Marco Rubio on Education



Why did we stop doing vocational education in America?

Why did we stop doing vocational education in America, people that can work with their hands; people you can train to do this work while they're still in high school so they can graduate ready to go work? What's happening is some of these tech companies are taking centers to Canada because they can get people to go over there instead of here. The ideal scenario is to train Americans to do the work so we don't have to rely on people from abroad.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Common Core will convert from suggestions to mandate

Q [to Bush]: You advocate for Common Core education standards?

BUSH: [Yes, but] I don't believe the federal government should be involved in the creation of standards directly or indirectly, the creation of curriculum or content.

Q: Sen. Rubio, why is Gov. Bush wrong on Common Core?

RUBIO: I too believe in curriculum reform. It is critically important in the 21st Century. And it should happen at the state and local level. That is where educational policy belongs, because if a parent is unhappy with what their child is being taught in school, they can go to that local school board or their state legislature, or their governor and get it changed. Here's the problem with Common Core. The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied. They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate. They will use Common Core or any other requirements that exists nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Too many 4-year college grads; focus on vocational careers

Rubio says that not everyone should be forced to get a four-year degree in order to find a job; there are millions of good-paying jobs out there and we should allow people to have access to skills they need in a cost-effective way. Rubio said at CPAC in February that in the 21st century some of the best jobs require more than high school--traditional high school--but less than four years of college.

"We shouldn't be stigmatizing those vocational careers. We should be graduating more people from high school ready to work as plumbers, electricians, welders, machinists, BMW technicians, you name it. We have too many people graduating with a four-year degree that doesn't lead to jobs. And they owe tens of thousands of dollars. We should tell students if you graduate with a major in Greek philosophy you're going to struggle to find a job because the market for Greek philosophers is tight."

Source: Forbes Magazine "2016 Candidates Want You to Know" series , Apr 13, 2015

Private lenders get percentage of student's income

Rubio discussed several of his economic proposals designed to help lower-income Americans climb out of poverty. Among his ideas is a proposal to allow what he called "private sector investors" to help pay the student loan debt of graduate students. In return, the investor would reap a percentage of the student's income once they earned a job.
Source: Washington Post, "Rubio heckled" , Feb 20, 2015

Professor of political science at Florida International U.

Rubio [teaches a] political-science classes at Florida International University. The classroom is a cocoon from the partisan warfare of Washington. There's no sniping at rivals, Democratic or Republican, and Rubio is as likely to discuss Bill Clinton's accomplishments as those of Ronald Reagan, whom the senator grew up idolizing.

Rubio's lectures reveal a tactical mind that explores "targets of opportunity" for both parties. He discusses demographic slices of the electorate as if they are pieces on the Electoral College chessboard.

Rubio explains the GOP's dilemma like this: "Basically, Barack Obama got eight out of 10 votes from the fastest-growing groups in America. And Mitt Romney got 90 percent of his votes from the group that is diminishing in terms of its overall percentage of the population.

Imagine, he tells his students at one point, that "despite your message, you can't get through [to minority voters] because they're convinced you hate them. That's going to be a problem."

Source: Marc Caputo on 2015 Politico.com: 2016 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 9, 2015

Outdated educational systems must be updated to meet needs

Today's better-paying jobs require higher education or skills training, but we have an outdated, expensive, inaccessible education system that fails to graduate students with skills that prepare them for work. Older students who have to work full-time and raise a family struggle to access a higher education system that wasn't built for them. And a college education has become more expensive than ever.
Source: American Dreams, by Marco Rubio, p. 11 , Jan 13, 2015

The poor benefit most from parental choice in education

Our leaders just want to spend more money on the status quo. This is true in higher education, where instead of creating innovative and affordable higher education programs, the system seeks to shield itself from competition & innovation. It's especially true in secondary and primary education. When Democratic politicians at all levels of government actively oppose strengthening our schools through competition and parental choice, they are hurting the very people they claim to care about the most.
Source: American Dreams, by Marco Rubio, p. 26-27 , Jan 13, 2015

Turn over Head Start to states

Q: Are you saying that Head Start is a failure? I took that from your speech.

