My View: Why Mitt Romney is a better choice for education reform
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets students at Fairfield Elementary school on October 8, 2012 in Fairfield, Virginia.
November 1st, 2012
04:21 AM ET

My View: Why Mitt Romney is a better choice for education reform

Courtesy Center for Education ReformBy Jeanne Allen, Special to CNN

Editor’s note:  Jeanne Allen is the founder and president of The Center for Education Reform (CER). The center was founded in 1993 to bridge the gap between policy and practice and restore excellence to education.

Schools of Thought has published and will continue to publish other views on this topic in the days up to the election.

“We can fix our schools because we don't get the biggest share of our campaign donations from the teachers' unions.”

This short, simple statement from Gov. Mitt Romney in an October 24 speech in Nevada sums up the real distinction between education reformers and protectors of the status quo, and reveals why when it comes to education policy, Romney would be a superior president - because he promised to put children, parents and teachers first, and to “put the teachers' unions behind."

The day has passed when that could be considered a partisan statement. We’ve heard stronger words, for example, from many Democrats, from former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein (also of the Clinton administration) to former New York City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz (now of Success Charter Network) who pressed the unions to explain why their contracts were protecting mediocrity instead of boosting high-performing teachers.  Pennsylvania Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams helped then-Republican Gov. Tom Ridge push through a charter school law in 1997.  And in 2010, Williams ran for governor on a platform of school choice. His core message was that parents and teachers should come ahead of unions. Sound familiar?

Education reform is not, by any stretch, a “Republican” issue.  The national Democratic Party has always viewed the education establishment as its bedrock constituency – from unions to school districts.  But it’s different at the state and local level, where Democrats often reject the status quo, joining in a diverse coalition of voices pressing for significant reforms at every level.

While individually most of those Democrats will vote with their party, they are nevertheless closer to Romney’s view of education than they are to Barack Obama’s. Many have confided to me that their hope is to change the Democratic Party’s culture from one that favors teachers unions to one that favors parents.

But we cannot wait another generation or more for that to happen.  Our children only get one chance at a decent education, and the clock is ticking. As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it, “Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.”

We are falling behind the rest of the world, and millions of students are stuck in failing schools to which they are relegated solely by virtue of their zip code.

So how, exactly, would a Romney education regime handle education differently from the Obama administration?  A number of ways:

Unions — It’s time to stop conflating “teachers” with “teachers unions.”  They are not the same. Unions and bureaucrats stand in the way of real education reform. President Obama could have spent the past four years calling the unions on the carpet, but all we hear from his administration are platitudes about “getting along” and “collaborating.” Romney has no such allegiance.

School Choice — Organizations like the Black Alliance for Education Options have rightly made school choice a civil rights issue.  But President Obama has resisted some programs that would provide such equal educational opportunities. His antipathy to a popular school choice program in Washington, D.C., which enjoyed prominent Democratic support (including then-Sen. Joe Biden) separates him from Gov. Romney, who has proposed that federal funds follow students to schools of choice if they happen to live in a state that offers it.

Charter Schools — President Obama and his administration emphasize their support for quality charter schools, but in the same breath say they are for “any school that performs well.” Performance contracts result in bad charter schools closing, but failing public schools get more and more funding under Obama administration programs. Such programs have favored the status quo while federal incentives for strong charter school laws have been ignored.  An authentic advocate in the White House could make an impact on how those laws are molded, resulting in more quality charter schools.

Federal Role – Gov. Romney recognizes that the purview of these vital issues belongs in the states, closest to the parents and students most affected. In the Obama administration, a state can get additional funds just by promising to create new rules and processes favoring union-district collaborations (as if that, in and of itself, leads to achievement). Romney’s approach would be different: show progress using any tool, and money will follow success.

No Child Left Behind Act - Before it was enacted, officials were able to mask the data that proved schools were failing despite billions of dollars spent.  A federal solution was no one’s cup of tea, but it was a response to state and local leaders abdicating their responsibility to make funding work for kids. But in implementing NCLB, rather than encouraging quality teaching and monitoring the results, school officials took the easy way, forcing teachers to obsess over tests. The Obama administration, responding to the outrage that resulted (“Someone actually wants accountability for results?  The nerve!”), has issued multiple waivers to the program.  But it wasn’t the law itself, but rather its poor implementation in the states, that caused the backlash.  That will no doubt be on the list of fixes for a Romney agenda, whereas Obama will continue to defer to the unions.  And if he wins reelection, the unions will further emboldened for having helped him to do so!

