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Former Sen. Rick Santorum Joins GOP Race for White House

Add another candidate to the already bursting field of GOP presidential contenders: Rick Santorum, the highly conservative former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, launched his campaign late Wednesday afternoon.

Santorum, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and in the Senate from 1995 to 2007 and unsuccessfully vied for his party's presidential nomination last go-around, joined the growing ranks of Republican presidential hopefuls that are trouncing the Common Core State Standards.

"Our children, well, they deserve an education customized—customized!—to maximize their potential," Santorum said during his speech in Cabot, Pa., at Penn United Technologies, a metal manufacturing plant. "The first step in that process is joining me to drive a stake in the heart of common core."

But that's where his focus on education started and stopped.

So where does he stand on education issues?

Well, he doesn't have a long education history, but while in the Senate, Santorum voted in favor of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, which was approved by big, bipartisan majorities. He even got an amendment included in the bill that called for biology classes to include discussion of the controversies surrounding some scientific theories (including, presumably, evolution). The language simply expressed the sense of Congress, so it didn't have major force of law behind it. But it still helped fuel the culture wars. More background here.

During the last election cycle, however, Santorum apologized for voting in favor of the NCLB law, saying that he was only trying to support former President George W. Bush's "signature initiative." During a debate back in 2012, he said he'll make up for his vote by working to repeal not just the law, but "all of the federal government's role in primary and secondary education."

Santorum is also a fan of school choice, free tutoring, and other options for parents.

As for immigration, which is sure to be a hot topic for debates, he roundly opposes the federal DREAM Act legislation that would give undocumented immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. a path to citizenship if they earn a college degree or serve in the military. Likewise, he's a fierce critic of state-level DREAM acts, like those in Texas and California, where undocumented students who have grown up in the states and graduated from their high schools are granted in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

In addition, Santorum—whose father was a first-generation immigrant from Italy—believes all immigrants should learn English. He does not favor bilingual education.

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