Newt Gingrich on Education

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House


Newt Gingrich on Charters and Vouchers

Dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education

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.

GINGRICH: I think you need very profound reform of education at the state level. You need to dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education, get rid of virtually all of its regulations. And the truth is, I believe we'd be far better off if most states adopted a program of the equivalent of Pell Grants for K-through-12, so that parents could choose where their child went to school, whether it was public, or private, or home-schooling, and parents could be involved. Florida has a virtual school program that is worth the entire country studying as an example

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

I liked charter school programs in Obama's Race to the Top

Q: You supported "Race to the Top," the Obama administration education program. What did you like about it?

GINGRICH: I liked very much the fact that it talked about charter schools. It's the one place I found to agree with President Obama. If every parent in America had a choice of the school their child went to, if that school had to report its scores, if there was a real opportunity, you'd have a dramatic improvement. My personal preference would be to have a Pell Grant for K-12 so that every parent could pick, with their child, any school they wanted to send them to, public or private, and enable them to have the choice. I don't think you're ever going to reform the current bureaucracies. And the president, I thought, was showing some courage in taking on the teacher's union to some extent and offering charter schools, and I wanted, frankly, to encourage more development towards choice.

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

Let parents choose public, private, parochial, or homeschool

Home-educated students score an average of 15 to 30 points higher than public-school students on standardized tests, including the SAT and ACT, regardless of their parents' level of formal education or the level of family income. Because families who homeschool do not depend on taxpayer-funded resources, taxpayers save an estimated $16 billion each year thanks to homeschooling.

Except in cases of demonstrable neglect or abuse, lawmakers and judges must enact and enforce policies that support the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children and choose the educational model that best suits the child's needs, whether public school, private or parochial school, or homeschooling.

Source: A Nation Like No Other, by Newt Gingrich, p. 94-95 , Jun 13, 2011

More learning options: community college-run charter schools

The Detroit school bureaucracy is a particularly tragic example of the human cost of protecting unionized bureaucracy at the expense of serving the public. Only 22% of entering high school freshmen in the Detroit public school system graduate on time. Th national average is about 70 %.

Consider also that the Detroit public school system will spend $7,469 per pupil. The Detroit school system doesn't fail for lack of money. They fail because success if not the priority. If you measure the Detroit system by whether the checks arrive for the bureaucrats each month no matter how badly they are doing, then it has 100% success rate.

The young people of Detroit need more learning options, but government stands in their way. Michigan community colleges, for example, are prevented by state law from chartering schools in city districts. A charter school is simply a public school freed from the bureaucracy's rules and willing to hold itself accountable for producing results. And guess what? They work.

Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 51-53 , Dec 18, 2007

Offer coupons to send kids to schools that work best

There is ample evidence of what works in education, but the bureaucracies have systematically ignored all of it. Innovations that work include merit-based pay, increasing teacher-student ratios, revamping union rules to reward the best teachers, bonuses and incentives for new teachers, charter schools, ad offering parents a coupon giving them the opportunity to send their children to the school that works best for them. I've even suggested rewarding student in the poorest neighborhoods by paying them if they get a B or better in math and science.

But real change requires real change, not new rhetoric while doing more o the same old thing. Propping up the failed past at the expense of future generations leads to prison and poverty for too many of our children.

In city after city across the country, education bureaucrats and unions make it quite clear that they put the union's interests ahead of the children.

Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 57-58 , Dec 18, 2007

America’s high schools are obsolete

America’s high schools are obsolete and cannot teach kids what they need to know to succeed today. Winning the challenge of China and India will require profound domestic transformations, especially in math and science education, for America to continue to be the most successful economy in the world.

The collapse of math and science education in the US and the relative decline of investment in basic research is an enormous strategic threat to American national security. There is a grave danger that the US will find itself collapsing in scientific and technological capabilities in our lifetime.

This is among the most important decisions our generation will make about our country’s future and our children’s future. For the last twenty years, we have tried to improve education while accepting the fundamental principles of a failed system, guarded by the education bureaucrats and teachers unions. We must now transform math and science education or fall behind. It really is that simple.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org, “Issues” , Sep 1, 2007

Pay kids as incentive to learn math and science

Keeping America competitive in the twenty-first century is dependent upon having increasing number of students studying math and science. Getting students to study math and science may be done through incentives. We should experiment with paying students for taking difficult subjects in math and science. The long and difficult road to becoming a PhD in math or chemistry has virtually no support in these neighborhoods nor is it presented as an attractive way out. But, if as early as seventh grade there were some economic reward for learning math and science, which competes head to head with McDonalds, the signal sent would be immediate and dramatic. If the rewards went up as the classes grew more difficult we would have students pouring into math and science instead of fleeing it.

