Rick Perry on Education

Republican Governor (TX)


Too many black students are trapped in failing schools

Why is it, today, so many black families feel left behind? As Americans, I think we are all united by certain aspirations. We want access to opportunity. We want good schools for our kids. We want to live in safe neighborhoods. We want to live in cities and states where housing and college and everyday expenses are affordable. We want to all experience the American dream.

In too many parts of this country, black students are trapped in failing schools, where union bosses look out after themselves at the expense of the kids. And this matters, because kids who graduate from high school typically make 50 percent more than those who don't. In Texas, we made sure that the kids came first. Texas high school graduation rates were 27th in the nation in 2002. In 2013, they were the 2nd highest in America. Our most recent graduation rate for African-Americans, number one in this country, 13 percentage points higher than the national average. That matters.

Source: Perry speech at National Press Club , Jul 2, 2015

Get rid of the federal Department of Education

Source: Fordham Institute EduWatch 2016 by Brandon White , Jun 8, 2015

We implemented $10,000 degrees at 13 Texas universities

On college affordability: "We have to make sure that college is accessible and affordable. Two years ago, I called upon our institutions of higher learning to develop plans for degrees that cost no more than $10,000. There were plenty of detractors at that time who insisted it couldn't be done. However, that call inspired educators at colleges and universities across our state to step up to the plate. Today, I'm proud to tell you that 13 Texas universities have announced plans for a $10,000 degree."
Source: Fordham Institute EduWatch 2016 by Brandon White , Jun 8, 2015

Supported homeschooling; and scholarships for choice

Perry has a long record of speaking out on education issues, including banning Common Core curriculum standards in Texas. As governor he promoted homeschooling as well as lifting the cap on charter schools. As a presidential contender in 2012, he supported the elimination of the Department of Education.

On homeschooling, Perry said on the Glenn Beck Radio Program in March 2013: "There's something special about a parent who is willing to give up a lot of time to homeschool their children. It's just, to me, one of the greatest displays of love in our country."

On school choice, Perry said in the Texas State of the State address in January 2013, "Not every child learns for the same purpose, not every child thrives in the same settings and schools. Limiting a child to just one opportunity does nothing more than limit that child's future. It's time to introduce scholarship programs that give students a choice, especially those who are locked into low-performing schools."

Source: Forbes Magazine "2016 Candidates Want You to Know" series , Jun 4, 2015

Supported Texas dropping out of Common Core

Where Rick Perry stands on key issues: Opposed to federal involvement in education policy, Perry would close the Department of Education. He has strongly criticized the Common Core education standards, supporting his state education system's decision to drop out of the interstate group overseeing the program. As Texas governor, the conservative lawmaker chose not to apply for millions in the federal Race to the Top program because he believed it would impose too many federal mandates on his state. In his 2010 book, "Fed Up!" he criticized the No Child Left Behind program. In an official press release as governor, Perry indicated he was grateful for the funding increase that came from the program.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 3, 2015

Promote school choice all across this country

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

JOHNSON: I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

PAUL: If you care about your children, you'll get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids.

PERRY: There are a lot of good ideas here on cutting back on the Department of Education. I happen to believe we ought to be promoting school choice all across this country. The voucher system, charter schools all across this country. But there is one person on this stage that is for Obama's Race to the Top and that is Governor Romney. He said so just this last week. And I think that is an important difference between the rest of the people on this stage and one person that wants to run for the presidency. Being in favor of the Obama Race to the Top and that is not conservative.

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

We reduced school spending in TX and raised graduation rates

Q: Your state ranks among the worst in the country in high school graduation rates, yet you recently signed a budget cut for millions in education funding. You pushed for greater cuts than were in the budget that the legislature passed. You've said that education is a top priority, but explain cutting it the way you did, please?

PERRY: Well, I think the reductions that we made were thoughtful reductions, and the fact of the matter is, Texas has made great progress in the 10 years that I've been governor, from the standpoint of our graduation rates now are up to 84%, higher than they've been during any period of time before that. We're making progress. When you share the border with Mexico, and when you have as many individuals that we have coming into the state of Texas, we have a unique situation in our state. But the fact is, I stand by a record from what we've done with the resources that we've had, and I think that the reductions that we put in place were absorbed by our schools.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Choose from mix of public, charter & private schools

In 2026, I picture a nation filled with diverse people bound together by a commitment to liberty and a devotion to working hard to give their children a better life than their parents gave them.

