By Doug Lasken
Many education activists were high-fiving in September when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finally attacked President Obama’s signature education initiative, the Common Core State Standards. It was a long time coming, though it hasn’t quite come yet.
The Common Core standards are national academic standards that will replace the often shoddy and substandard standards (if that’s not an oxymoron) of the 45 states and District of Columbia that have approved adoption. As someone who consulted for the Fordham and Pioneer Institutes on assessing the states’ English Language Arts standards in the run-up to Common Core, I can attest that many states have abominable ELA standards in which, often, a functionally illiterate student can be certified proficient in reading. Ironically, one of the causes of such shoddy state standards is the federal government’s last major attempt at reform, the Bush-era No Child Left Behind initiative, which enacted harsh penalties for states whose students do not test proficient in reading and math. The bar was set impossibly high, culminating in the Lake Wobegon-esque requirement that all children test proficient in reading and math by 2014. It should be no surprise that many states reacted to this unrealistic demand by degrading their standards to the point that the definition of “proficiency” would be low enough to escape the Department of Education’s ideological fervor.
via Romney’s right to oppose Common Core (even if wrong on facts) – by Doug Lasken.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee, tangled over class size, teachers, and education funding during their Monday night debate that was supposed to be exclusively centered on foreign policy.
Both candidates made it clear that they think a strong foreign policy begins with a strong economy at home, a premise they used to reiterate points they’ve previously made about K-12—and about each other’s positions and records on education.
via Obama, Romney Link Strong Foreign Policy, U.S. Schools.
During their second duel of this campaign, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday night framed the issue of education as an economic one.
The first question at the town-hall style debate at Hofstra University, in Hempstead N.Y., came from a college student who asked what the candidates were going to do to make sure a good-paying job awaited him upon graduation.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had a two-prong answer: Make it easier for students to afford college, and make sure there are good jobs once they graduate.
via At Debate, Obama, Romney Link Education to Economy.
In the first substantive remarks from the Mitt Romney campaign on No Child Left Behind waivers, adviser Phil Handy indicated that the flexibility granted this year to 33 states and the District of Columbia would be in serious jeopardy if the former Massachusetts governor wins the presidency.
In a substantive 90-minute debate at Teachers College, Columbia University that featured some pointed arguments and sparring, Handy squared off against Jon Schnur, an education adviser for President Barack Obama. The debate, co-sponsored by Education Week, filled in many of the blanks for those who wanted to know more about Romney’s positions on education.
On the issue his campaign has been most silent on — the fate of the waivers the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Arne Duncan have granted so far from NCLB—Handy didn’t outright say Romney would get rid of them. But he broadly hinted at it.
via Romney Ed. Adviser Casts Doubt on Future of NCLB Waivers.
By Kathryn Baron
Education has not exactly been at the forefront of the presidential campaign. It received far less than even 15 minutes of fame during the first debate, but stand-ins for President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney explored it in depth last night in a debate that revealed sharp philosophical and policy differences between the two candidates.
Jon Schnur, President Obama’s surrogate, co-founded America Achieves and New Leaders for New Schools. Phil Handy, Gov. Romney’s stand-in, is former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education and CEO of Strategic Industries. Susan Fuhrman, president of Teachers College, Columbia University, moderated the 90-minute debate, which was webcast.
via Stark education differences in presidential race, say surrogates – by Kathryn Baron.
Vice President Joe Biden attacked GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at Thursday night’s debate for cuts in Ryan’s proposed budget that Biden said would that kick 200,000 children out of the Head Start early childhood program.
The vice president also said at one point that the Ryan budget would cut $450 billion from education—it seems likely that he misspoke and meant to say about $4.5 billion, which is the figure cited in this White House analysis of the cuts. He also criticized Ryan for plans to cut a college tuition tax credit.
via Biden Hits Ryan for Education Cuts in VP Debate.
A Romney administration would mean cuts to early-childhood education, K-12, and higher ed., at least according to a new ad running in swing states by Priorities USA, a pro-Obama political action committee that’s running in six swing states.
via New Pro-Obama PAC Ad Slams Romney on Education Funding.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in his most detailed comments about education spending yet, pledged during Wednesday night’s debate with President Barack Obama in Denver that he would not cut federal education funding if elected—even as he made the case that he’s the best choice to rein in a mounting deficit.
“I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and—and grants that go to people going to college…I’m not planning on making changes there,” said Romney, who for the first time specifically addressed education spending—something he’s been continually attacked on by the Obama campaign. “I don’t want to cut our commitment to education. I want to make it more effective and efficient.”
via Romney: ‘I’m Not Going to Cut Education Funding’.
Earlier this week, NBC’s Brian Williams asked Mitt Romney about his plans for early childhood education. Romney didn’t spell out any new initiatives; instead, he focused on the role of parents, saying that it can be “extraordinarily important” for one parent to stay home with their child during the early years. More here.