We should therefore conduct a pilot project to see if this approach can be successful. And we should begin by targeting a poor inner city district where the potential for sending a strong signal is perhaps strongest.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org, “Issues” , Sep 1, 2007

Replace multiculturalism with patriotic education

In the classroom, the very concept of America is under assault. The traditional notion of our country as a union of one people, the American people, has been assaulted by multiculturalism, situational ethics, and a values-neutral model in which Western values and American history are ignored or ridiculed. Unless we act to reverse this trend, our next generation will grow up with no understanding of core American values. This will destroy America as we know it, as surely as if a foreign conqueror had overwhelmed us.

It is absolutely necessary to establish a firm foundation of patriotic education upon which further knowledge can be built; otherwise, Americans will lack understanding of American values & how important & great it is to be an American.

It is important to understand what makes America so unique and why generations of diverse people immigrated to this great land for freedom and opportunity. If Americans do not appreciate America, then how can they be ready and willing to defend her?

Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p.133-134 , Dec 31, 2006

Reference to God in Pledge of Allegiance is not ceremonial

The Pledge of Allegiance does not contain a “ceremonial” reference to God. The term under God was inserted deliberately by Congress to draw the distinction between atheistic tyranny (the Soviet Union) and a free society whose freedoms were based on the God-given rights of each person. As the report accompanying the law asserted: “From the time of our earliest history, our peoples and our institutions have reflected the traditional concept that our Nation was founded on a fundamental belief in God.”
Source: [X-ref Homeland] Gingrich Communications website, newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Earning by Learning: pay students $2 per summer book

As a Congressman, I invented a program called "Earning by Learning." I gave my speech money to pay poor children in public housing $2 a book for every book they read in the summer. The first year, a young girl in Villa Rica, Georgia read 83 books and earned $166. That was big money for a 4th grader in Villa Rica public housing. That fall, she got into trouble when she went back to schools because she was too used to reading and kept doing more than the curriculum permitted. She wanted to learn so much that she was considered a troublemaker. Everywhere we tried "Earning by Learning" it worked.
Source: Winning the Future, by Newt Gingrich, p.156 , Oct 1, 2005

Support charters; insist on change for failing schools

We should encourage the spread of public charter schools--one of the happiest new developments on the education scene--so parents, educators, & students working together can enjoy the maximum freedom to explore options and innovations until every child has a genuine opportunity to learn. As a corollary of this, we must identify the worst schools. We should insist on immediate change for bad schools. To start with, there should be no tenure and no binding contracts in the worst 20% of schools.
Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.208 , Jul 2, 1998

Private scholarships for students at hopeless schools

If there were families left without an acceptable public school, scholarships should be available for them to find a private one. I am a graduate of a public school, as are my wife and two daughters. All of us remain committed to the idea of public education. However, if the available public school is one that gives parents legitimate worry for their children’s future, there ought to be alternative to having to stand helplessly watching an incompetent bureaucracy destroy their children’s lives.
Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.209 , Jul 2, 1998

Adopt vouchers to break unionized monopoly of inner city

The greatest single misallocation of taxpayers' money has been the unionized monopolies of inner-city education. It is astonishing how much is spent per child on these cumbersome, red-tape-ridden bureaucracies--and how little ever gets to the individual child.

The Wisconsin legislature adopted a voucher system that allows inner-city children to attend private schools at state expense. The Wisconsin teachers' union and the traditional liberals fought bitterly, but Republicans led a broad bipartisan coalition that seeks to break the public-school monopoly and find new ways to educate poor children.

From home schooling to vouchers, from a drastic overhaul of the present system to allowing private companies to take over whole school distracts-- we simply have to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that poor children can participate in the Information Age. There is no other strategy that will give them a full opportunity to pursue happiness.

Source: Renew America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 82-83 , Jul 2, 1996

Voucherize inner-city programs from schools to groceries

In a speech in March, 1995, to business leaders in suburban Atlanta, Gingrich noted that the public school system in the District of Columbia spends $9,600 a year per pupil, nearly double the national average. He suggested that for such a high level of spending, each could have private tutors and personal transportation to school--plus lunch. He advocates vouchers to parents so they can choose the schools, public or private, their children will attend.