In the end, either side can enable or thwart the will and actions of local leaders and educators and parents. But no one can stop the tide of reform that has ignited a new generation of picky parents, choosy children and tenacious educators who find mediocrity unacceptable and know that no matter what their background or zip code, something better is out there waiting.

Whoever our country salutes on Inauguration Day, one thing is certain — reforms that center on choice and accountability must continue to rule the day.  Washington needs to back off and let the people closest to the children make the real decisions about their kids.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeanne Allen.

soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. rtrMicky

    In one breath you say " Gov. Romney recognizes that the purview of these vital issues belongs in the states" and in another you say " it was a response to state and local leaders abdicating their responsibility to make funding work for kids." So all of your logic just went out the window and pawning off education problems as well as other issues to the states to resolve on their own is ludicrous.

    November 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  2. Concerned Parent

    I really do not understand how an ANTI-Education Republican like Romney, who has admitted that he intends to DRASTICALLY CUT the ALREADY Inadaquate Education budget to the bone, could POSSIBLY HELP? Education in ANY meaningful way whatsoever!??? I think this woman is simply DELUSIONAL!...

    November 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • frespech

      Truthfully explain to me why a system that was able to teach effectively in the 50's,and 60's is suddenly (or not so suddenly) inefective or no good. Teachers unions have been present the entire time. So faulting teachers in my mind is really a scapegoat for lack of parenting and other social economic issues.I think suggesting the Union of teachers is to blame is an absolute red herring and in the interest of full disclosure I am neither a teacher nor have any family members that are. Thanks and have a great day. I drive a Chrysler and you may drive a Ford.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • jon

        You are absolutely correct. I also believe that the parenting issues are more to blame for this debacle of having poorly prepared students graduating (if they even graduate at all) from our school systems. When I attended high school, about 40 years ago, hardly any students dropped out (maybe 2 or 3%.) Now some of our local high schools around here have dropout rates of 25 to 40%! What kind of parents would ever let that many of their children drop out of high school???
        Dropping out of high school gives them almost no chance in the World economy, and certainly cannot be put at the feet of the teachers (unions or no unions.) The GOP always wants to get rid of unions (since Reagan's days), but that is just a whole other topic. Money and pay is not the problem here – it starts at home.

        November 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • Cathy

        That's like comparing apples to lemons – :

        http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp

        Further increases during the 1960s and 1980s brought the enrollment rate to a high of 96 percent by the late 1980s. The rates for 5- and 6-year-olds also rose, from 58 percent in 1950 to 95 percent in 1991. Rates those of college-age doubled or tripled throughout the 1950 to 1991 period, with much of the increase occurring during the 1980s. In 1950, only 30 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds were enrolled in school, compared to 60 percent in 1991. The rate for 20- to 24-year-olds rose from 9 percent in 1950 to 30 percent in 1990.

        By 1960, 42 percent of males, 25 years old and over, still had completed no more than the eighth grade, but 40 percent had completed high school and 10 percent had completed 4 years of college.

        From the middle 1970s to 1991, the educational attainment for all young adults remained very stable, with virtually no change among whites, blacks, males or females. The educational attainment average for the entire population continued to rise as the more highly educated younger cohorts replaced older Americans who had fewer educational opportunities.

        Percentage of persons 14 years old and over who were illiterate (unable to read or write in any language), by race and nativity: 1870 to 1979:
        Year Total White Black and other
        Total Native Foreign-born
        1870 20.0 11.5 – – 79.9
        1880 17.0 9.4 8.7 12.0 70.0
        1890 13.3 7.7 6.2 13.1 56.8
        1900 10.7 6.2 4.6 12.9 44.5
        1910 7.7 5.0 3.0 12.7 30.5
        1920 6.0 4.0 2.0 13.1 23.0
        1930 4.3 3.0 1.6 10.8 16.4
        1940 2.9 2.0 1.1 9.0 11.5
        1947 2.7 1.8 – – 11.0
        1950 3.2 – – – –
        1952 2.5 1.8 – – 10.2
        1959 2.2 1.6 – – 7.5
        1969 1.0 0.7 – – 3.6 *
        1979 0.6 0.4 – – 1.6 *

        November 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  3. bob johnson

    The Texas Republicans put in their state party platform that they do not want "Critical thingkng skills" taught. in the schools. That along with the fact they cut 5 billion out of the stste education budget and are working to cut another 2 billion out for the next budget cycle I don;t think rebuplicans are the best option for public education.

