On a special Thanksgiving edition of Face the Nation, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CBS's Bob Schieffer that the U.S. public school system is the nation's largest problem.
"Because with the failing public schools, I worry that the way that my grandparents got out of poverty," Rice said. "The way that my parents became educated, is just not gonna be there for a whole bunch of kids."
Rice went on to say the system's shortcomings, combined with poverty and racial divide, will cause serious problems in the future.
"I think it's gonna drive us into class warfare like we've never seen," she said. "Because education, even in the segregated South, was always the way that you got out."
Also on the program last week, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul highlighted his criticisms of the system, and offered a solution: limiting the federal role in public education.
"The money isn't there. These are departments that are doing too much. The American people are sick and tired of our educational system," Paul told Schieffer.
Similarly, Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently spoke out on his proposed plan to get rid of the entire Department of Education.
"We'll eliminate agencies that perform redundant functions," the Republican candidate said. "Get rid of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy." Perry said in a speech in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Perry shares this view with other GOP hopeful Michele Bachmann.
"The Constitution does not specifically enumerate nor does it give to the federal government the role and duty to superintend over education," Bachmann said at the Palmetto Freedom Forum in South Carolina in September.
"That historically has been held by the parents and by local communities and by state government. To put that into the federal government as we saw a Department of Education in the late 1970s has eviscerated the constitutional understanding that the control of education truly lies with the parents."