Washington (CNN) – Calling the nation's falling educational standards "the civil rights issue of our time," on Wednesday Mitt Romney proposed dramatically expanding school choice for low-income and disabled children.
Romney told members of the Latino Coalition gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that millions of American children were "getting a third-world education," adding: "America's minority children suffer the most. This is the civil rights issue of our era."
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The GOP hopeful said low-income and disabled students should be able to choose to attend any public or charter schools in a voucher-like program, with federal aid following them to their chosen schools. The campaign also proposed allowing students to apply those federal funds toward private schools when permitted by state law, or to use funds for a tutor or digital course.
Campaign advisers told reporters the plan would not require new federal spending. They did not discuss the plan's effect on schools largely supported by that same federal aid.
In his speech Romney offered a harsh rebuke to teachers unions – suggesting those who sought to bar school choice might consider a different profession – and accused President Barack Obama of being beholden to the powerful union lobby.
"The president can't have it both ways," Romney said. "He can't be the voice of the disadvantaged public school kids and the protector of the special interests."
While he largely backed former President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind program, Romney did call for a simpler and clearer school report card that would be accessible to parents and the community.
On Thursday, Romney will visit a charter school in Pennsylvania.
The educational policy speech is the latest in a campaign initiative to spend each week discussing a new policy issue.
The Obama re-election campaign was critical of Romney's education proposals on Wednesday. Ben LaBolt, the campaign's press secretary, said Romney's remarks were "vague" and "detail-less" on a conference call with reporters.
"In order to pay for his massive tax cuts weighted to the wealthy, Romney would have to make massive spending cuts in our schools, higher education and our job training programs," LaBolt said. "Those are not the priorities the American people want in their president."
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The NEA will never allow that to happen, Mitt. They have to protect their deadwood.
So long as the federal Department of Education keeps trying to impose one-size-fits-all bureaucratic "solutions" on every school system in the country, "school choice" will, by definition, be limited. The Federal DoE must be abolished before the situation will get any better.
"Campaign advisers told reporters the plan would not require new federal spending. They did not discuss the plan's effect on schools largely supported by that same federal aid."
But, but, isn't the puppet master of the GOP that will be pulling the strings of Mr. 1%, saying they will do away with the Department of Education?
The weather vane is spinning so fast in the wind, I am getting dizzy.
I think its time the Mittster met Mr Daley & Mr Hoffa. Say GOODNIGHT.
Mittens supported the bail out of Wall Street and big banks, but places little importance on fixing schools. Mittens is a good little loyal puppet the the extreme right wing who see no importance in education for those who are not wealthy.
Don't you just love when the 1% pretend to care for the elderly or the poor?
Or when Mr. 1% pretends to have a heart?
Seems the bumper sticker cure is "vouchers" of federal money and just ignore the effects on the affected medical or school facilities.
"The GOP hopeful said low-income and disabled students should be able to choose to attend any public or charter schools in a voucher-like program, with federal aid following them to their chosen schools."
"Campaign advisers told reporters the plan would not require new federal spending.".
Yeah right. how come to give billions of school vouchers federal aid but the plab would not require new federal spending?
Are you guys Romney people serious? Ridiculuous. You can't have it both way. Either you spend or you don't spend on school vouchers. Disgusting this Romney and pals ideas.
Most public schools are controlled by local school boards and tax payers, not the federal government. Mittens should stick to destroying jobs in the private sector, and leave education to school communities.
Send them all to BYU.
""The president can't have it both ways," Romney said. "He can't be the voice of the disadvantaged public school kids and the protector of the special interests.""
HAHAHAHA. Deputy Doublethink strikes again. You can't support strong schools and education programs and support fair labor standards, salaries and benefits for teachers at the same time? Really? Interesting.
Mittens/GOP: "We want you to have a good education...maybe even become a teacher someday...but just because your educated doesn't mean you should get more than third world pay. You see, we want an educated, capable labor force, but we still want to pay it like it's illiterate and drooling."
Has Mittens attempted to explain how he plans on improving education while endorsing the Ryan Budget which drastically cuts education funding? Talk about not be able to have it both ways? Where is the press to question Mittens on this, where are they, some body please press Mittens to explain!
Bishop Pinocchio says He cares for the less Fortunite. Willard, You make me Laugh.
The day Mittens gives a freekin crap about the minority, disabled, sick and disadvantaged is the day he has the balls to show up in an inner city community, tell them his policies and plans and proposed solutions and then face their questions. Not a day sooner.
I have said it before this goof needs new advisors. The GOP has done nothing put cut funding for edication and allow states to lay off teachers in the states to balance budgets. Education is not a discretionary spending item. No wonder our kids can not compete on the global stage, because clowns like this just pander and give short shrift to the needs of teachers.
He isnt really proposing anything. Zzzz
There must be something that Mittens knows about, but he hasn't given us anything yet. Stick with a winner, Obama 2012.
Actually, if we wanted to make our education system better, we can get rid of GOP governors who like to cut education spending, create a war on teachers unions, and then blame teachers for the bad economy.
Education is like any other business, if you remove competition, you remove higher levels of performance. A voucher approach allows parents to re-allocate their federal tax dollars to the best performing schools, and thereby put poor performing schools on notice that they will go out of business unless they improve their product. This approach creates competition and improve standards. It is a logic, reasonable and intelligent way to go, so I'm sure the unions will be totally against it.
Charter schools are NOT the answer, so just giving parents a charter school voucher is not a solution. Arizona is full of charter schools, and a lot of them are nothing more than holding pins that allow federal dollars to be allocated to them for each student in the name of education. The standards in curriculum, teaching, and expectations of students are very low, and these schools produce very little good results.
Don't be fooled by this old rhetoric. Our education system needs more than vouchers to fix the problem! You'll have to do better than that Mitt before I will back you.
I just love how Conservatives always talk about school choice for low income students. Tell me Mitt and other Conservatives. What will you say when those low-income students choose the public/charter school in your community? You talk about it because you know it will not happen, but when it starts to happen you will be wishing it did not. Conservatives want school choice until it starts effecting them. I do not support school choice. I moved to my area due to the schools and my property taxes pay for the school that my children attend. I do not think it is fair to have other students come to that school when their families do not contribute to the taxes in that area. I agree that low-income area schools have problems but by doing this you are just spreading the problem into areas that do not have a problem.
How can a dolt like Mittens have so much money?
Atta girl, Flipper. When you can't run on Bain, the eonomy, job creation or the debt, create a distraction which has nothing to do with the most important issues on voters minds. Yeah, THAT's the ticket!
Private high schools usually give scholarships to minorities who are good basketball and football players.
Mittens has to stop acting like a spoiled 6th grade girl and step up with some real plans.
He is a product of a prep school. How does he have any grasp of how the public schools operate. Did his kids attend public schools in MA, where they are very good?