Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he was “emphatically opposed” to federal Common Core standards after he keynoted an event for Iowa’s influential homeschoolers in which he said that school choice “is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.”
“I don’t think the federal government has any role dictating the content of curricula. I think education is a state issue and a local issue, and ideally at the local level, because that way parents can have direct input and control of what’s being taught to their kids,” Cruz said on Tuesday after he addressed the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, according to Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson. “If you or I disagree with what some bureaucrat in the federal Department of Education says, you can’t change that. You don’t have an influence on that.”
He praised the “terrific victory in the Iowa legislature protecting the rights of homeschoolers” that Iowans won last year. That law allowed homeschoolers to teach their children without submitting lesson plans to their school districts. Cruz said that kids and the Constitution should be bipartisan in addition to protecting the “right of every parent to raise his or her child.”
He also said he would vigilantly guard against efforts that would undermine the rights of parents before saying that Americans must “do everything humanly possible to avoid ratification” of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. He said nothing in international law or “nothing in any treaty should be used as a backdoor vehicle to undermine the rights of every parent here to raise your children consistent with your faith, your good judgment, and the love you have for your children.”
Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential contender, then said that “there is no liberty more important than religious liberty” and emphasized that it was the first one protected in the Bill of Rights. Cruz spoke about his time as Solicitor General in Texas, in which he helped defend an inscription of the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Mohave Desert veterans’ cross. Iowa’s homeschoolers are a vital constituency in the state’s GOP politics, having powered Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to wins in the last two presidential caucuses in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
This is Cruz’s fourth visit to Iowa in less than a year, and he has received rave reviews from the state’s Evangelical community that dominates Iowa’s caucuses. Cruz headlined the Iowa GOP’s Reagan Dinner last fall.