Mitt Romney on Education
Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent
Here is Barack Obama from the 2012 Democratic National Convention: "We can out educate and out compete any nation on earth. Help me give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job."
And here is Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention: "I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. An America where every child gets an education that leads to a good job and a bright horizon. Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance."
ROMNEY: We're going to have to have training programs that work for our workers & schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first, and the teachers union's going to have to go behind.
OBAMA: Let's take an example that we know is going to make a difference in the 21st century, and that's our education policy. Under my leadership, what we've done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states. And what I now want to do is to hire more teachers, especially in math and science, because we know that we've fallen behind when it comes to math and science. And those teachers can make a difference. Governor Romney was asked by teachers whether or not this would help the economy grow, he said, "this isn't going to help the economy grow."
ROMNEY: Well, the primary responsibility for education is, of course, at the state and local level. But the federal government also can play a very important role. I agree with [the principles of] Race to the Top, not all of them, but some of them I agree with. My own view is, I've added to that. I want the kids that are getting federal dollars from IDEA or Title I--these are disabled kids or lower-income kids--I want them to be able to go to the school of their choice. So all federal funds, instead of going to the state or to the school district, I'd have go, if you will, follow the child and let the parent and the child decide where to send their student.
OBAMA: This is an example of where our priorities make a difference. I genuinely believe Governor Romney cares about education, but when he tells a student that, "you should borrow money from your parents to go to college," that indicates the degree to which there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks just don't have that option.
ROMNEY: Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane, but not to your own facts. I'm not going to cut education funding. I don't have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people going to college. I don't want to cut our commitment to education. I wanted to make it more effective and efficient. And I don't just talk about it. Massachusetts schools are ranked #1 in the nation. This is not because I didn't have commitment to education. It's because I care about education for all of our kids.
Under that program, those who graduated from high school and passed our graduation exam, those who passed it in the top quarter of their high school got a four-year tuition free ride to the Massachusetts institutions of higher learning that are public. So I care. I care about your education and helping people of modest means get a good education and we'll continue a Pell Grant program.
A: We're going to continue a Pell Grant program. [Paul Ryan's] Republican budget called for a Pell Grants being capped out at their current high level. My inclination would be to have them go with the rate of inflation. I think it's important in higher education that we get serious about the fact that the inflation of tuition has been much faster than inflation generally. And my view is we have to hold down the rate of tuition increases and fee increases in higher education. We've got to find a way to keep those costs down and we'll be able to keep up with costs by having Pell Grants grow at the rate of inflation.
A: The best thing I can do for young people graduating is make sure that when you get out, you have a job. That's a key thing. Because right now, half the kids in this country that are graduating from college, half couldn't find a job or a job consistent with their college degree. We've always, as a nation, snapped up young people coming out of college. But that's changed in these last few years. And so the best thing I can do is not to [say], "Hey, I'll loan you more money." I don't want to overwhelm you with debts. I want you to make sure you can pay back the debts you've already got and that will happen with good jobs.
A: The education challenges America faces are not new. Since "A Nation at Risk" was published almost thirty years ago, our country has understood the urgent need for reform. Recent test results showing US students lagging behind their international peers are unacceptable in their own right, and a sobering warning of a potential decline threatening our nation's future. Politicians have attempted to solve these problems with more spending. But while America's spending per student is among the highest in the world, our results lag far behind. We spend nearly two-and-a-half times as much per pupil today, in real terms, as in 1970, but high school achievement and graduation rates have stagnated. Higher spending rarely correlates with better results. Even the liberal Center for American Progress acknowledged that in a recent report.
He did it in Massachusetts, where he guided a state from economic crisis to unemployment of just 4.7%.
Under Mitt, Massachusetts's schools were the best in the nation. The best. He started the John and Abigail Adams scholarships, which give the top 25% of high school graduates a four-year tuition-free scholarship.
This is the man America needs.
Romney vs. Perry on Social Issues
ROMNEY: Let me tell you what I think I would do. One, education has to be held at the local and state level, not at the federal level. We need get the federal government out of education. And secondly, all the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that's promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers. We looked at what drives good education in our state, what we found is the best thing for education is great teachers, hire the very best and brightest to be teachers, pay them properly, make sure that you have school choice, test your kids to see if they are meeting the standards that need to be met, and make sure that you put the parents in charge. And as president I will stand up to the National Teachers Unions.
ROMNEY: I'm not sure exactly what he's saying. I don't support any particular program that he's describing. I think the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is doing a good thing by saying, "You know what? We should insist that teachers get evaluated and that schools have the opportunity to see which teachers exceeding and which ones are failing and that teachers that are not successful are removed from the classroom." Those ideas by Secretary Duncan, that is a lot better than what the president did which is cutting off school choice in the Washington, D.C. schools. So let's give us a full chance to talk about it.
