Smith rips U.S. education department

Smith and Simpson
Bryan Smith, foreground, and Rep. Mike Simpson. (Idaho Public Television photo.)

Education made a cameo appearance in a testy debate Sunday night between the two Republicans running in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District.

Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith — who is challenging incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson, painting him as part of a free-spending political establishment — listed the U.S. Department of Education as one place where he would cut federal spending.

Here’s what Smith said during the debate, aired on Idaho Public Television and co-sponsored by the Idaho Press Club and the League of Women Voters.

“I have been against the Department of Education. The word ‘education’ does not appear in the Constitution. Education should take place between a parent and a child and a teacher, not bureaucrats and centralized planners from Washington, D.C. If we cut the Department of Education, and not only would get rid of programs like Common Core, but we could save $70 billion a year.”

Simpson did not address the future of the Department of Education, but repeated hailed congressional efforts to cut discretionary spending for four successive years. Education spending falls under that rubric. In the past, Simpson has deferred to the state on the Idaho Core Standards, which were approved by legislative education committees in 2011 and have support from Gov. Butch Otter and state superintendent Tom Luna.

You can watch this debate, and others, at Idaho Public Television’s Idaho Debates website.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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