Now this is a story all about how Mitt Romney’s education policy got flipped, turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how Mitt became the Prince of Bluford Charter School.
In west Philadelphia, not where Mitt was born and raised, in a charter school is where he spent most of the day. Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool, and getting heckled by protesters outside the school when a couple of teachers–they were up to no good–starting asking questions about class sizes in their neighborhood. Mitt got in one little policy fight and his media team got scared, and said “you’re moving back to the issue we call Obamacare.”
Okay, I could go on with the Fresh Prince theme here, but there’s actually a story so I’ll get right down to it.
While visiting Bluford Charter School in deep-blue Philadelphia, Mitt Romney spent the day advocating school choice and explaining his education policy. According to the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Romney “continued to avoid offering innovative ideas for education reform,” and instead spent his day at the school “blaming teachers and pushing a proposal that would funnel funds from public education to private schools.”
“Romney hasn’t offered any ideas that would help kids succeed in the classroom,” said Philadelphia AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz McElroy. “Blaming teachers is not an education policy.”
“At a time when school budgets have been cut to the bone, Mitt Romney wants to take money out of our neighborhood public schools to spend on vouchers, private schools, charters and other gimmicks,” added Jerry T. Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “Our schools need equitable and stable funding to improve student outcomes. They need collaboration, and not conflict, between teachers, parents and community leaders to improve achievement.”
The Philly AFL-CIO has provided us with a history statements on education made by Governor Romney, statements that are detached from the reality that our students, teachers and parents are actually facing.
Romney: “The Effort To Reduce Classroom Size May Actually Hurt Education More Than It Helps.” (No Apology, Pg. 216)
Reality: At Romney’s prestigious private school Cranbrook the average class size is 14 (Cranbrook Website), while the Pennsylvania public school system is 22.4 (National Center for Education Statistics).
Romney: “We don’t need to spend more on education. We need to spend it more wisely.” (Boston Globe, 10/12/94)
Reality: As governor, Romney used budgeting gimmicks that led to the layoffs Of 14,500 Teachers, Police Officers, Librarians, And Others. (Boston Globe, 1/09). In addition public school teachers in the United States spent more than $1.33 billion ($356 per teacher) out of pocket on school supplies and instructional materials in the 2009-2010 school year. (The 2010 NSSEA Retail Market Awareness Study).
Romney: “My best advice is find a great institution of higher learning, find one that has the right price, and shop around.” (Townhall Meeting, 3/12)
Reality: By the end of Mitt Romney’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts, Community Colleges Costs were “59% Higher Than National Average” and Public Four Year Colleges Were 34% Higher. (MassINC, Paying for College, 4/06)