On 23 May, the Romney campaign released its education policy white paper titled A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education. If you liked the George W Bush administration’s education reforms, you will love the Romney plan. If you think that turning the schools over to the private sector will solve their problems, then his plan will thrill you.
The central themes of the Romney plan are a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past 30 years, namely, subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school, encouraging the private sector to operate schools, putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program, holding teachers and schools accountable for students’ test scores, and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers. These policies reflect the experience of his advisers, who include half a dozen senior officials from the Bush administration and several prominent conservative academics – among them, former Secretary of Education Rod Paige and former Deputy Secretary of Education Bill Hansen, and school choice advocates John Chubb and Paul Peterson.
Unlike George W Bush, who had to negotiate with a Democratic Congress to pass No Child Left Behind, Romney feels no need to compromise on anything. He needs to prove to the Republican party’s base – especially evangelicals – that he really is conservative. And this plan is “mission accomplished”.
Of course he (and the rest of the right) want to gut public schools. An educated public is much harder to control.
The list of reasons to keep this man out of office is now about 1273 pages long.