Santorum: Parents should run schools

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum told CBS News' "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer that the federal and state government should not be involved in educating children, but rather parents should take on that role.

Santorum was repeating statements he made in Ohio Saturday where he told a conservative audience that public schools are "anachronistic." He said public schools go "back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home-school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories, so we built equal factories called public schools.

"The federal government should not be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools," he said Saturday.

This statement goes further than other Republican presidential candidates who have said they want the federal government to pass on the role of funding and running schools to the states.

When pressed by Schieffer, Santorum said, "Local communities and parents should be the ones who are in control of public education."

Santorum (whose children are home-schooled) said schooling should be customized: "Everybody gets what they need. I have seven children. I can tell you each one of them [learns] differently."

When Schieffer said not everyone has the resources to home-school their children, Santorum said he isn't necessarily talking about home-schooling, but using public, private and Christian schools - and that states could help out with funding.

"It's one thing for states to help fund public education. It's another thing to dictate and micromanage and create a one-size-fits-all education system in states, and certainly in the federal government what President Obama is trying to do," Santorum said.

When asked what he would do as president, Santorum said he would "get the state government out" and put parents "in charge, working with the local school district to try to design an educational environment for each child that optimizes their potential."

"We are failing our society with having these high rates of drop outs and the people graduating without the skills, or frankly, without the value structure that's necessary to be able to go out and work hard and to be able to produce in our society and to build strong communities," Santorum said.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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