Presidential Candidates on Education: George Pataki and Lindsey Graham

With the 2016 Presidential Election less than one year away, we here at Certification Map want to help you find out about the issues that you care about the most. Over the coming weeks and months, we will walk through all of the remaining Presidential candidates’—on both sides of the aisle—views on education. Each week, we’ll look at two candidates, their background and some of their views and votes on education.

To begin, we’ll look at former Republican New York state Governor George Pataki and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina.

George Pataki (R) – Former Gov. from New York


Pataki served as the Governor of New York state from 1995 to 2006 and has the rare distinction of being a Republican governor of a blue state. Pataki’s campaign was dealt a heavy blow by being bumped off the “undercard” debate stage. Because he hasn’t held an elected office in a decade, many of Pataki’s votes and speeches have either come from 10-plus years ago or from little-covered campaign events in the past few months.

Pataki opposes Common Core and is a staunch believer in states’ rights, particularly when it comes to education. Many of Pataki’s quotes about education center around moving the decisions out of Washington and into local statehouses. Another one of Pataki’s big issues when it comes to education is the expansion and development of charter schools. In his 2006 State of the State address when he was still the Governor of New York, Pataki said, “Our charter schools have been a great success. Competition works. Now, let’s build on that success by dramatically expanding charter schools throughout the entire state.”

Lindsey Graham (R) – Senator from South Carolina


Graham has served in Washington since 1993, when he was elected to the House of Representatives. He’s been serving as a Senator since 2003 and is one of the few remaining Presidential candidates with Military experience, having served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988. Like Pataki, Graham was bumped off the “undercard debate due to low polling numbers. Real Clear Politics, a poll aggregator, has his average at 0.5 percent across the last five polls.

Graham’s biggest piece of education legislature was his sponsorship of a Feb. 2014 resolution denouncing the Common Core standards. Graham has come out in favor of homeschooling, saying at the 2013 Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina, “When you look at the outcomes of homeschooling, it will just blow you away. So here, you can take this one to the bank, you’ve got no better friend than Lindsey Graham for homeschooling as an option.” Graham’s other big issue has been in favor of school prayer. When he was in the House, he supported a constitutional amendment in favor of school prayer and has repeatedly backed initiatives for school prayer.

–Brian Weidy