RUBIO: Actually, I think programs like Head Start are geared in the right direction in the sense that they're trying to get children educational opportunities as young as possible. I think where those programs can be completed and improved is that we create flexibility in them at the local level. So, I'm not saying we should dismantle the efforts, I'm saying that these efforts need to be reformed and I believe the best way to reform them is to turn the money and the influence over to the state and local level where I think you'll find the kinds of innovations that allow us to confront an issue that is complex, and quite frankly diverse. For example, rural poverty looks different than urban poverty. And there are different approaches to it.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 12, 2014

Give parents chance to send kids to school of their choice

Helping the middle class grow will require an education system that gives people the skills today's jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow's world will require.

We need to incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training. We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.

Source: GOP Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Give info to students on costs & benefits of student loans

Because tuition costs have grown so fast, we need to change the way we pay for higher education. I believe in federal financial aid. I couldn't have gone to college without it. But it's not just about spending more money on these programs; it's also about strengthening and modernizing them.

A 21st century workforce should not be forced to accept 20th century education solutions. Today's students aren't only 18 year olds. They're returning veterans. They're single parents who decide to get the education they need to earn a decent wage. We need student aid that does not discriminate against programs that non-traditional students rely on--like online courses, or degree programs that give you credit for work experience.

When I finished school, I owed over $100,000 in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago. Today, many graduates face massive student debt. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they're taking out.

Source: GOP Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Became serious college student after football injury

My neck had bothered me throughout my freshman football season. The doctor informed me I might be suffering nerve damage.

As a boy, I had dreamed I would one day play in the NFL. But I never really had the size or speed. That dream was over. I accepted who I was and who I wouldn't be. I made a practical, adult decision. I had to transfer to a school that would prepare me to do something important with my life, something other than play football. But I didn't want to move back to Miami-- I would be too distracted there. And given how poorly I had done in my first semester at Tarkio, I couldn't afford any distractions. I wanted to go to the University of Florida, but I didn't have the grades to be admitted there. I heard a couple of kids in the class below me at South Miami High were going to attend Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, and it sounded like a good fit for me. I decided to attend Santa Fe for a year, improve my GPA and apply for admission to Florida the following year

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p. 70-71 , Jun 19, 2012

1999: Pushed for early education for at-risk children

The education pitch was a central element of the campaign, and Rubio argued for change. "30% of children enter Miami-Dade County Schools unprepared to learn," he said. "You do the most important learning the 1st 5 years of your life, but we don't even start school until age 6. We can't wait for the school years to intellectually challenge children. We have to do that in the beginning. I think the most efficient use of our money comes from investing in the front end."
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 93-94 , Jun 19, 2012

Silent on voluntary school prayer

Behind the scenes many Democrats considered Rubio someone with whom they could work. The most skilled politicians understand that their opponents need to perform for their constituents, but they still can be reasonable negotiators behind closed doors. They deliver piercing lines when the audience is present or the video cameras are rolling, but are less strident when the paying patrons have gone home and the klieg lights are dimmed. Rubio earned a reputation as someone who understood this, and it only helped him raise his statue and spread good-will.

Rubio could be careful on controversial issues. Conservative lawmakers tried to engage him on voluntary school prayer and abortion, but "he was nowhere to be found," an influential conservative Florida lawmaker said. "I always thought it was a shame because Marco was obviously the most gifted orator."

