Michele Bachmann on Education

Republican Representative (MN-6)

Bachmann education stances compared to Sarah Palin

Do Palin and Bachmann both call themselves "feminists"? (No, only Palin does). Do Palin and Bachmann both support school vouchers? (No, only Bachmann does). We cite details from Bachmann's books and speeches, and Palin's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Bachmann vs. Palin on Social Issues

Source: Paperback: Bachmann vs. Palin On The Issues , Jan 1, 2012

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

No Child Left Behind imposes 50 new state mandates

I will admit I was disappointed to see President Bush push through the No Child Left Behind Act, which the president signed into law in early 2002. No Child Left Behind was an updated Goals 2000, imposing new mandates on all 50 states--the same federal government good intentions leading to the same downward educational results. We made progress toward the repeal of the Profile of Learning in our state, and yet in the US as a whole, we were handing local classrooms over to the federal bureaucracy.
Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p.127 , Nov 21, 2011

Kids need rigorous academics, not secular values

In 2000, our state senator supported the Profile of Learning curriculum, brushing aside repeated attempts by parents like me to speak to him about our concerns. We phoned; we wrote letters; we made personal visits. When he would agree to see us, we showed him example after example of faulty curriculum, including the dumbed-down tests and the politically correct guideline documents produced in St. Paul. We told him that parents, teachers, and taxpayers in his district were concerned that our kids needed rigorous academics--not liberal and secular values, attitudes, and beliefs imposed by the state. [Bachmann ran against the senator and won].
Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p. 3 , Nov 21, 2011

Founded New Heights Charter School: rigorous, not religious

In 1993, Marcus and I joined with other motivated neighbors to open the New Heights Charter School; immediately, some 200 students signed up. I served on the board of directors. Our goal was simple: We wanted the best possible education for children in the area, based on sound and proven principles. We wanted rigor. We wanted our kids to gain knowledge, facts, and information. We also wanted a special emphasis on help for kids with troubled backgrounds--and that was a lot of kids, even out in the leafy suburbs.

Unfortunately, within months, we were confronting dissidents and protesters who accused us of trying to advance Christian values in the schools. Yes, we were Christians, but we never sought to impose Christianity on our students. However, some liberal activists seemed to think that the word "rigorous" was somehow code for "religious."

Ultimately, I and other board members stepped down. The school survived, and today, the focus on "at risk kids" remains.

Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p.114-115 , Nov 21, 2011

Charters are creative & constructive step in right direction

In the early nineties, a new idea, charter schools, came onto the scene. Charter schools are a sort of public-private educational hybrid in which the charter school--run, perhaps, by a motivated group of experts, activists, and parents--could contract with the government to run a school independently of the traditional public school system. I have always believed that parents should be able to choose the school that their child attends, just as we are empowered to choose most other things in our lives. Charters were therefore a creative and constructive step in the right direction--toward full autonomy for responsible parents and local communities.
Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p.114 , Nov 21, 2011

Abolishing the Department of Education is a good idea

In 1980, Ronald Reagan campaigned for the presidency on a platform that included abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. Only recently created by President Jimmy Carter as a political favor to the teachers' unions, the department had failed to deliver either better test scores or more rigorous curriculum dedicated to academic excellence. That sounded like a good idea to me, because I have never believed I federal control of the schools. The vast majority of parents can figure out for themselves how to educate their children and how to provide them with good values. And if some parents can't do so, well, there's most likely someone nearby who can step in. That's what I mean by local control and by the wisdom of letting the fifty states--all those separate laboratories of democracy--chart their own courses on education. The challenge of good schooling, I firmly believe, is best addressed as close to the student as possible.
Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p.116 , Nov 21, 2011

Mother of all repeal bills for federal Dept. of Education

Q: What as president would you seriously do about a massive overreach of big government into the classroom?

BACHMANN: We need that to do with education what has always worked historically, and that's local control with parents. What doesn't work is what we see happen right now. I'm a mom five biological kids. We've raised 23 foster children in our home. The reason why I got involved in politics was because of the concern I had about our foster children and the education they were getting. What I would do as president of the United States is pass the mother of all repeal bills on education. I would take the entire federal education law, repeal it. Then I would go over to the Department of Education, I'd turn off the lights, I would lock the door and I would send all the money back to the states and localities.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Founded a charter school for at-risk kids

Q: The rap against you is that you're an activist, not a legislator.

