Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Romney to make major education speech: odds are what we'l get is warmed-over NCLB

Your first clue is that Governor Mitt Romney has nothing new to offer beyond more Federal intrusion into public education is that he's rolling out his thoughts on the matter in a speech today to the US Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber has been the major national backer of every top-down, Federally mandated education "reform" since high-stakes testing and national standards in the 1990s.  (The Chamber originally opposed NCLB because its accountability provisions were too "weak.")

Your second clue is that Romney has named a special group of advisors on education that include former Secretary of Education Rod Paige (the guy who brought America "No Child Left Behind"); at least six former Bush administration senior US DOE under-, deputy, and assistant secretaries (all of whom drink the proper kool-aid); and a handful of individuals who own or direct private educational entities who exist to sell consulting services or manage charter schools.

On the other hand, it's almost impossible to tell exactly what Romney might say about education, because--like pretty much everything else--he's held a variety of positions over time:

Mitt Romney:  It's Wednesday,
somebody remind me which form
of Federal intrusion into public
education I'm advocating today.

Romney's positions on education have evolved over time. He once supported abolishing the Education Department but reversed that position as a presidential candidate in 2007. At the time, he said he came to see the value of the federal government in "holding down the interests of the teachers' unions" and putting kids and parents first.
Romney also changed his position on the Bush-era education overhaul known as "No Child Left Behind." He said he supported the law as a candidate in 2007, but he has since generally come out against the policy many conservatives see as an expansion of the federal government.
Romney continues to support the federal accountability standards in the law, however. And he has said the student testing, charter-school incentives and teacher evaluation standards of Obama's "Race to the Top" competition "make sense," although the federal government should have less control over education. The campaign in recent days has emphasized his support for charter schools while governor of Massachusetts, a theme likely to play out in Wednesday's address.

In other words, while I will carry the results of his speech, the smart money bets that a Mitt Romney presidency means more ideologically and politically driven Federal intrusion into public education.


Ed Diagnostician said...

yep, EPIC-fail in wait.

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