I see a people who can pray in their schools as they wish and towns across America that can publicly celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or nothing at all.

I see an education system that is the envy of the world, controlled by parents and the people according to the beliefs of the communities in which they live. I see an energetic mix of public, charter, and private schools, delivering options so people can choose what is best for their children, rather than getting stuck because a too-powerful teachers' union or government bureaucrat tells them how they must learn. The result is an important balance of academic excellence, local values, and a firm understanding of our nation's core founding principles--all of which will carry our nation forward with new generations of American achievement.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.170-172 , Nov 15, 2010

OpEd: School choice laudable at local level but not federal

Federal intrusion got markedly worse in 2001, with No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The bill represented the bipartisan doubling down of federal involvement in the education of our children.

Do you think there would have been significant Republican opposition? Nope. In the House, Republicans voted 185-34 in favor of NCLB, while in the Senate the vote among Republicans was 43-6. Unfortunately, this willingness to turn power over to Washington was driven in significant part by the desire to further expand federal faith-based initiatives and to provide for the increased possibility of school choice. This is a perfect example of Republicans losing sight of the fact that perfectly laudable policy choices at the local level are nor appropriate (much less constitutional) at the federal level. This is not consistent with a belief in a limited federal government of enumerated powers. Worse, the Department of Education is now unfettered in its ability to interfere in the affairs of local government.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 86-87 , Nov 15, 2010

Public prayer is not establishing a religion

The Court turned 175 years of American history on its head when in 1962 it ended state-sponsored school prayer in New York and in 1963 ended the reading of the Lord's Prayer and Bible verses in schools in Pennsylvania. By 1992, the Court had extended these restrictions to moments of silence and to prayer at public graduations ceremonies. You see, public prayer is deemed part of the "establishment" of religion, and thus, both principles of federalism and the right to free exercise of religion are ignored and trampled on. Someone should mention something about the travesty of public prayer to the Congress, whose chaplain leads the Senate and the House in prayer at the opening of every session.
Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.102-103 , Nov 15, 2010

Turned down $700M in federal aid due to strings attached

I was faced with a choice, where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't, in 2010 when it came to additional education funding. Up to $700 million in additional federal stimulus money was this time being offered to states through the Department of Education's $5 billion Race-to-the-Top program. I turned down the money because under the program, we would have been required to adopt national standards and doing so would have further inserted Washington into the Texas classroom. And more than that it would have cost us some $3 billion to change all our materials to comply with the Washington standards.

Ultimately, the decision was easy for two reasons. First, the Texas school system is performing well, with leading standards, and innovative charter schools. Second, the money we turned down was about $75 per student. It is frustrating when we are put in this position, but at some point we have to start telling Washington that we've had enough of the strings they attach.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.166 , Nov 15, 2010

No "Race to the Top" funding; too many strings attached

Perry today announced that Texas will not submit an application for federal Race to the Top education funds. Despite tremendous education successes, Texas' application would be penalized by the US Department of Education for refusing to commit to adopt national curriculum standards and tests.

"Texas is on the right path toward improved education, and we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children's future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents' participation in their children's education," Gov. Perry said. "If Washington were truly concerned about funding education with solutions that match local challenges, they would make the money available to states with no strings attached."

Through Race to the Top funding, the US Department of Education seems to be coercing states like Texas to abandon their own locally established curriculum standards in favor of adopting national standards.

Source: 2010 Texas Gubernatorial press release , Jan 13, 2010

Best teachers, accountability, math & science prep

Let's improve education in our state at every level to help them compete in any arena. To reach our goal of ensuring every student graduates from Texas high schools with a strong foundation in math, science and English, we owe them 3 things.
  1. They deserve the best teachers. Nothing matters more to student success than having an excellent teacher in every classroom. That is why we worked so hard to create the largest teacher incentive pay program in the country, one that will pay out more than $147 million to teachers and staff by the end of this school year.
  2. We must hold our schools accountable for student performance. As you consider changes to the accountability system, make sure it keeps moving students along the path to graduating "college & career ready" while keeping parents and taxpayers informed.
  3. Let's keep improving our math & science education, and continue preparing our young people, especially low-income & minority students, for a productive life after high school.
Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 27, 2009

New discoveries make evolutionary explanation less plausible

Have you ever noticed how the left commonly claims people of faith and positions of faith are diametrically opposed to science? "You believe in the Creation Story? Well that's fine in terms of your faith, but of course science has discounted the possibility." You can't have rational discussions with the left about the validity of evolution because they claim science has already weighed in. Yet, science reveals new discoveries all the time, and in so doing, for instance, makes the evolutionary explanation less plausible. If, however, someone makes an argument for intelligent design, we are told it should be taught in a class on faith. The left advocates tolerance while crushing dissenting views.

