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Republican Ted Cruz disparages public schools in bizarre rant

Cruz’s remarks fit into a larger trend of Republicans trashing schools and teachers.

By Jesse Valentine - January 16, 2024
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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is seen in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, September 6, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is seen in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, September 6, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said public schools are rife with “drug dealers” and sexual assaults “in bathrooms.”

Cruz made these remarks at an event in Canton, Texas to support Brent Money, a Republican lawyer who is running in a special election runoff in Texas House district 2. The seat was left vacant following Rep. Bryan Slaton’s expulsion from the Texas House for providing alcohol to and having sex with a 19 year old intern. Money will face off against fellow Republican Jill Dutton in the Jan. 30 election.

Cruz was discussing his support for school choice and vouchers which he described as “the civil rights issue of the 21st century.”

“School choice has been around from the dawn of time,” Cruz said. “The rich and the middle class have always had school choice. If someone’s rich and they live in a place where the local public school has a 50% dropout rate and of the kids that remain only 30% can read at grade level and there are drug dealers walking the hallways and their children are being sexually assaulted in bathrooms. If you have parents with money, you know what? Their kids are gone.”

Cruz’s remarks fit into a larger trend of Republicans politicizing public schools. In the last three years, Republican lawmakers have pushed bills banning books from schools, restricting teacher curriculums, and prohibiting trans kids from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity. 

Many of these measures were pushed by the far-right group Moms for Liberty. In June 2023, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated Moms for Liberty as a hate group. Cruz blasted that decision.

“Now the Southern Poverty Law Center is going on offense and they’ve decided to target Moms for Liberty. Let me say Moms for Liberty,” Cruz said on his podcast. “They are phenomenal women. They are moms who are standing up for their kids.”

A spokesperson for Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.


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