Rick Perry quotes about education

Last week, Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, announced that he’s running for president. He is the tenth Republican to join the crowded race—a group that still doesn’t officially include poll-toppers Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. He’s also the subject of the fourteenth installment of the Eduwatch 2016 series chronicling presidential candidates’ stances on education issues.

Perry has been involved in Texas politics since 1985. He started out as a state representative and went on to become commissioner of agriculture, lieutenant governor under George W. Bush, and governor, a role he assumed when Bush was himself elected president. This will be Perry’s second run for the White House, having also tried back in 2012. He’s said much on education. Here’s a sampling:

1. Common Core: “It’s a Tenth Amendment issue. If you want Washington, if you want to implement their standards, that’s your call....We certainly had higher standards than [Common Core], so it was a very easy decision for Texans, myself and the legislature included, to basically say we still believe that Texans know how to best run Texas.” August 2014.

2. Charter schools: “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. The way forward must involve more public charter schools, which offer parents a tuition-free alternative to their neighborhood school.” January 2013.

3. Choice scholarships: “It's...time to introduce scholarship programs that give students a choice, especially those who are locked into low-performing schools.” January 2013.

4. Course choice: “[W]e should also give students more flexibility in the courses they take in high school to prepare them for whatever their goals may be, without sacrificing our rigorous academic standards.” January 2013.

5. The U.S. Department of Education: “[E]liminate agencies that perform redundant functions....Get rid of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy.” November 2011.

6. No Child Left Behind: “Yeah, that’s a cool name, but it’s a monstrous intrusion into our affairs.” April 2011.

7. Race to the Top: “The RTTT application penalizes those states that will not commit 'fiscal, political and human capital resources of the state to continue, after the period of [RTTT] funding has ended, those reforms funded under the grant.' This provision would ultimately cost local school districts and Texas taxpayers billions of dollars. RTTT also effectively mandates adoption of unproved and yet-to-be-completed national curriculum standards being developed through the Common Core initiative, as well as yet-to-be-developed national tests. States agreeing to adopt these national curriculum standards would be hamstrung from adopting their own, more comprehensive standards.” January 2010.

8. Career and technical education: “Texas employers need additional, qualified workers. Of course, not all these jobs require a college degree. Many require a technical certification, and those jobs are among those most in demand in our state. Last fall, I announced an initiative that will bring industries and our technical and community colleges together to create a statewide model that will enable students to swiftly earn their technical certifications at an affordable cost....Under this framework, an individual will be able to attain certain certification in a high-demand industry, utilizing competency-based learning to allow students to gain credit for skills they have already mastered.” January 2013.

9. Texas's education system while he was governor: “Texas is a national leader in education reform and student achievement. Through our college- and career-ready standards and assessments, strong school accountability, and a focus on educator development, we have created an education system that prepares our students for success after graduation.” January 2010.

10. Education and federalism: “That the Texas Legislature, that the Texas school boards, the Texas teachers, we collectively know best how to educate our children, rather than some bureaucrat in Washington.” August 2014.

11. College affordability: “[W]e have to make sure that college is accessible and affordable. Two years ago, I stood here and 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 thirteen Texas universities have announced plans for a $10,000 degree.” January 2013.


There you have it—Rick Perry. Next up are Bobby Jindal (who plans to declare later this month) and anyone else who decides to run. Until then.


Read what Hillary ClintonMarco RubioTed CruzBernie SandersBen CarsonCarly FiorinaMike HuckabeeRand Paul, Jeb BushRick SantorumGeorge PatakiMartin O'MalleyLindsey Graham, and Lincoln Chafee have said about education.

Brandon L. Wright
Brandon L. Wright is the Editorial Director of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.