Mitt Romney wants to destroy public education in the US and get rid of the Department of Education.
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.
Romney appears to have little regard for teachers: in the vision that he presents, teachers’ rights would be largely eliminated, and 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.
At the Education Nation Summit hosted by NBC news in late September, the Republican nominee reiterated his disdain for the teaching profession when he called for restricting teachers’ unions from participating in the political process. He justified this by saying that Democratic politicians have a conflict of interest in dealing with teacher unions because the unions contribute so heavily to their campaigns.
From CBS news:
Speaking in New York at Education Nation, a forum sponsored by NBC, Romney told interviewer Brian Williams that he is not necessarily against a right to strike. “I don’t know that I would prevent teachers from being able to strike,” he said, adding later that “allowing teachers to strike on matters such as compensation I think is a right that exists in this country.”
The bigger problem, Romney said, is that “the person sitting across the table from them should not have received the largest campaign contribution from the teachers union themselves … [It's] an extraordinary conflict of interest and something that should be addressed.”
According to CBS, Romney said that “we simply can’t have” elected officials who may receive contributions from teachers’ unions negotiating with them.
“I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said. “I think we have to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns.”
CBS adds: “He suggested that money should somehow be diverted or cut off,” but — as is typical with Romney — “he did not offer details.”
Let’s clarify this. Romney, even under Citizens United, would set limits on teacher contributions to political races because they have to later sit and negotiate with those who may have received their money? (Point of information, Mr. Romney: that’s not exactly how it works.)
But under that same Citizens United, it’s OK for the Koch brothers to masquerade as a grassroots organization like Restore Our Future to promote their wishes through duplicity, smoke and mirrors, or for an organization like ALEC to push their agendas through members who actually serve in state houses and the US Congress, or for someone like Grover Norquist to have his no tax contract.
Billionaires, in other words, can contribute all they want to political causes, but a bunch of teachers, making a middle class wage should have the amount of money they can contribute to the political discussion limited.
And then there’s class size.
Romney has stated numerous times that class size does not matter (although presumably it mattered to him when he chose a school with small classes for his own children).
The former Massachusetts governor’s declarations that class size does not play a role in student achievement flies in the face of decades of research and the first-hand knowledge of educators and parents.
From Education Votes:
Referencing a single report from his tenure as governor, Romney said, “. . . within the normal range that exists in schools, it wasn’t classroom size that was driving [student achievement]. Nor was it spending per student.”
Dennis Van Roekel, a high school math teacher from Arizona with more than two decades of classroom experience, said Romney’s remarks indicate he is “oblivious to what is good for our nation’s students.”
Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, which represents more than 3 million educators, said: “Romney . . . proved he’s completely out of touch with parents and educators. He continues to insist that class size doesn’t matter.
Romney’s class size comments have become a staple of his on the campaign trail. And it’s a long-held position. Romney wrote in his book No Apology that “the effort to reduce classroom size may actually hurt education more than it helps.”
Teachers are a part of Romney’s 47%, for whom he has no regard.
Romney sees teachers and their unions as parasitic.
As a public school teacher with over 25 years of experience, I find his attitude both reprehensible and alarming.
What do you think?
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Photo Credit: screenshot from NBC