While our annual number of degrees has hovered around 7,000 to 8,000, China's has risen from 1,784 to 12,130--50% greater than ours. This is a stunning reversal of global preeminence in the priority attached to the highest level of educational attainment. Not surprisingly, China, Japan, and Taiwan claim a growing share of the world's patents.
The minority proportion of the US population is projected to rise from 26% today to 34% by 2030, and if the achievement gap and dropout rate among minorities continues, the average educational level of the nation's entire workforce will continue to decline dramatically.
There is no greater indictment of American government than the sorry state of American education. It is an epic failure.
Objections to the graduation requirement became increasingly intense as the first school year of my administration was drawing to a close. 92% of our seniors had passed the test, and those who had not would be entitled to summer school and another try. The parents of the 8% of students who failed to pass the test were vocal & angry. Despite the program's apparent early success, the Massachusetts teachers' union launched a $600,000 ad campaign, calling the graduation requirement "flawed and unfair."
It is not the unions' job to fight for our children. That job is our job, and it's the task of the people we elect to represent us. Our elected representatives' role is to sit across the table from the unions and bargain in good faith in the interest of children and parents. But the teachers' unions long ago discovered that they could wield influence--and, in some cases, overwhelming influence--over the selection of our representatives on school boards and in state legislatures.
Students in several nations were tested in 2006. In science, the US ranked 29th out of 57 (49th %ile). And in math, the US ranked 35th out of 57 (39th %ile). In 2003 US students again landed near the middle, scoring 15th out of 29 (48th %ile).
A Romney campaign aide said the candidate was referring to a much earlier study in which the US finished 19th out of 21 nations in math and 16th out of 21 nations in science. But that study, the Third International Math & Science Study (TIMSS) is from 1998
It’s tru that Massachusetts school children scored first in the nation in the most recent NAEP tests, scoring a clean sweep among both 4th-graders and 8th-graders in math & reading. But MA also had ranked at or near the top before Romney took office, so he’s straining the facts to attribute the success entirely to “Republican principles” and his leadership.
Arkansas consistently scored below the national average before Huckabee came along, and on most tests it still does. But on all four NAEP tests, AR’s scores moved closer to the average during Huckabee’s time in office. Coming from below average to not-so-much-below average is significant. Whether that constitutes the “most impressive” record among GOP candidates, we’ll leave others to judge.
A: Well, we’ve got a pretty good model. If you look at my state, even before I got there, other governors and legislatures worked real hard to improve education. And they did a number of things that made a big difference. One is, they started testing our kids to see who was succeeding, making sure that failing schools were identified and then turning them around. They fought for school choice. When I became governor, I had to protect school choice because the legislature tried to stop it. And then we also fought for English immersion. We wanted our kids coming to school to learn English from the very beginning. We care about the quality of education. I want to pay better teachers more money. Teachers are underpaid, but I want to evaluate our teachers and see which ones are the best and which ones are not.
And let me tell how our kids are doing. Every two years, we test the kids across the country, the NAPE exam. Massachusetts kids came out number one in English in fourth and eighth grade, number one in math. In all four tests, our kids came out number one in the nation. These principles of choice, parental involvement, encouraging high standards, scholarships for our best kids -- these turn our schools into the kind of magnets that they can be for the entire nation.
A: Sure, quite a few, actually. One is No Child Left Behind. I’ve taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education. That was my position when I ran for Senate in 1994. That’s very popular with the base. As I’ve been a governor and seen the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the teachers’ unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference. So I supported No Child Left Behind. I still do. I know there are a lot in my party that don’t like it, but I like testing in our schools. I think it allows us to get better schools
"I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe," Romney said this week. "And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body."
He was asked: Is that intelligent design? "I'm not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design," he said. "But I believe God is intelligent and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body."
While MA governor, Romney opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes. "In my opinion, the science class is where to teach evolution. If we're going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that's for the religion class or philosophy class."
ROMNEY: I'm so proud of the state that I had the chance to be governor of. We have, every two years, tests that look at how well our kids are doing. While I was governor, I was proud that our fourth graders came out #1 of all 50 states in English and then also in math, and our eighth graders #1 in English and also in math--first time one state had been #1 in all four measures. How did we do that? Well, Republicans and Democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education principles that focused on having great teachers in the classroom.
OBAMA: But that was 10 years before you took office. And then you cut education spending when you came into office.
ROMNEY: We kept our schools #1 in the nation. They're still #1 today.
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AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
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