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GOP Candidates Criticize NCLB in Debate

By Alyson Klein — August 12, 2011 1 min read
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After the last Republican debate in June, White House press secretary Jay Carney noted that the GOP candidates didn’t mention the word “education” or “middle class” even once. (Politifact figured out Carney was right, at least about the education part.)

Last night, the Republicans held a debate in Iowa, sponsored by Fox News and the Washington Examiner. Education came up five minutes from the end of the two-hour debate. Two candidates were asked if—as president— they would continue to enforce the No Child Left Behind Act.

The answer was an emphatic “no”, at least from Jon Huntsman, a businessman and former governor of Utah, and Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. (Other candidates didn’t get a crack at the question.)

“No Child Left Behind hasn’t worked for this country,” Huntsman said. He’d like to see more school choice and expanded use of technology in classrooms.

Cain said he believed that education is a local issue. “The federal government should get out of the business of trying to micromanage the education of our children,” he said.

Interestingly, the Republican who arguably has the most to say about education, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, wasn’t even in the debate. Perry, whose spokesman announced shortly before the debate that the governor would indeed run for president, is the anti-Obama when it comes to K-12 policy.