7 Ways Romney’s Education Plan Would Destroy America’s Public Schools

Mitt Romney wants to destroy public education in the US and get rid of the Department of Education.

I am not inventing this: you can read all about it in his education white paper entitled “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education” with a forward by Jeb Bush, no less. If you believe that destroying public education as we know it and turning our schools over to the private sector will solve its problems, then this plan is for you.

The central themes of the Romney plan are a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past thirty years. Here’s how Romney is planning to destroy public education:

1. Subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school. Romney offers complete support for using taxpayer money to pay for private school vouchers, privately managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools.

2.  Encouraging the private sector to operate schools. To cut costs, Romney encourages the proliferation of for-profit online universities. Romney’s plan says that no new money is needed because more spending on schools will not fix our problems. However, he proposes to dedicate more taxpayer money to the priorities that he favors, such as vouchers, charter schools, and online schools.

3.  Putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program.  Romney claims that more federal aid leads to higher tuition, so he offers no new federal funding to help students crippled by debt. Instead, Romney would encourage involvement of the private sector by having commercial banks serve as the intermediary for federal student loans. Obama eliminated this approach in 2012 as too costly.

4.  Holding teachers and schools accountable for students’ test scores. Romney also wants more federal money to reward states for “eliminating or reforming teacher tenure and establishing systems that focus on effectiveness in advancing student achievement.” In other words, Romney is willing to hand out money to states if they eliminate due process rights for teachers and if they pay more to teachers whose students get higher scores on  standardized tests and get rid of teacher whose students do not.

5.  Lowering entrance requirements for new teachers. Romney takes a strong stand against certification of teachers, the minimal state-level requirement that future teachers must pass either state or national tests to demonstrate their knowledge and skill, which he considers an unnecessary hurdle.

6.  Eliminating the need to limit class size. Romney apparently believes that class size does not matter (although presumably it mattered to him when he chose a school with small classes for his own children).

7.  Eliminating teachers’ rights. In the vision presented by Romney, public dollars would flow to schools that teach creationism. Anyone could teach, without passing any test of their knowledge and skills and without any professional preparation. Teachers could also be fired for any reason, without any protection of their freedom to teach.

This is all very, very scary for us public school teachers.

As if that were not enough, Diane Ravitch, writing in The New York Review of Books, notes:

Paradoxically, Romney’s campaign takes credit for the fact that Massachusetts leads the nation in reading and mathematics on the federal tests known as National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

But Romney was not responsible to the state’s academic success, which is owing to reforms that are entirely different from the ones he is now proposing for the country (my italics). Signed into law a full decade before Romney began his tenure as governor in 2003, the Massachusetts Education Reform Act involved a commitment by the state to double state funding of public education from $1.3 billion in 1993 to $2.6 billion by 2000; to provide a minimum foundation budget for every district to meet its needs, to develop strong curricula for subjects such as science, history, the arts, foreign languages, mathematics, and English; to put into effect a testing program based on the curriculum; to expand professional development for teachers; and to test would-be teachers. In the late 1990s – again, before Romney assumed office – the state added new funds for early childhood education.

Candidate Romney should explain how privatizing the way we school our children will further his goal of “restoring the promise of American education.”

Here’s what John Adams had to say about public education (with thanks again to Diane Ravitch):

“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people, and must be willing to bear the expenses of it.. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Message to candidate Romney from an experienced educator: Restoring American education means supporting public schools, not destroying them.

What do you think?

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Jeremiah M.
Jeremiah M.3 years ago

I don't agree with how Mitt Romney is going about education reform, but I do understand where he is coming from. Our educational system has become ridiculously secular and immoral. Students are graduating from high school who can't even read, and since they have removed religion from school, students aren't learning ethics. You can complain all you want about religion in school, but unfortunately secularism offers nothing to students for teaching ethics. Instead they teach students to follow the letter of the law. Not because it's the right thing to do but because it's the legal thing to do. Unfortunately this does nothing, since if he people do not believe in the law they break it anyway. Many parents are opting to put their children in private schools, however the cost of those schools are very high and most parents have no other option except public schools. I'm jewish, for example. I do not want my kids going to a school where they will eat non kosher food and be taught that G-d is a figment of their imagination and that are traditions are worthless, and unless they give them up then they are stupid retards. I had to deal with that crap in public school when I was a kid and I would hate to put my kids through that. I do not agree with anything else Mitt Romney wants to do, but federal funding for private schools does sound like a good idea. Let the secularists have their free, and low bar education. The secularists got want they wanted, now their complaining about how une

Michael G.
Michael T.3 years ago

Here's my favorite YouTube Video of Romney butts run for the presidency.


Shelly Peterson
Shelly Peterson3 years ago

Romney/ Ryan want to destroy America and OUR Democracy and enact the Koch Brother's Empire!!!!..................VOTE OBAMA 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emily Drew
Emily Drew3 years ago

Sounds pretty scary to me

Bridget Bailey
Bridget Bailey3 years ago

His ideas for education are completely back-assward. I hope for everyone's sake he doesn't win...

Isabel Ramirez
Isabel Ramirez3 years ago

He's got to be joking. If this is honestly what he believes in, then I don't agree in any of his views

Sandra Streifel
Sandra S.3 years ago

American educations are getting more unaffordable, yet less exportable! Vote for Mitt Romney for proven losers like charter schools, cookbook curricula, and commercial colleges (they've already skimmed millions from government grants and loans). Teachers and their unions have helped us build a high-performing school-system here in Canada. Tell your politicians that standardized testing has left many children behind, and education is a vital resource for national security.

Stanley B.
Stanley Balgobin3 years ago

Sounds like a great plan to place middle class and impoverished students to the bottom of the pile of global education levels. A vote for Rmoney/Ryan is a vote for a billionaire like Adelson or the KOCHroach brothers, duped repugliscum voters are being conned to vote for a radical right wing agenda that places their lives at the bottom of the rubbish heap of society, and they don't get it.

michail azarniyouch

I stand by it romney the twit got another twit as vp running mate both belong in the garbage pale of history, but b4 that romney the twit needs to be sentenced in the courts for tax evasion and that money can be put to pay down some of the national debt.

Erin D.
Erin Hummer3 years ago

Donna F. Very witty. I like that.