Romney calls for more school choice
May 23rd, 2012
02:22 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney calls for more school choice

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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Filed under: 2012 • Education • Mitt Romney
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    romney is going to win.

    May 23, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. edward

    romney going to win.

    May 23, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Hold on...lemme get out my Deputy Doublethink to plain-speak Rosetta we go:

    "We need to create a system for funneling children away from public schools so we can eviscerate the public teacher's union."

    May 23, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Expat American

    Romney should know by now that the GOP is not concerned with Education....

    May 23, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Talk about pandering for votes. This is a man who has spent his entire career pushing the middle class toward the poverty line and now he wants the nation to believe he cares about people with less money than him???? Give me a break!

    May 23, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    "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."

    Translation: Just another word salad empty promise as Mittens starts his national sucking-up trying to get people to look past the FACT that if he were POTUS, he'd be another puppet like GW, promoting the same failed Repub policies that got our country into a mess in the first place.

    May 23, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Tyrone

    Yo Mitt, we have a Prez that is the oppisite of you & actually Cares about the Poor & Disabled. Youre Lip Service is Makin your nose Grow all the time. You Love Raping peoples Pensions & having them lose Everything. You are a Slimeball!!!

    May 23, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Joi Gibson

    So they would provide a voucher that would fully pay for a private school education? without spending more, I find the hard to believe
    I do as well. That made no sense. AND this is not the "civil rights issue of our era." That is insulting especially since all his Republican governor friends want to gut education and its the first thing Republican governors attack in state budgets (Christie, Scott, Walker). If it is a civil rights issue, then does he agree with gutting state education budgets?


    May 23, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    So NOW that he's TRYING to become POTUS he cares? He is so obviously fake it's scary. Why no outrage about blacks being filthy rags? Take your concern and shove it Willard!

    May 23, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. keeth

    So the solution is to allow students to go elsewhere instead of fixing schools? Maybe if Boehner removed the $8 billion in DoD pork that was not requested, we could use that money to actually fix our schools? These people are jokers.

    May 23, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Do the right wingnuts know that spending under President Obama is the slowest in 60 years? GOP lies about government spending. But, as we all know, right wingnuts are wrong about every thing.

    May 23, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. PaulCat

    This is why you cut education, because its a civil rights issue or because it will put more money in your pocket once you fire all the teachers?

    May 23, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "Lis Smith & the Obama campaign come off as so petty and desperate. All they're doing is trying to demonize Romney: "He'll suck kids dry, too, just so the wealthy get more rich, leaving kids' corpses behind." I mean, it's just so transparently corrupt tactics."

    You are apparently aware of the proven damage your GOBP cult has done to the poor, the middle class and children. This needs to be pointed out more, as our so-called "liberal" media have been covering for the GOBP cult far too much. Well known centrists Mann and Ornstein have written about this, and the so-called "liberal" media refuses to cover the story because it's an indictment of the media's own incompetence, as well as the GOBP's.

    May 23, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Larry L

    This is just another attempt by the right-wing to get tax money directed to church schools. You'll notice these ideas ever address how poor kids are supposed to leave their neighborhoods and get to those schools – soccer moms? They also avoid discussing if the schools are required to accept all children, even with physical, emotional or learning disabilities – like public schools. The Republicans would love to see schools filled with healthy, well-fed, white kids from upper income families getting vouchers to reduce the costs of a private, religious education. It's just more Republican hate and racism...

    May 23, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    What happens if the only alternative school is too far away (think rural areas or a city without public transportation) for someone without adequate transportation to get to? What happens if 500 children apply to attend a school that can only accomodate 250? How do you choose which get to attend and which have to continue in their local public school?

    May 23, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. B.

    Romney’s -Choice- is another word for Privatize Everything including education to the end that the affluent can migrate totally from Public education which goes hand in hand with Gated communities.

    Another method of legal segregation that Republicans favor.

    May 23, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    Obama is all about public schools as being the best. Well, actually he is in the pocket of the National Education Association, the largest professional union in America. He fought hard for the $billions he has thrown their way in the last 3 years. Of course, very little of it made it to the classrooms, but kids don't vote.

    May 23, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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