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.110 , Jun 19, 2012

Presided over $2.3B cut to Florida public education

One of the key issues preoccupying central and northern Florida lawmakers in those days was school funding. Florida allotted its state funds based on a complicated formula that gave extra money to schools in highly populated areas, including the big South Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Lawmakers from other parts of the state wanted to tweak the formula to divert more money to less populated counties, and they would go on to succeed in making changes that cost the South Florida school systems tens of millions of dollars. While Rubio was speaker--a time when the economy was weakening and he was remaining steadfast against increasing taxes--he presided over a record cut to public education of $2.3 billion, including more than $120 million taken from his home county's school budget.
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.116 , Jun 19, 2012

Supports No-Child-Left-Behind Opportunity Scholarships

Provide Opportunity Scholarships For Students Of Chronically Failing Schools: Under No Child Left Behind, schools that fail to meet Adequate Yearly Progress for 5 years must implement corrective measures, including restructuring or firing the principal and teachers. As an additional consequence for failure, low-income students should be eligible for Opportunity Scholarships to attend another public, charter, private or parochial school, or have access to supplemental online services of their choice.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, marcorubio.com , Nov 22, 2010

Supports No Child Left Behind Opportunity Scholarships

Provide Opportunity Scholarships For Students Of Chronically Failing Schools (NCLB/Title I Funds): Under No Child Left Behind, schools that fail to meet Adequate Yearly Progress for 5 years must implement corrective measures, including restructuring or firing the principal and teachers. As an additional consequence for failure, low-income students should be eligible for Opportunity Scholarships (funded with existing Title I dollars) to attend another public, charter, private or parochial school, or have access to supplemental online services of their choice.
Source: Senate campaign website, www.marcorubio.com, "Issues" , Nov 22, 2010

Voted for more scholarships for private schools

Rubio voted YES on HB7145, Private School Scholarship Program Expansion Act (passed House 84-34):
Source: Florida state legislative voting records , Apr 30, 2007

Incentivize foreign language curriculum in elementary school

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio , Nov 1, 2006

Prepare students for the Global Marketplace

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio , Nov 1, 2006

More options for student and parent choice in education

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio , Nov 1, 2006

Integrate competition principles into education marketplace

Problem: Florida needs to further integrate the principles of freedom, competition, and choice into the education marketplace.

Parental involvement is at the heart of education. Parents know their children best, love them most, and are in the best position to know if a school is successfully teaching their children. Consequently, parents should have the means and ability to influence their children's education.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 36 , Nov 1, 2006

A+ Plan for Education: charters and choice

In 1999, we rocked Florida's K-12 education world by enacting the "A+ plan for education," a bold and revolutionary program based on high standards and expectations, clear measurement and accountability, and rewards and consequences for results. This was only our starting point, and since then we have embarked on the largest effort of all fifty states to implement policies, practices, and finding initiatives to improve classroom reading abilities. We significantly expanded education choice options by way of charter schools, virtual schools, and path-breaking scholarship programs. We have accomplished so much, but there is still more to be done.
Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 8-9 , Nov 1, 2006

2+2 System: AA degree guarantees admission to university

Florida has attempted to control costs and expand access to postsecondary education in many ways. Florida's open admissions policy provides high school students access to the state's community colleges. Florida facilitates the transition of students from secondary to postsecondary education--that is, from high school to a career center or on to a state university.

Florida's 2+2 system promotes our public community colleges as the primary point of entry for an undergraduate education, while the statewide articulation agreement guarantees community college graduates who receive an associate of arts degree admission to a state university. By providing many student with affordable access to an undergraduate education, the 2+2 policy reduces the enrollment pressures on state universities for the first two years of an undergraduate program.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 23-24 , Nov 1, 2006

$4,500 voucher saves state $10,000 in per-student cost

Florida's school choice programs are comprehensive yet simple. Florida stands out partly because some of its choice programs are unique, but mainly because Florida simultaneously offers multiple programs. Each program is relatively pure, in that sense of being designed around a particular, classic vision of school choice. In short, Florida offers a tapestry of school choice programs, and the success of the state's choice initiatives depends on this tapestry approach to coverage.

Vito Fossella (R-NY) introduced a House bill to create a federal tax credit of $4,500 per family to offset the cost of private or parochial school tuition. Florida school districts, meanwhile, receive about $10,000 per student enrolled in a public school. That is why school choice means more money for education without raising the tax burden.

