federal government have over state education? A: Choice & competition are the key to the future of education in America. Students in America rank at the bottom in the most disciplines such as physics & chemistry. We should try charter schools all over America. I would take the gas and oil, ethanol and sugar subsidies and take that money and put it into a test voucher program over three years to be used in every poor school district in every state in America.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Steve Forbes: Federal involvement creates the crisis in our schools

Q: How much power do you think the federal government should have over state education? A: The more the federal government is involved in education, the greater an education crisis we will have. The key to education renaissance is to put parents-not politics-in charge of our schools. I’ll take that money from the education department, earmark it, block grant it back to states and municipalities with the provision that parents have true choice in picking their schools.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Steve Forbes: Choice in education makes us more moral & more educated

I support true parental control of education. If you want to send your child to a parochial school, you should have the freedom to do so & the government should not stand in your way. If you want to homeschool your child, you should be free to do so & not have the whole bureaucracy on your backs with truancy. If you want your child in a secular school, go ahead. Freedom of choice for parents is absolutely critical. Then we’ll have a more moral people, a better educated people, and a stronger America.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Al Gore: “Revolutionary plan”: 50% more for public schools

He’s the only Democratic candidate to make education a priority. Al Gore. A revolutionary plan to improve our public schools by increasing our commitment to education by over 50 percent. Universal pre-school. Smaller class sizes. Higher standards. Teacher training. Modernize schools and connect every classroom to the Internet.
Source: Television advertisement in NH & Iowa Jan 13, 2000

Bill Bradley: Education excellence begins with 60,000 great new teachers

I graduated from Crystal City High School in 1961. Then, as now, it was the public high school in that Missouri town. I was lucky to have some terrific teachers back then. But today we need teachers to teach skills we never heard of in 1961. And that’s why I’ve proposed training and placing 60,000 new teachers a year for the next 10 years. Because real excellence in public education begins with great teachers in the classroom.
Source: Television advertisement in NH & Iowa Jan 13, 2000

Bill Bradley: Major investment in education related to people’s lives

We need a major investment in early education and early child care. I would get kids ready to learn by doubling the slots in Head Start. I would then propose adding 600,000 great new teachers to the public schools of this country over the next decade. You can look at education in terms of where people live their lives -- and that’s the way I look at it -- or you can look at it as if it’s some bureaucratic box that says “education” that’s unrelated to everything else we do in our lives.
Source: Democrat Debate in Johnston Iowa Jan 8, 2000

Alan Keyes: Violence in schools due to loss of moral heritage

Q: How would you interrupt this culture of violence? A: The first thing we have to do is restore this country’s allegiance to its basic moral principles. We express great shock and outrage that we are bloodying the hallways of our schools with the blood of our children. What about the blood of our children killed in the womb on the basis of a doctrine that completely rejects the basic principles on which this nation was founded? If our rights come from God, then we ought to shape our children’s consciences in the fear of God. And I think that what we’re seeing in our schools is the direct result of our failure to respect that heritage and to pass it on.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

Gary Bauer: Present both evolution & creationism and let students decide

Q: Do you agree that creationism is a science and evolution is a theory and they ought to be taught equitably? A: I agree that the majority of the American people believe that God had a hand in the creation of life on earth. Evolution is a theory; yet it’s taught in our schools as if it cannot be questioned. The American people want their children exposed to both of those ideas. That’s what an education ought to be about: presenting to young people a variety of choices and let them make the decision.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

Al Gore: $10,000 for joining 21st Century Teachers Corps

Today, I propose the creation of a new 21st Century Teachers Corps - open to talented young people across the country. Under this plan, if you agree to spend four years teaching in a school that needs your help - and if you pass a rigorous exam before you set foot in the classroom - we’ll give you up to $10,000 to pay for college. And for those willing to switch careers for teaching, we’ll give you a $10,000 bonus and pay for the training you need to get into the classroom.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Al Gore: Smaller classrooms with “schools within schools”

We should provide incentives to create smaller high schools. And for those that have already gotten too big, let’s break them down by creating smaller “schools within schools.” Classes are also way too big. We should begin with a national commitment to reduce class size to an average of 18 students in the early grades - and then aim at average class sizes of twenty students or less across all grades. This will give all our students the individual attention they need to succeed.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Al Gore: National Tuition Savings program to send kids to college

I propose a National Tuition Savings program [which] let families invest their money in special accounts, which grow tax-free. We should allow each parent’s savings to be used in any participating state, and use incentives to encourage states that do not have the programs to create them. Under this plan, if you make small, regular contributions to the program after your child’s birth, you’ll be able to afford college tuition - with protection from taxes, inflation, and rising college costs.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Al Gore: Test teachers; remove failing tenured teachers

Every new teacher should pass a rigorous test before they set foot in the classroom-a test that measures their knowledge of the subject they will teach. The granting of a teaching license should be followed by rigorous performance evaluations. And every 5 years, those evaluations should be used to determine whether a license is renewed. No teaching license should be a lifetime job guarantee. I urge faster but fair ways to identify, improve-and when necessary-remove low-performing teachers.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Al Gore: More public school choice - but not private

Parents should have more choice in their children’s public schools - especially those whose children are stuck in low-performing schools. We need more public school choice, and more competition - to apply the pressure that will improve all schools. And of course we must reject the false promise of siphoning public school funding away to private schools. That would only make things much worse.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Al Gore: Shut failing schools; then re-open & turn them around

Every state and every school district should be required to identify failing schools, and work to turn them around - with strict accountability for results, and strong incentives for success. And if these failing schools don’t improve quickly, they should be shut down fairly and fast, and when needed, reopened under a new principal with a full peer evaluation of every teacher, intensive training for those who need it, and fair ways to improve or remove low-performing teachers.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Elizabeth Dole: Restore quality and parental involvement

We must choose education over social engineering.We must teach our children again the basics of math and reading and citizenship. How appalling that one in four high school seniors in the great United States of America is considered functionally illiterate! We must return discipline and parental involvement to every school. In those areas --especially in low income areas -- where schools have failed completely, parents must be given other choices.
Source: Speech at Iowa State University, 2/15/99 Feb 15, 1999

Bob Smith: GOAL 2000: Shut down Department of Education

I call my plan “GOAL 2000”. That’s one goal: shut down the Department of Education by the year 2000. Fire the bureaucrats, auction off the building and close the doors. Give the money back to the tax payers.
Source: Speech to Iowa GOP Convention Jun 12, 1998

  • The above quotations are from State of Iowa Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Education.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Education:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014