By Andrew Ujifusa and Alyson Klein
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who once said he’d like to scrap the U.S. Department of Education, is joining the very, very crowded GOP presidential field.
As governor of Texas from 2010 to 2015, Perry was a thorn in the Obama administration’s side when it came to K-12 issues. His state never went after a Race to the Top competitive grant, for instance, because he complained that the department placed too many conditions on federal funding. Texas, under Perry, also eschewed the Common Core State Standards. In 2010, he fought Democrats in Congress over the use of the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund. And his 2012 presidential campaign called for cutting the U.S. Department of Education roughly in half.
Still, at some points during his tenure, Perry supported increased education funding—in 2007, for example, he supported an $80 million funding boost for the state’s pre-K program, as well as an $11.9 billion increase for public schools over the 2007-08 two-year budget cycle. However, the state cut school funding by $5.4 billion in 2011 following the economic downturn. Perry called these budget cuts “thoughtful reductions” that didn’t significantly hurt education in Texas. Those budget reductions have since been the subject of a lawsuit that is currently before the Texas Supreme Court.
Perry is also a fan of charter schools and private school choice, although his efforts to advance a state private school choice program failed.