Ben Carson denied Tuesday that he supports the redistribution of public funds to fund public education, despite comments in a 2014 interview that indicated otherwise.
“If you happen to be in an affluent community, there’s a lot more money for the schools, better facilities, everything. All that does is perpetuate the situation,” he said in an interview with Politico published in April 2014. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?”
But confronted about the comments in a recent interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Carson said he was talking about schools specifically serving poor students.
“I’m talking about the fact that there are a lot of public schools that exist in areas that are economically deprived that don’t have the facilities that are necessary to provide the best education for our children,” said Carson, who attended inner city public schools in Detroit.
Carson said the government has “a responsibility to educate everyone and looking at the best system in order to do that.”
“I think it’s very different than a situation where someone is working hard, is making a lot of money, is providing a lot of jobs and is contributing to the fabric of America, and us going along and saying, ‘Well, this one, he has too much, and this guy over here, he has too little, so let’s just take this one’s and give it to that one.’ That’s much more arbitrary,” he said.
“We are talking about the entire nation,” Carson told Tapper when he was pushed about whether spreading money to promise education is different than the principle of redistribution of wealth on an individual level. “And we’re talking about what makes us competitive in the world. And the great divide between the haves and the have-nots is education. That’s very different than redistributing funding because you think it’s the social thing to do.”
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Carson further pushed back on the idea he favors the redistribution of wealth to pay for education.
“I do not support the national pooling of property tax receipts. That is a falsehood,” he said.
Carson wrote that he does support government funding for schools serving poor students in urban and rural areas.
“Education is the key to unlocking the enormous potential of our students. I support Title 1 funding to raise up poor inner-city and rural schools to a level where these children can get the education they deserve,” he wrote. “My support has absolutely nothing to do with property tax payments used to fund our schools.”