Democrats for Education Reform Statement on Romney Education Speech


May 23, 2012

Mitt Romney earns an A for his efforts to present his education plan today in Washington, D.C. but on content he just barely gets a passing grade.

Long on rhetoric and short on specifics, Romney made school choice, including letting parents use public funds to pay for private school tuition, a central part of his speech. He put much less emphasis, however, on making absolutely sure that a child gets a good education wherever he or she happens to go to school.

“The type of schools that get federal funding aren’t as important to us as what that federal funding is used for,” said DFER Executive Director Joe Williams. “This has, and always should be, about equity and ensuring quality.”

Romney seemed to be using the four assurances of Obama’s landmark Race to the Top initiative as talking points. Without acknowledging Race to the Top, of course.

Romney also paid lip service to ensuring parents get better information about their children’s schools, overlooking twenty years of effort at the federal, state, and local level to do exactly that. He just doesn’t seem to want to require that states or school districts take any action based on that data.

“If Romney’s policies passed Congress and were signed into law – the odds of which I’d put at about 100:1,” said DFER Federal Policy Director Charlie Barone, “families who could afford to kick in tens of thousands of dollars on top of the feds’ $3,000 per pupil allocation to send their kids to private school would do fine. The big question is, what’s the plan for everyone else?”

Also, don’t forget to review our recent policy briefs:
Mitt Romney: What Kind of President Would Mitt Romney Be on Education?
Why Ed Reformers Must Make Sure President Obama is Re-Elected