Common Core

Rand Paul Opposes Common Core, Unlike Some Other Presidential Hopefuls


Rand Paul
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was quick to remind Republican voters last week that he is against the Common Core national education standards and always has been. Not all Republican presidential aspirants—cough cough, Jeb Bush—can say the same.

According to

If there's a Republican candidate out there—let's just say there's a hypothetical one that's for Common Core. I'm saying that that hypothetical candidate that's for Common Core probably doesn't have much chance of winning in a Republican primary," the Kentucky Republican told

His comments, published Monday, come from an interview last week while Paul was in North Carolina campaigning for Senate hopeful Thom Tillis and Rep. Walter Jones.

Paul didn't mention Bush or any other potential 2016 candidate by name, but the former Florida governor has been a vocal backer of Common Core, a set of national education standards for English and math.

Paul has previously weighed in on his disdain for the program, saying in August that he believes education standards "should be developed locally" and reiterating his wish to eliminate the Department of Education.

"The kids are tested to death, I think, and not necessarily any smarter," he said at a Republican event in Urbandale, Iowa. "Is testing good? Yes, but I would let local people figure that out."

Among possible Republican presidential candidates, Paul is in excellent shape to translate anti-Common Core sentiment into an advantage. Some other potential contenders—like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal—are recent converts to the anti-Common Core cause, and still others—like Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—remain steadfast supporters of the standardization effort.

While Common Core draws heavy support from moderate Republican governors, it is toxic to the conservative base. Intriguingly, it's unpopular among some left-leaning groups—as well as many parents and teachers—giving the anti-standardization movement some bipartisan cred. These factors should bode well for an anti-Common Core candidate in 2016, and Rand Paul is well-suited to be that guy.

More from Reason on Common Core here.

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  1. With all of the issues on which he could appeal to a broad array of voters, it’s a shame that Rand will never get the nomination.

    1. I think he’ll do quite well in the primary if he can tread carefully on immigration and sell his foreign policy vision.

      But unfortunately that might be an uphill battle if Obama continues to foul up overseas, turning the GOP primary into a dick-measuring contest over who would have the biggest stones as a leader.

      1. Nuanced positions don’t sell well because the general public doesn’t give a shit; whoever’s more of a TEAM player will get the nod.

    2. I think Rand Paul could triangulate easily by saying “I believe in standards. I just don’t think the Federal Government should be choosing those standards. There are hundreds of think tanks, NGOs and educational experts out there. They don’t need to be government employees.”

      All over the private sector, there are working groups that set standards and test against them. They do it without the government mandating it. They do it because it has value.

    3. I don’t know his competition sucks. A Rand nomination might be realistic

  2. Common Core, a set of national education standards for English and math.

    is Common Core a set of standards or a product for sale?

    1. yes

  3. How about all the Common Core supporting pols take the standardized tests and publish the results?

    1. Or an IQ test, or wonderlic(sp?) Whatever one you pick, I just want idiot pols to be shamed in an objective, irrefutable way.

      1. I have long thought that their IQ score should be on the ballot next to the name.

        1. Problem is, aren’t there already a ton of elitists with high IQ’s in office? How does your IQ determine how good of a politician you are going to be? If there was an empirical way to measure common sense, then I might be on board.

  4. Twist the knife, Rand Paul!

  5. There’s no point in touting useless things like “facts;” Rand’s character will be assassinated and he won’t get to run anyways.

  6. This is obviously a rhetorical question, but why/how does anybody take Christie seriously as a candidate? Unless he’s running as a Democrat, that is.

    1. Uh, have you seen the past 2 candidates?

      Christie is about par for the course.

      1. Uh, have you seen the past 2 candidates?

        Not lately, did Christie eat them?

        1. Valid question. Christie might shit Romney out long enough to run again though.

        2. “Why does Christie, the largest candidate, not simply eat the others?”

          1. But would Christie really eat Santorum?

            1. ew!

            2. Yes, but only in Popsicle form.

        3. Eat them?

          Talk about taking your life in your hands – who knows where they’ve been?

          [And when we DO know, well – ‘Do not want!’]

    2. but why/how does anybody take Christie seriously as a candidate?

      I think the reason he gets so much GOP support is that he has gone into a Blue state, flipped over the tables, punched their people in the face, and walked out with his head held high.

      For some people, defeating the enemy (Democrats) is the most important objective. This is why Compassionate Conservatism brought us NCLB and Medicare Part B. 30 years ago, the question was “Why is the federal government involved in local education”. Put in 2000, the question was “How can it be US that does it, rather than those Democrats”.

  7. COMMON CORE seems to well meaning educators a good thing for America. After all, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) places the United States behind 20 other nations in academic performance — why not allow our behemoth federal bureaucracy to control the curriculum in our schools?…..overlords/

    All joking aside, beyond the abysmal track record of the Obama administration at accomplishing anything at all, there is a much more ominous concern — the very content of our society.

    Our children and what they believe is the future of America.

    That’s right, win the minds win the war, history is written by the victors, INGSOC, INGSOC, INGSOC, the whole nine yards. We cannot trust the Obama administration to educate our children, or any other central administration, nor should we try. The very idea of central education is defective to the core.

    CENTRAL EDUCATION concentrates too much power in the hands of too few who would undoubtedly yield to too much temptation. The temptation to make political correctness the legacy of our land.

    To anyone with an unbiased rudimentary knowledge of world history and political science, the perils of central education is as clear as MARX, HITLER, AND STALIN.

  8. Sorry 🙂

    “To anyone with an unbiased rudimentary knowledge of world history and political science, the perils of central education ARE as clear as MARX, HITLER, AND STALIN.”

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