Aggregator • Hyscience • ID=78631
Mitt Romney spoke at the Latino Coalition's 2012 Small Business Summit Luncheon at the US Chamber of Commerce today. After making a few comments about jobs and and the business climate -- he got right down to speaking about education in America, pulling no punches, and taking shots directly at the NEA (hat tip - Mark Lowe).
Here are a few key excerpts to pique your interest:
[T]oday, too many dreams are never realized because our education system is failing.
rs ago, our nation pioneered public education. We've now fallen way behind.
Among developed countries, the United States comes in 14th of 34 in reading, 17th of 34 in science, and an abysmal 25th out of 34 in math.
Our public education system is supposed to ensure that every child gets a strong start in life. Yet, one in four students fails to attain a high school degree. And in our major cities, half of our kids won't graduate. Imagine that.
Imagine if your enterprise had a 25% to 50% failure rate in meeting its primary goal. You would consider that a crisis. You would make changes, and fast. Because if you didn't, you'd go out of business.
But America's public education establishment shows no sense of urgency. Instead, there is a fierce determination to keep things the way they are.
Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America's minority children suffer the most. This is the civil-rights issue of our era. It's the great challenge of our time.
... First, I will expand parental choice in an unprecedented way. Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don't meet their needs. And for too long, we've merely talked about the virtues of school choice.
As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it.
To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice. In addition, digital learning options must not be prohibited. And charter schools or similar education choices must be scaled up to meet student demand.
Instead of eliminating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as President Obama has proposed, I will expand it to offer more students a chance to attend a better school. It will be a model for parental choice programs across the nation.
... The teachers unions don't fight for our children. That's our job. And our job keeps getting harder because the unions wield outsized influence in elections and campaigns.
Annually, many teachers are forced to pay almost $1,000 in union dues. The two major teachers unions take in $600 million each year. That' more revenue than both of the political parties combined.
In 2008, the National Education Association spent more money on campaigns than any other organization in the country. And 90% of those funds went to Democrats.
... The President can't have it both ways: He can't talk up reform, while indulging the groups that block it. He can't be the voice of disadvantaged public-school kids, and the protector of special interests.
President Obama has made his choice, and I have made mine: As president, I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won't let any special interest get in the way.
We have to stop putting campaign cash ahead of our kids.Take the time to read much more here.
From the tone and content of his speech, it's very clear that we can expect to see a much improved education system under a President Romney, as compared to the Third World-approaching system that we now have. As Romney aptly points out in his speech, doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is not only bad business ... it makes for a poor education system as well. As for his emphasis on school choice, I do take issue with his seemingly making it available only to low-income and special needs students. School choice should be available to all students, regardless of economic status or whether or not they have special needs.
As Lance T. Izumi, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, has pointed out, vouchers for all students, regardless of status, of form of the voucher, will ensure taxpayer savings, either through lower government per-pupil spending or lower facilities costs, and greater competition in the education marketplace. As a result of increased competition, there will be incentive for public schools to improve their performance and run more efficiently. Teachers unions, of course, will oppose reform ... and their motivation is simple: maintain the status quo -- and the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in dues. Meanwhile, union leaders' suggestions for reform are best summarized as "more money to hire more teachers," who are then likely to become dues-paying union members. Until Big Labor's influence over education is diminished, reform will remain elusive ... which is why voters need to elect more governors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker ... and yes, Mitt Romney as president.
Related video: Stanford Professor: Big Labor is why years & $billions have failed to fix Education
Suggested reading: Teachers Unions Oppose Education Reform
Other related videos: Leaving Children Behind: Teacher Unions vs. School Choice