The failures in our politics, culture, and understanding of Americanism all stem from an education system that has failed our country and our future.  Not only are we failing to instill patriotism and an accurate understanding of our history, but we’re also failing to prepare students academically for leadership and careers of the future. 

Thomas Jefferson put it best:  “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.” Education has become a tool for indoctrination. Students are not even learning academics at the level they should be and what they are learning is troubling. Our education system must be rescued and radically reformed before our next generation suffers irreparable damage. I have a plan to reform education, starting with returning control to parents and those closest to home.

1. Return Control to Parents and Local Districts

The result of reducing the federal role in education will be to return more control to local districts, where parents and families control the education of their children. We have seen a revival in the last three years of parents engaging with their school boards, speaking up about curriculum choices, and running for school board positions. When local governing bodies have more say in school decisions, input from families and parents has a greater impact and influence, which ultimately ensures better outcomes for students. The point is our education system does have a customer: children and families.  For too long, our education system has prioritized bureaucrats and the education unions. My goal is to reverse that. 

I will author and promote legislation to return more control of planning decisions, curriculum, and testing to parents and local districts.

2. Pass a Parent’s Bill of Rights

Parents’ rights don’t stop at the school door. Or at the doctor’s office. Our Founding Fathers could have never envisioned that the right of a parent to direct the care, education and upbringing of their children would be in question. But today, it is very much in question. A federal parents’ bill of rights is a necessary step to ensure a baseline establishing that parental rights are secured across the states. Several proposals have already been put forward with some very positive elements, and some that need more work. The woke left is threatened when parents are empowered and has already pushed back hard on early efforts.  The left understands the power of the education system to shape children’s minds, that’s why it wants parents out and why the Department of Justice attempted to silence parents from showing up and speaking at school board meetings. It’s long past time we understand not only what the left does, but what they have been up to in our schools for the past two generations.

I will support comprehensive legislation to protect the rights of parents across the country.

3. Advance School Choice Constitutionally

School Choice is spreading across the country. Twenty-nine states and counting have school choice programs, and ten states and counting have enacted universal ESA-style programs just since the era of COVID. Families are being vocal about their desire for more options and education policy is finally starting to convert from a  one-size-fits-all approach to a more tailored objective, recognizing the uniqueness of every student. While this has been – and must remain – a state-to-state movement, we must be vigilant against federal government interference. My role in defending school choice federally will be to ensure the government never bribes or dangles dollars with strings attached to once again rope school choice participants into a government controlled education system. 

I will oppose any federal government attempts to control the use of school choice dollars.

4. Reduce the Federal Role in Education

Education was never intended to be maintained by the federal government. But slowly, starting with the Great Society and the later establishment of the U.S. Department of Education, along with the power of the purse, and an alphabet soup of lawyers, the federal government has taken more and more control of education. We must ask ourselves: Is our system better or worse today than it was in 1979, before the federal Department of Education was created? There are ways we can significantly reduce the federal government’s reach into Arizona and our local school districts. 

A starting point would be to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to stop federal interference. We can 1) give the states the option to convert the federal dollars into block grants without strings attached; 2) reform curriculum standards and testing mandates to give states a wide variety of approved options; 3) remove state and local planning mandates that require local districts to submit massive reports on their plans to the federal government for approval.

I will lead on legislation amending the ESEA to reduce the role of the federal government in education.

5. Restrict the “Lawmaking” Power of the Department of Education

Woke activists and unions have maintained an overwhelming ability through Department of Education “guidance” and “Dear Colleague” letters to change law and even the definitions of words. A prime example is the “Dear Colleague” letter under the Obama administration that effectively changed the definition of sex without a single vote and outside of the standard regulatory process. To start with, we need to remove the Office of Civil Rights from within the Department of Education. This office has been the origin of damaging and meddlesome “lawmaking” and abuse of power, lawmaking and abuse that never went through Congress or was given a free and fair set of hearings at the local levels. Second, we must require any guidance put out by the Department to go through the standard regulatory process, which includes time for comment and rebuttal from every stakeholder in the education process, from reformers to state and local officials to parents and parental rights’ organizations.

I will lead in ensuring transparency in the Department of Education.

6. Pursue Nonprofit Civics Solutions

Instilling Americanism requires teaching an accurate, rather than America-shaming, picture of our history and founding, which was based on the principles of freedom and equality that have created the freest country and people in the history of the world. Americanism is our “political religion,” as Abraham Lincoln put it, a country dedicated to the principles of freedom and equality of opportunity. There has been a revived focus on civics education federally and at the state level. But these efforts should be viewed critically and with healthy skepticism. The woke left has taken notice of this shift and become a stumbling block to it for their own political purposes. The “Educating for American Democracy” project or “Action” civics are vehicles for DEI, critical race theory, leftist ideologies, and anti-American rhetoric packaged as civics curriculum. President Biden’s Department of Education prioritized state grants for civics – but with a catch. The Department’s guidance was explicit that grants would be given to districts using CRT-based curriculum like Ibram X. Kendi’s work, and the “1619 Project.” Most state education bureaucracy is controlled by the left, even in conservative states. To avoid this and the pendulum swing of civics curriculum matching the politics of whoever controls the Department of Education at a given time, the government must be taken out of the business of rubber stamping and mandating certain civics curricula. Instead, private, nonprofit civics projects should be encouraged, and local districts should have the opportunity to make independent civics curriculum decisions that can be vetted and approved with parent input. 

I will sponsor legislation to rein in federal government input into civics curriculum and returning funding and curriculum discretion to local districts and parents. 

7. Revoke Visas for Students who Endorse or Espouse Terrorism

We’ve read the headlines of student protests and riots taking place across the country in support of the terror group Hamas and their associated hate for Jews. Many of these are often pushed and participated in by students on foreign visas with the encouragement of professors and the blind eye and deaf ear of administrators. In the interest of national security, I support revoking the visas of students who publicly endorse or espouse terrorism and using material support for terrorism statutes to shut the relevant organizations down. 

I will work on policy to revoke the visas of foreign students who endorse or espouse terrorism.

8. Protect Women’s and Girls’ Sports

Title IX created gender equality in education and carved out female athletics to ensure that women and girls could compete on a level playing field against their peers. As a physician, I know that biological and physiological differences between males and females necessarily require females to compete separately from males. But the redefinition of gender pushed by the far-left and the Biden administration are stripping women and girls of opportunities in High School and collegiate sports. We’re seeing stories across the country of biologically male athletes who were mediocre when competing against other males, taking trophies from the best female athletes. As the father of a daughter, I am committed to ensuring our girls can compete on a level playing field in athletics. Competitive sports is not the place for radical gender ideology. We need 1) state-based legislation to protect women’s sports, 2) federal legislation to stop the flow of dollars to schools that violate the sanctity of women’s sports, and 3) more transparency and accountability in the rulemaking process to prohibit the executive branch from making wholesale policy changes through “rulemaking” without public comment or oversight. 

I will support federal legislation to protect women’s sports.