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2012 Libertarian Presidential Nominee
Former Governor of New Mexico

Gary Johnson

Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson


Johnson position on Education

Johnson opines that a federally managed education system is wasteful and inefficient. He advocates the abolishment of the Department of Education and in its place, allow the 50 states to experiment with their own education system.

Video Clip
Hi, I'm Stella Lohmann from Atlanta, Georgia. I've taught in both public and private schools, and now as a substitute teacher I see administrators more focused on satisfying federal mandates, retaining funding, trying not to get sued, while the teachers are jumping through hoops trying to serve up a one-size-fits-all education for their students. What as president would you seriously do about what I consider a massive overreach of big government into the classroom? Thank you.

Bret Baier: That topic is for all candidates. And to get everyone to weigh in, 30 seconds each, please. Governor Johnson?

Gary Johnson: I'm promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. That's a 43 percent reduction in federal spending. I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

The federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what America does not understand is that it's a negative to take federal money. Give it to 50 laboratories of innovation, the states, to improve on, and that's what we'll see: dramatic improvement.

September 22, 2011: Fox News-Google Republican Presidential Debate in Orlando, Florida


American education is at a crossroads.

We can either choose to continue down the path of higher costs, poorer results, and top-down thinking, or challenge the status quo by using what actually works rather than what we wish would work. The problem is public education in America is now doing less with more. This is unsustainable for our pocketbooks and, most importantly, unfair to our children.

Now, imagine an educational system that not only educates students better, but also does it for less money every year. It would give each American child the opportunity to choose an individualized education to realize his or her dreams.

#1 Give Education Back to Parents and Teachers

• All parents should have an opportunity to choose which school their children attend.
• Putting educational funds in the hands of the people who use them gives parents and students a vote as to which schools are best and which need to improve.
• Our children deserve the chance to succeed educationally, but the same old way of thinking won't cut it. It's time to free individuals and states from burdensome federal mandates and regulations so they can pursue the right educational strategies for their students.

#2 End the Department of Education

Although it may sound drastic, there are practical reasons why it should be considered.

• The Department of Education grants each state 11 cents out of every dollar it spends on education. Unfortunately, every dollar of this money comes with 16 cents of strings attached. States that accept federal funding lose five cents for every dollar spent on education to pay for federal mandates and regulations, taking millions of dollars out of the classroom.

• Schools should have the authority to decide how best to spend educational dollars. Without federal regulations and mandates, schools could choose to purchase new computers, better lab equipment, and maintain after-school sports and music programs even during times of tight budgets.

• Once citizens and their local representatives have the freedom to decide how their educational funds will be spent, they can consider innovations that will drive student choice, educational competition, and better results.

Campaign Website: garyjohnson.com, Civil Liberties


Gary Johnson: I was an absolute advocate of home schooling. It just makes all the sense in the world. And I was very much, I was more outspoken regarding school choice than any governor in the country, believing that we needed to bring competition to the public education which is in essence what you’re doing.

Question: Do you support, ending the Department of Education?

Gary Johnson: Yes, and I do that from the standpoint that the federal government gives each states about eleven cents out of every school dollar that every state spends, but it comes with about 16 cents worth of strings attached. And those are the strings that you’re talking about. They’re really making it a negative to take federal money. Just get the states out of education, and yours is a great example I think, of, you’ve taken education on yourself and I dare say your results are going to be, if measured, would be outstanding.

Should everyone emulate what it is you’re doing? On that basis, I don’t think so. But this is the choice that you’ve made and if we were to open up the entire school system to genuine competition on how to deliver education, we would see some startling innovation. Giving it back to the states

Question: How do you feel that, by taking the government out of education that’ll help the family core?

Gary Johnson: Well, yours is the best example, yours is the best example that I think I’ve ever seen. You’ve obviously bonded together as a family unlike perhaps any family I’ve seen.

You’re living on a bus. But because of that, you get to travel all over the country, you get to do things constantly, and I think it’s really cool, just think it’s really cool. I think, I wish I had the same opportunity.

April 23, 2011: Gary Johnson speaking with the Halldorson family on the unschoolbus





Introduction to the 2016 Presidential Candidates
Mitt Romney on Education
Barack Obama on Education
All Presidential Candidates on Education
Compare Romney and Obama on Education





Comment on Gary Johnson's position on Education

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