Team Obama expands education offense against Romney
May 25th, 2012
01:24 PM ET
2 years ago

Team Obama expands education offense against Romney

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's re-election campaign continued to hound Mitt Romney Friday over his position that smaller class sizes may not be a key component for quality education.

Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, where Romney stopped the day prior to talk with teachers at a charter school, leveled heavy charges at the candidate, saying his policies were "out of touch," "misguided" and "backwards."

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"He certainly left an impression here in the city that he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to education," Nutter said on a conference call with reporters Friday organized by the campaign.

The mayor also described Romney's meeting in Philly as a "drive-by visit" due to its short length.

When Romney stopped at a local school Thursday, he pointed to studies that countered common thought that smaller class sizes contributed to increased learning for students.

He cited a 2007 analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute that argues "evidence suggests that, except at the very early grades, class size reduction does not have much impact on student outcomes," based on the 112 studies the group examined for the report.

"Just getting smaller classrooms didn't seem to be the key," Romney said.

Teachers attending the roundtable Thursday morning quickly fired back, arguing smaller class sizes are always preferable to larger ones.

Piling on, Obama campaign officials on Friday pointed to other studies, namely the widely-cited Project STAR study in Tennessee, that concluded smaller student-to-teacher ratios benefited student learning.

Nutter, going further, argued one doesn't even need to look to studies on this issue, saying the concept should be common sense.

"Any parent knows that's easier to keep track of two kids as opposed to 10," he said. "Some of this is just common sense, so let us not get so sophisticated that we can't keep track of what is plainly evident right in front of us."

Earlier this week Romney laid out his education plan, which calls for dramatically expanding school choice for low-income and disabled children by using a voucher-type system.

Romney's point on Thursday, his campaign maintains, was the quality of teaching should be emphasized over class size.

"If President Obama is as focused on class size as his campaign seems to be, his outdated view of education reform puts him at odds with leaders like Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, and his own secretary of education – all of whom have said that improving teacher quality gives kids the best opportunity to learn," campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement Friday.

She went on: "President Obama should be ashamed that his campaign is launching such cheap political attacks at the expense of a serious discussion about education policy."

– CNN's Kevin Liptak and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Education • Mitt Romney
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. And now, a word from The Robot Rmoney.....

    "Look kids, getting a good education is very important; it's an investment in your future. So if you have to, get a job or borrow money from your parents,to pay for a good prep school education like I did."

    May 25, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Cedar Rapids

    "If President Obama is as focused on class size as his campaign seems to be, his outdated view of education reform puts him at odds with leaders like Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, and his own secretary of education – all of whom have said that improving teacher quality gives kids the best opportunity to learn," campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement Friday. "

    Sorry Andrea but talking about smaller classes doesnt mean you are against improving teacher quality as well, however Romney did indeed speak out saying smaller classes do not help. Do you see the difference?

    May 25, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Lewis

    As a teacher who has taught large classes and small classes, I would definitely choose smaller classes. It allows you more one on one instruction time. As a result, test scores improve!!!!! If Mr. Romney would like to see the dramatic increases in test scores due to smaller class sizes, tell him to get in touch with me!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Obama -- Our FIRST Cow Pie President, Served Fresh Daily

    Every Obama proposes involves funneling more and more government money to his union lackeys at OUR expense. The problems with the school systems will NOT be solved with smaller classes. The liberal run union controlled school systems, that we have dumped trillions into, is a complete failure. We used to have the best school systems until the liberals and unions got their grubby hands on them.

    May 25, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Myviewis

    I just read that Researchers feel that smaller classes doesn't necessarily mean better learning and that small classes are better and there is a substantial benefit for low-income students, high poverty communities but not necessarily for middle class students. Researches feel that the effectiveness of the teacher is more important, a more qualified, better experienced teacher. Research shows that smaller classes have led to the hiring of mediocre, underqualified teachers.

