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Gary Johnson on Education

Libertarian presidential nominee; former Republican NM Governor


Public education system needs major reform

The public education system needs major reform. In order to improve schools, we have to measure and grade schools. And the purpose here isn't to denounce the schools but to say, "Here's where we're at. What do we need to do to get better next year?"

We need to compare one school to another when it comes to test scores in the various categories. We also need to be able to look at one school from one year to the next, and have the results put out in a format that is easy to read and easy to understand

Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 95 , Aug 1, 2012

Vouchers OK for church childcare & church schools

I've got news for anybody who criticizes vouchers as being unconstitutional or says that government can't be spending money on religious institutions. In essence, we have a voucher system for child care. For those mothers who are on welfare, we give them what in essence is a voucher which allows them to choose where to send their children to child care, and in many cases that child care is religious. That's a state-funded program. We don't call it a "voucher" but we might as well.
Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 96-97 , Aug 1, 2012

$3,500 voucher for every K-12 student

I proposed that every K-12 student in the state of NM, all 300,000 of them, get a $3,500 voucher to attend whatever school the family wanted.

I realized that many people believed vouchers take money away from the public school system. But my plan would have increased the per capita funding for kids who remained in public schools because we were actually spending about $5,500/child--so each public school district would get an extra $2,000 for each student who opted out.

I used this example to explain: If every student in Santa Fe were to opt out of public schools, which would never happen, Santa Fe public schools would be left with about 40% of their budget and no students. Tell me how that takes away from public education.

I believe that we should treat K-12 education more like higher education. The reason higher education in the US is the best in the world is because these institutions compete with each other for tuition dollars. We need that same competition in public education.

Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 68-69 , Aug 1, 2012

Vouchers are as constitutional as pre-school and day-care

The argument that vouchers favor the rich is absurd. People with money live in good neighborhoods that have good schools. Vouchers are for the poor, for those that don't have money, who live in the worst neighborhoods, go to the worst schools, and can't get away from them.

The argument that vouchers are unconstitutional because you're giving money to private schools is bogus. If you want to start calling vouchers unconstitutional, then every single state has got a lot of unconstitutional programs. We give low-income parents money so they can take their pre-school children to day-care centers of their choice. Many are church-affiliated. We don't tell them where they have to take their child.

This is not about getting rid of or weakening public education, it's about providing alternatives that will force public schools to react very quickly. Public schools will get better if they have to compete.

Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 69 , Aug 1, 2012

Competition would make our schools better

A poll came back on the issue of school vouchers that said we shouldn't use the term "voucher," that we should use "choice" or "opportunity scholarship" instead. But we were talking about vouchers!.

I didn't want to try to circumvent or dilute the issue. Instead, we took it to every part of the state, to the teachers' convention, to the parents, and made our case that, with so much money pouring into our schools, we had little to show for it. Competition would make our schools better.

When I sought re-election, my opponent thought the school voucher issue would be the death of me. I wasn't.

Business is about "Best product, best service, lowest price." If you can combine all three of those elements, then you're successful. Period.

I see vouchers as a way of bringing those three business elements into education: Best product, best service, lowest price.

Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 93-95 , Aug 1, 2012

I support evolution; but no federal involvement

Q: Do you support the theory of Evolution?

A: Yes.

Q: Should we limit federal funds to public schools that do not meet performance standards?

A: No, the federal government should not be involved in education.

Source: Presidential comparison website www.iSideWith.com , May 16, 2012

No student loans; they cause higher tuition

Q: How would your plans for education include student loans and grants?

A: My plans don't include doing anything when it comes to student loans. The reason for the higher cost in higher education rests with the fact that there are those student loans available. Because those loans are guaranteed, kids are graduating from college, literally strapped with [the equivalent of] a home mortgage. I'm a believer in free markets. I suggest that if student loans did not exist--and I am not advocating that--tuition would be a lot lower because colleges and universities want to deliver their product, and if there weren't as many kids going to school because it costs too much, they would find ways to lower their price. They haven't met that necessity; they don't see that as a necessity because all students can get student loans. Hence the high cost of college education, where you see the costs of other goods and services dropping.