Thus the answer to Florida's education woes is not more spending but smarter spending. Success is not defined by per student spending or classroom size but by learning outcomes.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 37 , Nov 1, 2006

Private partnerships for provision of school services

Private sector efficiency can build schools in a fraction of the time while still ensuring safety and quality. Putting companies that specialize in construction in charge of building schools, rather than school boards that lack the expertise and technica acumen of general contractors, makes sense.

Public-private partnerships could also be extended to the provision of other school services. Privatizing school services such as transportation in numerous states, including Illinois and Alabama, resulted in substantial savings and improves service quality. A 1998 study by Florida's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability found that privatized school transportation could save Florida over $13 million annually. Another are to examine for public-private partnerships is school provision of cafeteria food. In sum, public-private partnerships will enable schools to free up money for other educational uses.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 47 , Nov 1, 2006

Supports less federal & more local control of education.

Rubio supports the F2A survey question on education

Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Less federal and more state / local control of education'

Source: Faith2Action Survey 10-FF-q7 on Sep 19, 2010

Other candidates on Education: Marco Rubio on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Alexander Snitker
Charlie Crist
Rick Scott
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson

FL politicians
FL Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate races Nov. 2016:
AK: Murkowski(R) vs.Begich(D)
AL: Shelby(R) vs.Crumpton(D)
AR: Boozman(R) vs.Eldridge(D) vs.Beebe(D)
AZ: McCain(R) vs.Ward(R) vs.Kirkpatrick(D) vs.Mealer(I)
CA: Sanchez(D) vs.Harris(D) vs.Chavez(R) vs.Del Beccaro(R) vs.Sundheim(R)
CO: Bennet(D) vs.Glenn(R) vs.Neville(R)
CT: Blumenthal(D) vs.Wolf(R) vs.Foley(R)
FL: Jolly(R) vs.DeSantis(R) vs.Cantera(R) vs.Murphy(D) vs.Grayson(D) vs.Keith(D)
GA: Isakson(R) vs.Nunn(D) vs.Barrow(D) vs.Grayson(R) vs.Buckley(L)
HI: Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D)
IA: Grassley(R) vs.Fiegen(D) vs.Hogg(D) vs.Krause(D) vs.Culver(D)
ID: Crapo(R) vs.LaRocco(D) vs.Minnick(D)
IL: Kirk(R) vs.Harris(D) vs.Zopp(D) vs.Duckworth(D)
IN: Stutzman(R) vs.Hill(D) vs.Holcomb(R) vs.Bosma(R) vs.Young(R)
KS: Moran(R) vs.Orman(I) vs.Sebelius(D)
KY: Paul(R) vs.Conway(D) vs.Chandler(D)
LA: Fleming(R) vs.Boustany(R) vs.Maness(R) vs.Kennedy(D) vs.Cao(D) vs.McAllister(R)
MD: Edwards(D) vs.Van Hollen(D) vs.Szeliga(R) vs.Douglas(R) vs.Steele(R)
MO: Blunt(R) vs.Kander(D)
NC: Burr(R) vs.Rey(D) vs.Ross(D) vs.Wright(R) vs.Hagan(D)
ND: Hoeven(R)
NH: Ayotte(R) vs.Shea-Porter(D)
NV: Cortez-Masto(D) vs.Heck(R) vs.Angle(R) vs.Beers(R)
NY: Schumer(D) vs.King(R) vs.Gibson(R)
OH: Portman(R) vs.Strickland(D) vs.Sittenfeld(D)
OK: Lankford(R) vs.Johnson(D)
OR: Wyden(D) vs.Callahan(R)
PA: Toomey(R) vs.Stern(R) vs.Sestak(D) vs.McGinty(D) vs.Fetterman(D)
SC: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D)
SD: Thune(R) vs.Herseth-Sandlin(D)
UT: Lee(R) vs.Swinton(D)
VT: Leahy(D)
WA: Murray(D) vs.Vance(R)
WI: Johnson(R) vs.Feingold(D) vs.Lorge(R)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Other Senators
Senate Votes (analysis)
Bill Sponsorships
Policy Reports
Group Ratings
Search for...

Page last updated: Jan 20, 2016