    May 25, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    She went on: "President Obama should be ashamed that his campaign is launching such cheap political attacks at the expense of a serious discussion about education policy."
    --------------------------–

    so..what exactly do you call Mittens' carpet bombing, scorched earth campaign in the primaries?? Good, positive discussion does NOT come to mind

    May 25, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. gg

    kind of boring with out the usual -religion and patriot thing

    May 25, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Squigman

    No republican should talk of education. The only motivating factor for this party is keeping the educational system to low standards, especially public education because people that are less informed are easier led, easier to control and the lies told are often taken as fact, never to be questioned. George Orwell, was ahead of his time.

    May 25, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. A.L. Keith

    It is so easy to blame one side or the other in the education debate. But honesty is lacking on both sides, just a bit more on the democratic side. Over the past decade we have increased the amount of dollars that has been spend on education, yet at the same time, scores have declined, our children still cannot read or add, we are constantly falling further behind on the rest of the world. Money, by itself, is not the solution. Getting rid of some lousy teachers and administrators would help but their union and democratic allies protect them. Parents also need to become more involved with their children.
    Both my wife and I are retired teachers. We took early retirement rather than waste our time in a system that was not interested in bringing out the best in children.

    May 25, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Obama -- Our FIRST Cow Pie President, Served Fresh Daily

    Squigman - keeping the educational system to low standards
    ==============================================
    Keeping to the low standards that the liberals and unions have brought them down to??? Sorry, but the liberals and unions don't need anybodys help in destroying the school systems. They are doing just fine on their own.

    May 25, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    "I read the comments and wonder how you prioritize the needs of this country. Education is a key point although it sho0uld not be a federal government issue but a state issue. Regardless, how in the wo0rld do you justify a man like Obama as President when he has no experience other than Community Organizer and do you not see him using this tool to divide the country and take it down. The Pied Piper keeps playing his song and the minions follow. Learn what you can about this man, look at his record and listen to all with an open mind. This country and our children are at stake. Can we afford the huge debt he has incurred in his 3 years as president? Don't think so! Oh but yes.....it is still all Bush's fault."

    Whew, that's a whole lotta lies and propaganda there, PAmom. I notice you hatewingers tend to post the same themes over and over. This leads to the conclusion a lot of our misinformed voters are getting their misinformation from similar or the same sources. That whole ("President Obama's $5 trillion debt!" has been debunked and your GOBP cult owns 80% of it. And like many of the spoutraged hatemonkeys, none of you has any examples of how the President is trying to "divide" anyone. Pointing out the difference between yourself and another candidate is not "divisive" in the absence of some further like, say, dehumanizing ones opponents, or making false statements to inflame passions. That would be the GOBP's specialty.

    May 25, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. winky

    Divide? The Gop has been dividing for decades know! Fear mongering was the slogan from 2000-2008 now DIVIDE is now the new slogan for 2012! Hey keep voting against your own interest if u want to just to get that blackman out if office. Remember Mark Rubio is of color too.

    May 25, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    "Over the past decade we have increased the amount of dollars that has been spend on education, yet at the same time, scores have declined, our children still cannot read or add, we are constantly falling further behind on the rest of the world. Money, by itself, is not the solution. Getting rid of some lousy teachers and administrators would help but their union and democratic allies protect them."

    You say you and your wife were teachers. If so, everytime dollars per student increased, how much of that went to you and your fellow teachers?

    May 25, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. NORomney

    Taking tax money for public schools and laundering for charter schools in the form of vouchers, whose track record is worse than public schools, is gutting public education in order to tear down unions (political enemy). This and only this is what attacks against teachers in unions are all about. Charter schools and private schools sound good, except that they do not have to take your child, and won't if your child is disabled, doesn't keep up, and if they object to your lifestyle. Vouchers are yet another way for the Catholic church to get into your pocket. (And God only knows what they will elimiate from health care if it is against their religion.) The GOP are in bed with the Catholic Church, and it is only about power. The kids are their last concern.