Source: Online Town Hall - Web Q&A on UncensoredTV.net , Nov 2, 2011

Education Dept. takes 16 cents for every 11 cents it gives

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

JOHNSON: I'm promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. That's a 43% reduction in federal spending. I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education. The federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what America does not understand is that it's a negative to take federal money. Give it to 50 laboratories of innovation, the states, to improve on, and that's what we'll see: dramatic improvement.

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

Abolish Departments of Education and HUD

Q: Which programs will you terminate?

A: There are currently two that I advocate abolishing: the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Q: Do you favor a balanced budget amendment?

A: I do--but the problem is that passing balanced budgets for future years is what we do and it takes away the immediate problem and kicks it down the road.

Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on scottholleran.com blog , Aug 21, 2011

Give every student in New Mexico vouchers worth $3,500

Governor Johnson proposed giving every student in the entire state of New Mexico vouchers worth $3,500. He once compared the program to child-care vouchers, saying "For those mothers who are on welfare, we give them what in essence is a voucher which allows them to choose where to send their children to child care, and in many cases that child care is religious. That's a state-funded program. We don't call it a voucher but it might just as well be called a voucher." He wants universal school choice.
Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #9: Johnson , Jul 21, 2011

Put educational funds in the hands of the people who use it

American education is at a crossroads. We can either choose to continue down the path of higher costs, poorer results, and top-down thinking, or challenge the status quo by using what actually works rather than what we wish would work. The problem is public education in America is now doing less with more. This is unsustainable for our pocketbooks and, most importantly, unfair to our children.

Now, imagine an educational system that not only educates students better, but also does it for less money every year. It would give each American child the opportunity to choose an individualized education to realize his or her dreams.

All parents should have an opportunity to know choose which school their children attend. By putting educational funds in the hands of the people who use it gives parents and students a vote as to which schools are best and which need to improve. It's time to free individuals from burdensome federal mandates so they can pursue the right educational strategies.

Source: Presidential campaign website, garyjohnson2012.com, "Issues" , May 2, 2011

End the Department of Education

Although it may sound drastic, there are practical reasons why we should consider ending the Department of Education.

The Department of Education grants each state 11 cents out of every dollar it spends on education. Unfortunately, every dollar of this money comes with 16 cents of strings attached. States that accept federal funding lose five cents for every dollar spent on education to pay for federal mandates and regulations, taking millions of dollars out of the classroom.

Schools should have the authority to decide how best to spend educational dollars, not those in Washington. Without federal regulations and mandates, schools could choose to purchase new computers, better lab equipment, and maintain after-school sports and music programs even during times of tight budgets.

Once citizens and their local representatives have the freedom to decide how their educational funds will be spent, they can consider innovations that will drive student choice, educational competition, and better results

Source: Presidential campaign website, garyjohnson2012.com, "Issues" , May 2, 2011

No student loans; they cause higher tuition

Q: How would your plans for education include student loans and grants?

A: My plans don't include doing anything when it comes to student loans. The reason for the higher cost in higher education rests with the fact that there are those student loans available. Because those loans are guaranteed, kids are graduating from college, literally strapped with [the equivalent of] a home mortgage. I'm a believer in free markets. I suggest that if student loans did not exist--and I am not advocating that-- tuition would be a lot lower because colleges and universities want to deliver their product, and if there weren't as many kids going to school because it costs too much, they would find ways to lower their price. They haven't met that necessity; they don't see that as a necessity because all students can get student loans. Hence the high cost of college education, where you see the costs of other goods and services dropping.

Source: Online Town Hall Q&A on UncensoredTV.net , Feb 11, 2011

Other governors on Education: Gary Johnson on other issues:
NM Gubernatorial:
Susana Martinez
NM Senatorial:
Allen Weh
David Clements
John Sanchez
Martin Heinrich
Tom Udall

Election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie (won)
NJ-D: Barbara Buono (lost)
VA-R: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli (lost)
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe (won)

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Solis(D) vs.Villaraigosa(D)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D)
HI: Abercrombie(D) vs.Djou(R)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hoefling(R) vs.Culver(D)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D) vs.Baker(R)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Boren(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Schwartz(D) vs.Critz(D) vs.Wolf(D)
Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Local Issues
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry


Contact info:
Campaign website:
www.garyjohnson2012.com
Mailing Address:
731 E South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT, 84110
Phone:
801-303-7922
Press Inquiries:
media@garyjohnson2012.com,
Web contact in lieu of EMail

Page last updated: Mar 24, 2014