Can Perry Make Education an Economic Plank?

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is a potential dark horse with a strong background on both economic and social issues (his 2012 “three-points” flub notwithstanding).  Now, Perry is back with another three-point plan for economic growth.  His first two points were sensible, if a little predictable to anyone who knows Rick Perry (starts around 6:54):

… the same thing that worked in Texas will work in this country. You have a tax structure that is burdensome, you have Dodd-Frank banking regulations that are strangling small community banks.  So there are three areas in particular where you can very quickly start fixing this economy:

One is to open up our energy resources.  North America has more fossil fuels than Saudi Arabia and Russia combined.  So, in Canada, the United States and Mexico, open up the pipelines to drive down the cost of energy because of that energy being developed.

Next is lowering the corporate tax rate.  The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the Western world, and that is a powerful incentive for manufacturers to come back on shore.  You can create a huge manufacturing renaissance in this country over that period of time.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

It was the third part of his economic plan that stood out, however.  In his depiction of part three, “devolve power back to the states,” Perry paid special attention to education and why he thinks states should be in charge setting education policy:

When this healthcare law is found to be unconstitutional, which I suspect it will be over the next 30 days, the states are who are going to come up with new ideas for healthcare.  It doesn’t need to be done in Washington, DC.  No more so than the curriculum for our schools needs to come out of Washington, DC.  That’s why I’m against Common Core, Chad.  Washington think they are the fount of all wisdom, is really the core of the challenge we have in this country.

Let the states compete against each other.  Let them come up with the best way to deliver healthcare and the best way to educate their children.  From time to time a state will make an error and their citizens will be heard from, but by and large this country will flourish without Washington restricting how states manage their resources.

Bravo, Governor Perry!  A lot of candidates are against Common Core, but few have gone beyond “because it’s a federal program” and tied it to the economic problems substandard curriculum will cause.  He’s already made the point that his stellar executive experience separates him from the rest of the field.  Could his breakout thinking on Common Core be the issue that pushes him over the top?

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.