Marco Rubio on Common Core: ‘Department of Education Will Turn It Into a Mandate’

Molly Riley/AP
Molly Riley/AP

Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday night during the GOP presidential debate in Cleveland that the problem with Common Core is that the U.S. Department of Education “will turn it into a mandate.”

Rubio took a different tack than fellow Floridian and former Gov. Jeb Bush, a promoter of the Common Core standards.

Curriculum reform, Rubio said, belongs at the state and local level, “because that is where educational policy belongs, because if a parent is unhappy with what their child is being taught in school, they can go to that local school board or their state legislature or their governor and get it changed.”

As many Common Core opponents have observed over the past six years, Rubio noted the danger of the federal education bureaucracy.

“The Department of Education, like every federal agency, will never be satisfied,” the senator said. “They will not stop with it being a suggestion. They will turn it into a mandate.”

“In fact, what they will begin to say to local communities is, you will not get federal money unless do you things the way we want you to do it,” he continued. “And they will use Common Core or any other requirements that exists nationally to force it down the throats of our people in our states.”

The same concerns have applied to the recent legislation in the House and Senate regarding the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law. Rubio voted against the Senate’s version in July.