That answer may have made folks who think the federal government should use the bully pulpit to encourage parent responsibility very happy. But it also raised some eyebrows yesterday from panelists at a New America Foundation event in Washington exploring early childhood education and the presidential campaign. Watch it here.
via Romney’s Comments About Parents, Early Ed Raise Eyebrows.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney already has a team of education advisers that includes some prominent names. Now his campaign has assembled a new posse of “national education leaders” who will “lead an effort to coordinate support for Mitt Romney and his bold education reforms that will put students first,” in press-release speak.
We’ll have to see what that actually translates to in terms of the real campaign, but everyone on the list is from a swing state—Virginia is especially well represented.
via Romney Campaign Announces ‘Educators For Romney’.
So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that there’s a huge teachers’ strike going on back in President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago. Steve Sawchuk has a must-read on this.
But how will it play in the presidential campaign?
Already, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, put out a statement saying he’s “disappointed” by the union’s decision to strike, and that Obama has picked his dog in this political fight (the unions).
via How Will Chicago Teachers’ Strike Impact the 2012 Race?.
President Obama argued that his economic policies would do more to protect the needs of students and schools than those of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, in a speech Thursday night in which he accepted his party’s nomination to pursue a second term.
Obama’s address at the Democratic National Convention stuck mostly to broad themes articulating his view of government’s important role in society—a role which includes supporting a strong education system, and the needs of impoverished students within it.
“I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs,” Obama said, offering a list of programs and services that might otherwise get cut, “all so those with the most can pay less.”
via Obama Warns of Ed. Cuts, Touts Vision on K-12.
College affordability, global competitiveness, and Republican threats to education spending were consistent themes for governors and other high-profile speakers on Tuesday’s first night of the Democratic National Convention.
“You can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education,” declared San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who gave the keynote speech, in drawing a sharp and critical contrast between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on support for schools.
via Speakers Spotlight Obama Ed. Initiatives, GOP Spending Threats.
The Common Core State Standards: A state-led effort to help improve learning outcomes throughout the nation—or “Obama Core?” It’s clear here at the Republican convention that there’s a major split emerging in the party on that question.
On the one hand, there’s Jeb Bush, a key Romney surrogate and the former GOP governor of Florida. He points out that a majority of GOP governors have embraced the standards. And then you’ve got Gayle Ruzeicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, and a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
via Common Core State Standards Dividing GOP.
The GOP platform released Tuesday at the Republican National Convention closely mirrors an officially nominated presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s plans for revamping K-12 education. It views expanded school choice as a major factor in fixing K-12 education, and celebrates local and state control while steering clear of getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education.
via GOP 2012 Education Platform Mirrors Romney Priorities.
The Republicans offered up a lot of tough talk Tuesday night—including battering President Barack Obama and teachers unions—as they hailed Mitt Romney as their newly nominated candidate for president.
By far the sharpest attacks in a long night of speeches at the Republican National Convention came from Gov. Chris Christie, of New Jersey, whose fire-breathing keynote speech attacked the educational establishment, especially teachers unions.
via Teachers Unions, Federal Spending Slammed at GOP Convention.
President Barack Obama spent a lot of his first term focusing on education policy, but voters have barely heard anything about it this election season.
That changed yesterday in Nevada, when Obama gave what’s probably his most significant speech on the issue during the campaign, bragging about everything from the administration’s plan to offer states waivers from pieces of the No Child Left Behind law to the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
via Obama Talks Waivers, Common Core on the Campaign Trail.
Less than a week after presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney tapped Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address to warn the nation of the potentially dire impact of Ryan’s budget on K-12 funding.
The Ryan plan, which has been approved twice by the U.S. House of Representatives, would result in a $2.7 billion cut to Title I grants for disadvantaged students. That cut alone could result in 38,000 job losses, the White House reported.
“That’s backwards. That’s wrong. That plan doesn’t invest in our future; it undercuts our future,” said President Obama. “If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible—from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.”
via Obama: Ryan Budget ‘Wrong’ Direction for K-12 Funding.
Gov. Mitt Romney this morning announced that he’s tapping Rep. Paul Ryan , R-Wis., for vice president, a move that puts the debate over how best to put the nation’s fiscal house in order front-and-center in the presidential campaign.
Ryan’s controversial budget blueprint, which has been passed by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, would seek big cuts to discretionary spending (which includes most education programs). In fact, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the budget could have “disastrous consequences for America’s children.”
via Romney’s VP Pick of Paul Ryan Puts Spending Debate in the Spotlight.
It’s official now: presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to attach federal Title I and IDEA dollars to individual students, according to his remarks in Washington on Wednesday and his “A Chance for Every Child” plan for reforming education.
The proposal would give low-income students and students with disabilities the chance to pick which school they attend from among regular public schools, charter schools, and private schools, in states where that would be allowed by state law. (This is what my colleague Alyson Klein and I guessed from another document the Romney camp was circulating over the weekend.) Students could also use the money to pay for tutoring or online classes.
But it appears Romney didn’t consult with special education advocacy groups before making his pitch. While special education vouchers have grown in popularity in recent years, the number of programs is small, and the number of participants is also tiny.