(CNSNews.com) - "The most important reform we can do in education after getting the federal government out of it is expand school choice," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said at Thursday's CNN-hosted debate at the University of Miami. He called for the expansion of charter schools, home schooling, vouchers and scholarships.
"Common Core is a disaster," Cruz said, referring to the education standards the Obama administration has pressed the states to adopt.
"And if I am elected president, in the first days as president, I will direct the Department of Education that Common Core ends that day."
Cruz said the Obama administration abused its executive power by using federal funds "to effectively blackmail and force the states to adopt Common Core. Now, the one silver lining of Obama abusing executive power is that everything done with executive power can be undone with executive power, and I intend to do that," he said.
"Beyond that, though, I intend to work to abolish the federal Department of Education and send education back to the states and back to the local governments.
"And let me say finally, the most important reform we can do in education after getting the federal government out of it, is expand school choice -- expand charter schools and home schools and private schools and vouchers, and scholarships. And give every child -- African American, Hispanic -- every child in need an opportunity to access to a quality education."
Trump turns to Carson
Donald Trump said he also opposes Common Core: "I want local education," Trump said. "I want the parents, and I want all of the teachers, and I want everybody to get together around a school and to make education great."
Trump hinted that if he's elected, he'll make room for his former rival Dr. Ben Carson in his cabinet.
"I was with Dr. Ben Carson today, who is endorsing me, by the way, tomorrow morning, and he is...We were talking. We spoke for over an hour on education. And he has such a great handle on it. He wants competitive schools. He wants a lot of different things that are terrific, including charter schools, by the way, that the unions are fighting like crazy. But charter schools work and they work very well.
"So there are a lot of things. But I'm going to have Ben very involved with education, something that's an expertise of his."