Carson is opposed to Common Core and wants educational standards to be set by the states.
CAMPBELL BROWN: When you look at the public education system in America today do you see a system that is failing or one that’s working?
BEN CARSON: Well it really kind of depends on your zip code whether it’s failing or not. Unfortunately we consign a large number of our students who live in the wrong zip codes to failing schools. And a lot of those kids they come from homes with no books, they go to a school with no library or poorly functioning library and they move up into this high school where things are not happening and they drop out. You see these enormous dropout rates in some of our major cities. This is a real scourge on our society because we’re to recognize that for every one of those kids that’s goes down that wrong pathway that’s one more person that you have to protect yourself and your family from, pay for in a penal system or the welfare system; one less taxpaying productive member of society who may discover the cure for cancer or a new energy source. So we really can’t afford to be wasting these people.
BROWN: What is the federal government’s role in tackling this problem? Because there’s a real push and pull there between local control which everyone says is so important but also the role that the federal government can play.
CARSON: Well the federal government can play an important role. Right now for instance we’re behind in stem education substantially particularly from other developed countries and it’s a national problem. There are ways that we can have a national focus on getting our people caught up there’s no question about that.
BROWN: So are you using the bully pulpit to sort of make that message heard? Because we’re still relying on states to ultimately get this done.
CARSON: I would use it and I would also look at the states that are doing well. You know it was intended that we would have all these laboratories in each one of the states and we could learn from them and we could see who is extremely successful and then we can make that available in other places.
BROWN: Tell me what you think; there’s a debate going on in congress, has been for awhile, about the reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act or what’s more commonly referred to as no child left behind. What do you think about that generally?
CARSON: Generally I don’t want any child left behind of course. I don’t know of anybody who does. But I’m not sure that again that we have to nationalize this thing. I think if we do it at a local level and we give people school choice that will take care of itself.
BROWN: So let me ask you about common core. I think the idea behind common core was to create a common set of standards to help each state raise their standards.
CARSON: I am generally hoping that it will die a quiet death. And I think the less federal interference the better. States will be able to set their own standards work with their local school districts and with parents and PTA’s I don’t see a downside in doing it that way. I see a big downside in posing from above you must do it this way; this is the standard that we have set. So far it’s created nothing but chaos.