Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney on Wednesday gave back-to-back speeches on education, revealed his education policy team and released his white paper on school reform. He also made strong statements about the current state of the problem, calling it the “civil rights issue of our era.”
Speaking at the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit, Romney said American students are receiving a “third-world education.” His plan, entitled “A Chance for Every Child” focuses on a voucher-style system for disadvantaged students and on transparency of teacher and school performance. “For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to the student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school of their choice.”
His plan also included the choice of private school where state law allows, or to use funds towards a tutor or digital courses and digital schools. The plan also seeks to “replace federally-mandated school interventions with a requirement that states create…public report cards.” He would also offer grants to districts that reform teacher tenure.
The plan also addresses college student loans. Even before Romney’s campaign events, the Obama team criticized the plan. “We saw what happened under Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts – class sizes increased and thousands of teachers were laid off, college costs skyrocketed, and graduation rates at community colleges lagged behind the national average,” Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith is quoted by the Boston Globe. Smith added, “Now we know that he would make deep cuts to education to fund tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”
AirTalk will dissect the plan.
Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow specializing in education, Center for American Progress; Former research director for Education Week newspaper.
Tom Luna, Member of Mitt Romney’s Education Policy Advisory Committee & the President of the Council of Chief State School Officers