The Founding Fathers Promoted Public Education But Rafael Cruz Says it’s a Commie Plot

Ted Cruz’s Christian dominionist father, Rafael Cruz, said in an interview on Breitbart News Daily Thursday that public education is a communist plot.

And not only that, but he falsely claimed the public school system was created by “a member of the American Communist Party,” John Dewey – who happens to have been a staunch anti-communist.

Take a listen courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

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Dewey was so anti-communist in fact that he not only founded the Committee for Cultural Freedom – an anti-communist organization – but said “known Communists should not be permitted to teach children.”

It seems Rafael Cruz is as ignorant of American history as any Barton-era Republican, where willful ignorance is the norm. His ignorance is even further pronounced by repeating the false claim that common core is the federal government imposing its will on the states.

According to the elder Cruz, Common Core “is about redefining education, redefining history and attempting to brainwash kids with a secularist view of history which denies the fundamental principles that have made America great.”

On a broader scale, his claims become even more interesting when you consider the fact that a public education was the idea of the Founding Fathers, not Karl Marx. The Founding Fathers believed in education.

Gordon S. Wood writes in The Idea of America (2011):

Unlike in England where conservative aristocrats opposed educating the masses for fear of breeding dissatisfied employees and social instability, American elites wholeheartedly endorsed education for ordinary people. American leaders issues a torrent of speeches and writings on the importance of popular education that has rarely been matched in American history or in the history of any other country.[1]

Speaking on the House floor in 1792, James Madison said “the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union” were “provisions for the general welfare.” Not, it might be noted, a communist plot.

Adams wrote that,

“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

In his Thoughts on Government (1776), Adams argued that no expense should be spared:

“Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.”

Remember how Rafael Cruz attacked secular education? None other than Jefferson wanted to sever the links between church and school and put education in the hands of political authorities, and he wanted a secular, liberal arts education to replace theology.[2]

Jefferson argued for public education in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1782):

The ultimate result of the whole scheme of education would be the teaching all the children of the state reading, writing, and common arithmetic…Instead therefore of putting the Bible and Testament into the hands of the children, at an age when their judgments are not sufficiently matured for religious enquiries, their memories may here be stored with the most useful facts from Grecian, Roman, European and American history…

Jefferson wrote to Uriah Forrest in 1787, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

And it was not the Church, he said, that should be responsible for this education. A year earlier he had written to Wythe Paris:

“Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests & nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

George Washington also understood the value of public education, and argued for it in a letter to George Chapman in 1784:

“Of the importance of education our Assemblies, happily, seem fully impressed; they establishing new, and giving further endowments to the old Seminaries of learning, and I persuade myself will leave nothing unessayed to cultivate literature and useful knowledge, for the purpose of qualifying the rising generation for patrons of good government, virtue and happiness.”

Assemblies in the new nation were giving endowments – public money – for public education. Where o where did this money come from?

That’s right. Taxes. In other words, the government. Which is not synonymous with communism.

It is pretty clear that Rafael should stick to religion. He clearly did not bother to learn any American history when he arrived here, or if he did, has chosen to blatantly ignore it. The Founding Fathers – the guys who gave us this country – were very clear on the need for publicly funded schools to education our children, without which we would not remain free.

Rafael Cruz told Breitbart’s Stephen K. Bannon that “It was the church that elected Ronald Reagan” in 1980, and “we can do it again,” not only comparing his son to Ronald Reagan but also falsely claiming a victory for the Religious Right that was not in fact their victory.

Still, given what you see here, it’s a rather frightening image, and it is Rafael’s goal: to put his religious-extremist son – and not some other religious extremist – in the White House. Never mind that even Reagan would blanch at some of the things coming out of Ted’s mouth.

The very fact that freedom-hating Republican demagogues now want to deprive us of publicly funded schools, to take money away from the colleges the Founding Fathers lavished their attention upon, and upon which they expressed their hopes for America’s future, only goes to show how wise – and prescient – they were.


[1] Gordon S. Wood. The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (The Penguin Press, 2011), p. 281.
[2] Darren Staloff, “The politics of pedagogy: Thomas Jefferson and the education of a democratic citizenry,” in The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Jefferson, ed. Frank Shuffleton (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 134.

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