"I think we ought to voucherize every program in the inner city with cash payments to parents allowing them to decide where and what to purchase, be it an elementary school, health care, or groceries." Some in his audience thought he was exaggerating to make a point. In a later interview, he was willing to go even further. "Suppose you need to get children away from failed teachers. What if we called on the home-schoolers in Maryland and Virginia to come to D.C. for a massive home schooling program, teaching parents how to teach their children."

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 51-52 , Jun 1, 1995

Newt Gingrich on College

Gingrich's education stances compared to Ron Paul's

Do Gingrich and Paul agree on school vouchers? (No; Paul opposes them). Do they agree on college loans? (Yes, both oppose them, but for different reasons). We cite details from Paul's books and speeches, and Gingrich's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Gingrich vs. Paul on Social Issues

Source: Paperback: Gingrich vs. Paul On The Issues , Jan 1, 2012

College students should work and graduate with no debt

PAUL: [to Gingrich]: There's no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to be dealing with education. We should get rid of the student loan programs.

GINGRICH: The student loan program began when Lyndon Johnson announced it, I think, with a $15 million program. It's an absurdity. What does it do? It expands the ability of students to stay in college longer because they don't see the cost. It actually means they take fewer hours per semester on average. It takes longer for them to get through school. It allows them to tolerate tuitions going up absurdly. Now, let me give you a contrast that's very startling. The College of the Ozarks is a work-study college. You have to work 20 hours a week during the year to pay tuition and books. Now, that is a model so different, it will be culture shock for the students of America to learn we actually expect them to go to class, study, get out quickly, charge as little as possible, and emerge debt free by doing the right things for 4 years.

Source: 2011 CNBC GOP Primary debate in Rochester MI , Nov 9, 2011

Waive interest on student loans for math & science grads

The inability of our system to produce mathematicians & scientists posed a threat to our national security in the highest order.

It is an objective reality that we are not producing enough educated 18-year olds capable of sustaining this society in the 21st century.

The depth of this problem dictates that we must be bold in finding a solution. This includes serious considerations of notions like waiving interest on student loans for undergraduates that major in math or science.

We must rethink how we educate our children in math and science. In my judgment it is harder than most other kinds of learning. There are many reasons in a wealthy society that people at the margins do not go into math or science. One is the fact that there is no immediate advantage to majoring in something that is harder and requires more work.

We should go beyond force-feeding numbers and theories to a level of discovery where a child wonders what the answers are and goes in search of them for the excitement of it.

Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p.180-182 , Sep 22, 2003

End college tenure; focus on students over teachers

Higher education in this country is out of control. First, campuses are run for the benefit of the faculty, not the students. Second, tenured faculty have become increasingly out of touch with the rest of America, rejecting the culture of the people who pay their salaries. Third, there is an acceptance of higher costs without effective management.

Most tenured positions in higher education are now held by passionate advocates of the anti-Vietnam War movement. These former radicals have now become the comfortable, all-purpose "deconstructionists" of American culture.

If the average taxpayer had a list of the 10 weirdest courses their tax money was funding at their state university, they would ask for a refund. It's not just that their money is being wasted. It is being used to subsidize bizarre and destructive versions of reality.

College faculties are not Supreme Court justices. They are simply employees, and they should be subject to the same economic pressures as everyone else.

Source: Renew America, by Newt Gingrich, p.219-221 , Jul 2, 1996

Make universities about Western values, not quaint artifacts

Either we recapture universities for Western values and make them once again useful, or they will become what English universities once were--quaint artifacts where youths go to listen to weird people tell them bizarre things, none of which are real.

I hope the next three Democratic presidential campaigns are run by people conversant with the Kennedy School. Only the Stanford Faculty have been more aggressive in trying to prove they can be more out of touch with the American people than the Kennedy School.

Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler would have admired some of the elite campuses where certain words can get a student expelled.
--The Boston Globe. August 11, 1991

Source: Quotations from Speaker Newt, by A.&P. Bernstein, p. 59 , Jan 1, 1995

Newt Gingrich on Grade School

Introduce competition among schools and teachers

We should apply the free enterprise system to our education system by introducing competition among schools, administrators, and teachers. Our educators should be paid based on their performance and held accountable based on clear standards with real consequences.

