Marco Rubio Thinks Common Core Is Harming Education. He Thinks Minecraft Is Helping It.

Sen. Marco Rubio connects with the youth of America via technology references.

Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Marco Rubio doesn’t think the U.S. needs a Department of Education, for familiar reasons. As the Florida senator and GOP presidential candidate said at a campaign stop in Nevada last week:

What starts out as a suggestion ends up being, “If you want money from us, you must to do it this way,” and you will end up with a version of a national school board. We don’t need a national school board.

At the same stop, he doubled down on his rejection of Common Core standards yet again, saying that he believed in “curriculum reform,” but only if it happened at the state and local level.


Did Rubio offer any less vague alternatives to Common Core? Well, a few days later, at a visit to a startup incubator in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rubio praised the pedagogical value of the online game Minecraft while pitching himself as the candidate who understood the delicate intersection of traditional and new economies. Rubio said at the event:

If you play Minecraft, you’re basically writing code when you’re converting a hammer into a pickax. Kids might not realize they’re coding, but that’s going to be almost a basic proficiency just because of the way they grew up.

At 44, Sen. Rubio is (with apologies to Deez Nuts) the youngest serious presidential candidate, so he speaks with authority on the necessary computer skills that will prepare kids for the future. He also digs Uber, hip-hop, and Netflix.