Of course the secular news media cannot advocate a faith perspective, but they can refrain from expressing a bias that people of faith hold irrational views about issues that have scientific ramifications. They can also explore the SCIENTIFIC basis for theories such as intelligent design.

Source: On My Honor, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.185-186 , Feb 12, 2008

My parents didn't sue when I was paddled at school

If my dad found out that I was paddled at school, his first question of the principal would be, "What did the boy do wrong?" It wasn't ever a question about whether someone who didn't share my bloodline had the right to discipline me. It was merely assumed, in a community where parents shared the same interest of raising children to respect authority and live by established values, that other adults exercised their authority in a manner consistent with what was best for the child. If an educator did that today, the threat of a lawsuit wouldn't be far behind. The ability of the community to set guideless and enforce them is greatly impaired by a litigious climate that has arisen out of distrust among adults who share no sense of community with one another.
Source: On My Honor, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 35 , Feb 12, 2008

Boy Scouts granted right to use schools in 2002 NCLB law

In 2001, members of Congress went to work to include in the No Child Left Behind Act the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access to Schools Amendment. The amendment passed in both houses and became a part of the No Child Left Behind Act, which in turn was signed by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002. It specified that no school receiving U.S. Department of Education funds "shall deny access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country to the Boy Scouts of America."
Source: On My Honor, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 78-79 , Feb 12, 2008

$305 million for public schools and colleges

  • The governor’s proposed budget would increase funding for public and higher education, his top priority. “In this new technology economy, learning must not end with a high school degree,” Perry said. “Our investment in higher education will pay dividends long into the future.” The proposed budget would fund:
  • $88.3 million in general revenue for anticipated growth in enrollment in colleges and universities
  • $27 million to continue the 2001 faculty pay raise into both years of the next budget cycle.
  • $150 million to the instructional facilities allotment for Texas’ public schools to reduce the backlog of schools needing facility construction and repairs.
  • $40 million for an initiative to improve Texas public school children’s math skills and to create a Master Math Teacher certification.
    Source: Press Release, “State Budget” , Jan 16, 2001

    Start a pilot voucher program in Texas

    The Supreme Court’s ruling that government-funded vouchers can be used for tuition at religious schools may settle the question of constitutionality, but the fight will shift to state courts, in legal battles over state constitutional objections to voucher programs, and to state legislatures and the ballot box.

    Texas is among several states expected to seriously consider creating a voucher program. Rick Perry, who said he supports the court’s decision, said a voucher program could be developed next year in the Legislature, where similar bills have stalled before. “What it says is that parents have a place and role in the decision-making process about where their children go to school,” he said. “It’s about parental choice.” Perry said he favors starting with a pilot program.

    Source: Dallas Morning News , Jun 28, 2002

    Supports vouchers, but didn't push proposal through

    On March 29 Perry forced a vote on an ill-fated school voucher proposal. It’s perhaps the issue with which Perry’s campaign was most closely associated, and the one he was expected to push for the hardest. Perry’s campaign was famously funded by a $1 million loan guaranteed by Jim Leininger, the conservative millionaire who champions school vouchers and tort reform.

    Perry watchers have varying explanations for the fate of school vouchers this session -- and for Perry’s failure to fight harder or more publicly on their behalf: The first theory holds that he’s not really a true believer in vouchers. The second explanation is that he is a true believer in the voucher issue?among others?but that he’s laying low until assumption of the governorship allows him to reveal his true colors. Yet a third explanation is that Perry is simply learning the ropes and building relationships with legislators before making a serious run at an issue that has proved controversial among voters and politicos alike.

    Source: Jenny Staff, The Austin Chronicle, vol. 18. no. 39 , May 28, 1999

    Supports voluntary prayer in public schools.

    Perry supports the CC survey question on school prayer

    The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

    The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Voluntary prayer in public schools and facilities"

    Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q4 on Aug 11, 2010

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