Potential 2016 contender Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) targeted the controversial Common Core standards in a swing through first primary state New Hampshire on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, Paul criticized the federal government’s involvement in pushing the education reform initiative. The Common Core standards were adopted by most of the states and supported by Barack Obama through his competitive grant program called Race to the Top—a feature of his 2009 stimulus bill—and his waivers from No Child Left Behind restrictions.
Speaking at a Manchester, New Hampshire charter school, Paul said he would like local school districts to develop their own standards.
“If you have a national curriculum and rules, you’ll never get to these new ideas,” the Senator said, explaining that innovation occurs when local districts design their own standards.
Paul added that, if he were elected president, he would eliminate the U.S. Department of Education, a comment which, according to Reuters, drew applause from his audience.
“I think we need more people with his sense of duty to the Constitution,” said Anthony Nino Jr., an attendee at the event. “If they have a duty to follow and enforce the Constitution, then they will respect another person’s rights.”
Paul distinguishes himself from other potential GOP presidential contenders like Jeb Bush, who is an ardent supporter of the Common Core standards, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who repealed the Common Core in his state but then facilitated it being “rebranded” with more local flavor in the name—an act that allowed his state to have its federal waiver from No Child Left Behind extended.