Romney's education positions

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Romney's education plan is embedded below. Obama's plan will be up next and then third party plans.

Note: Privatization means money siphoned from local schools and choice of charters isn't much of a choice. This blog argues that real choice means every family in every school should start having choices and that schools should focus on meeting the many needs of their districts. Schools should be democratic and supportive. Schools should be a resource for parents and children instead of manufacturing credentials and striving for uniformity of knowledge. This has not been done because compulsory attendance laws have created an enforcement and anti-family approach by schools that is the opposite of how a public system should work.  Mass schools are a new institution and homeschooling is a grassroots response to institutional misdesign and overreach. One example of this is the way choice is framed as being between schools only: choice within each and every school is not even on the radar on any political party.  


More at The Real News

From the transcript (snippets are out of order):
Now, the interesting thing about the Romney philosophy is allegedly the Republican party is a party of small government. This policy involves more mandates and conditions attached to more federal funds than under President Obama. But all of this is used to put more resources in the hands of parents to make choices, which will then also involve religious schools, private schools, and online schools.

JAY: So what's wrong with that? I mean, Mitt Romney would probably argue that the government-run system's dysfunctional, so why not let the parents pick winning and losing schools and let schools kind of be run by a marketplace that parents get to run?
NAISON: Well, my argument is public education in the United States is not broken. Our social system is broken. If you look at—if you take out poverty as a factor, our public schools compare favorably with those—with almost any other nation in the world. It's our unconscionably high child poverty rates, it's our high rates of imprisonment, it's our astronomical rates of youth and minority unemployment which create a context where schools in poor neighborhoods are under intolerable pressure. And by decentralizing education money, you're going to make the problem worse, because whenever you privatize in the United States, what you do is de-skill professionals and increase the wage gap between CEOs and workers. So in communities which desperately are trying to hang on to their middle class, you destroy public education and privatize and you're going to end up with the black and Latino middle class further diminishing, with wages and work conditions for all teachers to diminish. And that produces not only bad consequences for those neighborhoods; it produces bad consequences in terms of consumer demand for the whole of society. ...
TAYLOR: With the Romney's choice piece, it's not just school choice. But it's the key element to that is that it's not real choice, because you have to pass examinations, you have to meet other standards in order to get into these schools. So when you take the resources away from schools and you give them to parents, you're creating—you're worsening the school system, you're not making it better, because you don't have real authentic and legitimate choices for everyone.   ....
NAISON: The difference will be enormous. And I want to go back to something I said about what the difference between a non-unionized private or charter school is in terms of the administrative structure. You look at charter schools, their executive salaries are twice that of a school principal, and their staff salaries are lower, and there's huge turnover in the staff. This is what happens every time you privatize a public resource: CEO wages go way up, worker wages and security go down. And it's that process which has created the economic crisis we're in. There is not enough consumer demand in the society, because of wage compression. And this will intensify the very conditions that—above and beyond its consequences for education, it will intensify the conditions which created this economic crisis.
Romney unveils higher education platform | Inside Higher Ed: "The platform strongly criticizes the Obama administration’s “gainful employment” rule, which seeks to tie eligibility for federal financial aid for vocational programs, especially at for-profit colleges, to repayment rates on federal student loans and students’ incomes after graduation. While Romney does not promise outright to repeal the rule, he says his Education Department would focus on collecting and disseminating data -- not on “complicated and unnecessary” regulations. (Nonprofit colleges would welcome the repeal of some of those regulations as well, particularly the federal definition of a credit hour and the state authorization rule, which many fear will limit online programs.)"

Business - Jordan Weissmann - Romney's Plan to Save Higher Ed: Let the Private Sector Handle It - The Atlantic
Of course, there are some regulations that do stifle innovation. Consider the government's decision in 2010 to formally define a credit hour. That appears to be the rule Romney is suggesting we eliminate, when he argues that colleges need more leeway to award degrees based on demonstrated skills rather than the time spent in a classroom.  ....
The problem, which Romney's paper articulates rather well, is that time is an expensive and ineffective way of measuring achievement. Here's his take:
The current emphasis on time to degree, rather than measured competency, discourages more innovative learning solutions and continues the frustration of employers who are unable to fill high-skilled positions. Forcing students to complete a fixed term of study also drives up the costs for those who might need less time, while graduating those who have not yet obtained market-ready skills. Federal regulations and aid rules must change to facilitate instead of obstruct models that recognize and address this reality.'via Blog this'
The Romney Education Team by Daniel Luzer | Washington Monthly: "Well the system maybe “failing too many of our kids” but many of these people are very familiar to the GOP education types. These guys have “charted a new course that emphasizes school choice and accountability” before; a number of them are veterans of the last Bush administration and were architects of the No Child Left Behind Act."

120523-Education White Paper FINAL for PDF

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