These ideas are designed to stimulate thinking beyond the timid “let’s do more of the same” that has greeted every call for rethinking math and science education.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Encourage private sector in math and science education

We should reward and encourage private sector participation in math and science education. We should provide a tax credit to corporations that fund basic research in science and technology at our nation’s universities.

Graduates willing to stay in math and science fields should pay zero interest on their student loans until their incomes reach four times the national average income. This would encourage students to stay in these needed fields and continue to pursue knowledge.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Newt Gingrich on School Prayer

School prayer ban shows secular socialists oppose God

The left-wing Democrats who currently control the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and many state capitols are committed to a secular-socialist ideology that is alien to America's history and traditions.

Traditional America values hard work, entrepreneurship, innovation, and merit-based upward mobility. But the secular-socialist machine rewards its members, punishes "overachievers," kills job by over-taxing small businesses, and even exploits your death to tax the savings you hope to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

Traditional America was based on a profound belief that "we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights." But secular socialists are so opposed to God in public life that they can't tolerate school prayer or even allow a cross to stand in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 2 , May 17, 2010

Since 1963 school prayer ban, teen pregnancy & drugs are up

The move toward secularism has harmed American society. Look at the problems affecting today's teenagers, compared to the same data for 1963, the year the Supreme Court banned school prayer. Did the elimination of school prayer help our schools? No. To the contrary, the decline of morality in school and in society overall has given rise to a destructive pattern that the late Senator Pat Moynihan captured perfectly in his article, "Defining Deviancy Down."
Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 32 , May 17, 2010

Don't ban Bibles from public schools

Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p.274-276 , May 17, 2010

Removing God from Pledge of Allegiance assaults our identity

There is no attack on American culture more destructive and more historically dishonest than the relentless effort to drive God out of America’s public square. The 2002 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the phrase “under God” is unconstitutional represents a fundamental assault on our American identity. A court that would unilaterally modify the Pledge of Allegiance as adopted by the Congress in 1954, signed by President Eisenhower, and supported 91% of the American people is a court that is clearly out of step with an America that understands that our unalienable rights come from God.

How can the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, overrule the culture & maintain its moral authority? It can’t. The Supreme Court begins each day with the proclamation “God save the United States and this honorable Court.” This phrase was not adopted as a ceremonial phrase of no meaning: it was adopted because justices in the 1820s actually wanted to call on God to save the US & the Court

Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 6 , Dec 31, 2006

Removing “God” from Pledge assaults our identity

There is no attack on American culture more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular Left’s relentless effort to drive God out of America’s public square. The 2002 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the phrase “under God” is unconstitutional represents a fundamental assault on our American identify. A court that would unilaterally modify the Pledge of Allegiance as adopted by the Congress in 1954, signed by President Eisenhower, and supported by 91% of the American people is a court that is clearly out of step with an America that understands that our unalienable rights come from God.
Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 6 , Dec 31, 2006

Teach evolution as science; intelligent design as philosophy

Q: Where did you get your passion for science?

A: It started as a passion for animals and grew into an interest in paleontology and how life evolved.

Q: Do you view evolution as "just a theory" or as the best explanation for how we came to be?

A: Evolution certainly seems to express the closest understanding we can now have. But it's changing too. The current tree of life is not anything like a 19th-century Darwinian tree.

Q: What about teaching intelligent design in schools?

A: I believe evolution should be taught as science, and intelligent design should be taught as philosophy.

Q: Do you think the ruling in the Dover, Pennsylvania, case was appropriate?

A: I do not know enough about the Dover case to critique the judge's decision, but I am generally cautious about unelected judges establishing community standards--that is the duty of elected officials.

Source: Francis Wilkinson interview in Discover Magazine , Oct 9, 2006

Re-center America on the Creator

Source: Winning the Future, by Newt Gingrich, p. xxiv , Oct 1, 2005

Constitutional amendment to protect right to school prayer

While the state or school must not dictate or prescribe any prayer, the right to voluntary prayer in schools should be protected, whether through a constitutional amendment or through legislation, or a combination of both. Indeed, Congressman Gingrich, in a speech just prior to becoming Speaker, endorsed both approaches: constitutional change and legislative trimming of the Court's jurisdiction over voluntary prayer in schools.

The idea that most religious people are "radical," as they are all too often portrayed in the media, is wrong. The overwhelming majority are mainstream, not extreme. They should not be treated as second-class citizens who may practice their faith in private but never in the public square. People of faith--of all faiths--have played important roles in the progress of the country and the development of our culture. Indeed, our culture is based on traditional American values, derived from our Judeo-Christian heritage, handed down to us, generation after generation.