A: Well, I think I've demonstrated a lifetime of achievement and work. Both my husband and I worked our way through school. But we're also entrepreneurs. We started our own successful company, we've created a lot of jobs--plus, I have a very long history of educational reform. That's how I got started. We had 23 foster children. We'd started a charter school for at-risk kids, and I was very concerned what I was seeing in education. So we were able to accomplish something no one thought was possible, which was the repeal of an anti-academic excellence oriented program in Minnesota, and instead created academic excellence. I saw that you really can fight city hall and win, so to speak, and I took that spirit to Washington, D.C. I'm not a part of the good ol' boys club. But that's something I'm proud of. We need really bold reform, but we need someone who gets the private sector.

Source: Interview with NPR's Mara Liasson , Jun 29, 2011

Charter school ran afoul due to Christian teaching

Bachmann's political awakening began with her deep disenchantment with the public school system. She helped found a charter school that briefly ran afoul of the state when some parents contended that its curriculum was infused with Christian teachings, and her first run for office was a failed bid for the local school board. Her career has been deeply interwoven with her evangelical Christian beliefs--opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage were central to her agenda as a state legislator.
Source: Sheryl Gay Stolberg in New York Times , Jun 21, 2011

Voted YES on reauthorizing the DC opportunity scholarship program.

Congressional Summary:The SOAR Act award five-year grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations to carry out an expanded school choice opportunities to students who are District of Columbia residents and who come from households:
  1. receiving assistance under the supplemental nutrition assistance program; or
  2. with incomes not exceeding 185% of the poverty line.
Provides funds to the Mayor of DC, if the Mayor agrees to specified requirements, for:
  1. the DC public schools to improve public education, and
  2. the DC public charter schools to improve and expand quality public charter schools.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Bishop, R-UT]: In 1996, Congress insisted upon a charter school program in DC. You will hear from both sides of the aisle recognition of the great value that that program has, and justifiably so. There is a waiting list in DC for those charter schools. This bill increases the percentage of funding going to charter schools in the District. In 2003, an Opportunity Scholarship was instituted, at the insistence of Congress. Again, there was a waiting list of people wanting the opportunity; disadvantaged kids who wanted the opportunity that this scholarship afforded them. There were 216 kids at the time scheduled to enter the program who were not allowed; the bill remedies that.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Hastings, D-FL]: In the last 41 years voters have rejected private school vouchers every time they have been proposed. In 1981, 89% of the people in a referendum in DC voted against vouchers. So how dare we come here to tell these people that we are going to thrust upon them something they don't want without a single public official in this community being consulted. Congress' oversight of the District is not an excuse for political pandering to the Republicans' special interest of the day du jour.

Reference: Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR); Bill HRes186 ; vote number 11-HV200 on Mar 30, 2011

Voted NO on $40B for green public schools.

Congressional Summary:Make grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, including early learning facilities and charter schools, to make them safe, healthy, high-performing, and technologically up-to-date.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. BETSY MARKEY (D, CO-4): This legislation will improve the learning environment for our children, reduce energy costs and create new jobs across the country. Green schools not only save school districts money but also teach the importance of sustainable living to children at a young age.

Opponent's argument to vote No: Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R, PA-5): We all know our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. The bill we're debating today would add an estimated $40 billion in new spending. And despite the majority's hollow promises of fiscal responsibility, there's nothing in the legislation to offset this hefty price tag with spending reductions elsewhere. This is just more of the same borrow and spend, spend and borrow policy that we've seen under this majority and this administration.

Reference: 21st Century Green Schools Act; Bill H.R.2187 ; vote number 2009-H259 on May 14, 2009

Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Veto override on the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Labor. Original bill passed & was then vetoed by the President.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-1122 on Nov 15, 2007

Other candidates on Education: Michele Bachmann on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
GOP Withdrawals:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: Feb 23, 2012