    May 25, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Michael Ioffe

    Let suggest we have one very good teacher with class of 100 students and five very bad teachers with classes of 20 students.
    I am doubt, that five bad teachers, which need five times more money for education could show results better, than this one good teacher.
    First of all we need to increase quality of teachers. Class size we could reduce, when economy will be better.
    It is not a common sence, it is reality of our lives.
    If, perhaps Obama, will came to school or university and make a speach for two hours-thousands of students will listen him, and result will be bigger than if 100 of teachers will spend with them the same time.

    May 25, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Tyrone

    I still believe family is off limits. Heres the problem with this though. Does anybody know waht his son does. Yea Run CHARTER schools. Here son here Americas Contracts for Charter Schools.

    May 25, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Mike C.`

    Class size is not the criteria for better education, educators that present informatioon that keeps the student involved and challenged them is the key. The Military trains young men and women in new and challenging fields in short time without regard for "Class size". and colleges limit class size only to the No. of seata available in the room!

    May 25, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Hey prep boy, I bet your class size was small because not everyone,is rich like you are and bullies are more prevalent.
    It turns out that the flip flopper's bulkying was just not against the gay student and cutting his hair. It turns out there are more troubling incidents and the sociorobulky was front and center and the leader of the prep pack.
    Unfoetunately, most od these kids that you saw for a nano second had more bumps on the road whether it's large size classes or being able to get a good lunch at school, probably thenonky good meal of the day, and your teapublikan posse want to take that away also. Education is a four letter word for the trapublikans because knowing what a complete waste of space you and your party are is not good for them.

    May 25, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Myviewis

    "keeping the educational system to low standards, especially public education because people that are less informed are easier led, easier to control and the lies told are often taken as fact, never to be questioned."
    ----------------
    Wait a minute, aren't Democrats more educated and have more college degrees than Republicans? and if I remember correctly it was Democrats who believed Obama that he could run the country when he had no experience, has never even been an employee in the real world, has never owned or run a business, never held a management position in the state or city? Yeah right.

    May 25, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Obama -- Our FIRST Cow Pie President, Served Fresh Daily

    Tyrone
    I still believe family is off limits. Heres the problem with this though. Does anybody know waht his son does. Yea Run CHARTER schools. Here son here Americas Contracts for Charter Schools.
    =====================================================================================
    The Romney family.... successful at whatever they do. Competence and success is in their blood! Thanks for that info!

    May 25, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Niuhc

    "* Some key Democrats say they have been dismayed watching Obama become a divider not a uniter, trying to incite anger among women, students and older voters."

    May 25, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. KWS

    I was in public schools with no less than 33 kids in any class until I was in high school, and we never felt crowded. The reason this MIGHT be a problem today is that the courts and liberals want us to teach EVERYONE, no matter their citizenship or language capabilities, at the same level. Even with that problem, only a small number of schools natinoally are really challenged.

    The REAL reason this came up? The population of kids is dropping. If you require smaller class sizes, you DON'T have to lay off teachers, AND the teachers get to earn the same money doing LESS WORK! Get it? GET IT?

    May 25, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. JustAO

    Everytime a democrat or President Obama and his team bring up these social issues that are tied to the economy and human rights, GOP counters the arguments with why are the democrats distracting the public from the economy?

    First off, look at the score board. GOP legislators started this dialogue when they pass/write laws to diminish these rights and funding to aid healthcare, education, energy, etc. They think we should privatize everything, write laws based on the Bible, and let the powerful and wealthy only benefit in America. That kind of thinking only works in undeveloped foreign 3rd world countries.

    Democrats start bringing this information up to the public because GOP legislators start these battles not by talking, but actual written down legislation.

    We look forward to the days when conservatives become irrelevant to the discussion. It's called evolution and things always change for the future. Get used to it conservatives. If it were up to conservatives, we'd still be riding buggies to work, the earth would be flat, and schools would be segregated. Thank GOD, conservatives always lose out to progressive thought.

    May 25, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. gar

    Romney's vision for the future of American education includes larger class sizes and returning the college student loan program back to the banks so they can make billions for providing no service. Why do the Republicans promote failure?

    May 25, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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