Source: Agenda For America, by Haley Barbour, p.159-160 , Apr 25, 1996

Voluntary school prayer creates bond between you and Creator

There's a reason why voluntary school prayer mattered, and the reason goes far from the concept of being endowed by our Creator and getting authority from a Supreme Being.

I had a very bright student in the class who said, "Do you really think voluntary school prayer matters that much? Why does it matter? You really think 30 seconds matter?" And I suddenly realized the reason it matters is it establishes at the beginning of the day the concept of a hierarchy. That the teacher is an intermediary between the Creator who is endowing is with our unalienable rights and us.

If there is a Creator and your rights are endowed by the Creator, then there is a direct bond between you and the Creator. Now this is not a violation of church and state. They're not teaching you to be a Catholic or to be Jewish or Muslim or Baptist. They're teaching you basic principles of morality and basic principles of relating to personal strength as an act of faith in a Creator.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.172-173 , Jun 1, 1995

1963 Supreme Court school prayer ban was just wrong

In Oct. 1994, Gingrich laid out the case for a [school prayer] constitutional amendment. He outlined a specific two-track strategy. The first: a bill to withdraw the issue of school prayer from court jurisdiction, a routine tactic in Congress. The second: a constitutional amendment to permit voluntary prayer.

In 1963, the Supreme Court banned organized school prayer. "Why was the 1963 decision wrong? It was wrong as law because it misread the Constitution. I'm not a lawyer, but I am a historian. As an historian, I will just tell you flatly the meaning of the Constitution was simple. It was not to drive religion out of public life. It was to ensure that there would be no organized religion subsidized directly by the state and imposed on others. They're just wrong & they ought to say that."

The Oct. 1994 lecture on school prayer is one of Gingrich's most powerful speeches. I suspect most listeners heard it as a cry of faith, in God, and in a Republic built on the idea of God

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.180-181 , Jun 1, 1995

Voluntary school prayer really does matter

I had a very bright student in the class who said, "Well, do you really think voluntary school prayer matters that much?" And I suddenly realized that I really did think it mattered that much, that I think we are crazy to have driven it out.
--Renewing American Civilization, Class 2

Our liberal national elite doesn't believe in religion.
--Mother Jones 1984

For a generation, the values which were written into the Declaration of Independence. have been eroding; we have carried money saying "In God We Trust," while politicians and the ACLU have driven God out of our public life and institutions.
--Newt's book, "Window of Opportunity"

Source: Quotations from Speaker Newt, by A.&P. Bernstein, p. 62 , Jan 1, 1995

Newt Gingrich on Voting Record

1984: All-night Congressional vigil on school prayer vote

To support Reagan in his efforts to pass legislation permitting school prayer, Gingrich held an all-night vigil session on the subject. It got publicity for their cause, but Democrats still refused to allow votes on school prayer. Gingrich had seen Reagan's six initiatives for the 1984 Congress bottled up by Democrats. One of them was the equal access bill, a measure allowing religious and other groups from outside school systems to use high-school facilities. It was a fallback from school prayer.
Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.105 , Jun 1, 1995

Voted YES on giving federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer.

Motion to add language to the "Goals 2000: Educate America Act" to give federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer.
Bill HR 1804 ; vote number 1994-85 on Mar 23, 1994

Make employee educational assistance tax-deductible.

Gingrich co-sponsored making employee educational assistance tax-deductible

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to restore and make permanent the income tax exclusion of amounts paid under employer-provided educational assistance programs for employees.

Source: Employee Educational Assistance Act (H.R.127) 1993-H127 on Jan 5, 1993

Supports a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer.

Gingrich co-sponsored a resolution for a School Prayer Amendment:

H.J.RES.52 (2001), H.J.RES.66 (1999), S.J.RES. 1, H.J.RES.12, H. J. RES. 108, & H. J. RES. 55:

Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any State to participate in prayer . Neither the United States nor any State shall compose the words of any prayer to be said in public schools.
H. J. RES. 78 (1997):
To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any State shall require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion.
Source: H.J.Res.78 97-HJR78 on May 8, 1997

Other candidates on Education: Newt Gingrich on other issues:
Former Presidents/Veeps:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
V.P.Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
V.P.Al Gore
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Religious Leaders:
New Testament
Old Testament
Pope Francis

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Joe Scarborough
Gov.Jesse Ventura
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
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Tax Reform

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