    November 6, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  4. Olive

    Yikes. I am a senior in college just finishing up a course on the election. This article is denying some obvious truths and ignoring the flip side of a lot of things, i.e., the negative outcomes of many components of Romney's education plan. This writer is obviously not writing for everyone but only for people like herself, otherwise she'd have had to think about the other side of the argument at all. I was searching for unbiased education articles for my paper and this sure is not one of them...!

    November 6, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  5. A Reasoner

    Interesting view of a man who doesn't let fact checkers or facts get in his way, leads a party which denies science and puts religious myth above it. How could he possibly not be better for education? O.K., other than not funding it...or programs to assist students...or...

    November 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
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    November 5, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  7. spouse of Professor

    My husband is in his fourth year of teaching Chem at a small liberal ats college... His job is in danger if Romney is elected. He wants to cut financial aid and says that class size doesn't matter. Anyone who's struggled through a class of 300+ knows it does!!! you are just a number, and you never get to talk to your professor, just a grad student if you are lucky! Small class size means everyone participates, has a voice and can ask questions. Small classes help everyone to better understand and utilize the information they are learning! Mr. Romney has two degrees from Harvard, but I doubt he spent a penny on them, or worried about how he'd pay for his education let alone all the other necessities! Maybe Mr. Romney should talk to some students who have been to small schools and/or students who have to pay for their education.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • jon

      Mitt Romney would actually be the WORST excuse for doing anything good for education.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  8. Matt

    I work in a school in which five under-performing teachers were dismissed over a three year period. The myth that unions protect under-performing teachers is just that. Lazy school administrators protect bad teachers, as they don't want to do the work to get rid of those who are not pulling their weight.

    November 5, 2012 at 7:15 am |
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    November 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  10. Alice in PA

    All I needed was to look for the buzz words to translate this piece into the drivel that it is. "Restore Excellence" implies that there was a golden time in education which is patently false. Since the dawn of international comparison testing, the US was never #1. This is because our education system is not like others both in its good points like fostering creativity and its bad like high child poverty. Next is the blaming of the unions. Using the only test data that exists for the entire nation, states with unionized teachers have students that score higher on the NAEP. Third is the reliance on charter schools. Study after study has shown that charter schools do not perform any better than our current schools and on fact a large number do worse, even though they educate fewer IEP, ELL and poverty-ridden children. The few that do better on the standardized tests while educating the same students as our public schools do so with extra money from people like Gates. SAT scores are either flat or rising. This is actually an improvement because more students are taking those test, not just rich kids. In some states, all students take the SAT, including those academically not suited to college. And yet the scores are flat or rising! That means that students are better educated than before, at least in whatever the SAT measures. The myth of rampant school failure needs to be publicly busted rather than used as a political football.

    November 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  11. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Raally, Ms Allen? You are obviously not a teacher and have no idea what education is all about. Saying that Romney is good for education is irresponsible and cinic. Republicans have done enough damage without pseudo experts like you.

    November 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  12. rosethornne

    What an extremely stupid premise.

    Robme is not better for anyone other than the richest millionaires and billionares.

    November 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  13. Galass

    I just want to know if this writer even looked at Romney's history with education during his time as governor. While he had policies, his unwillingness to actually work with others made his achievements very limited.

    Then, how about the fact that in a 4 year (48 month) term, he spent over 14 months of it out of state on vacation or setting himself up to run for president. He is seen as caring more about getting the job then actually doing the job in MA.

    Do you research on him, and see why MA dislikes him and his governing style (my way or else) so much.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/us/politics/mitt-romney-often-away-when-he-was-governor.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    November 3, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  14. steve weinreich

    Well, here is what it all comes downto: Who do the teachers work for? The school? The Principal? The Parents? The district that funds it? he students? All wrong. The teachers all work for their union...The union gives them their raises, persion, health insurance, sabbatacles, sick days, and sets up the tenure program wher they cannot be fired...Why would teachers answer to anuone else. They are the hands that feed them, watch over them and take them to a nice retirement and life free or worry of evr being fired like the rest of us.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • CarlosI

      Steve, it just goes to show how ignorant people without facts like to spew off and look stupid. First of all not all teachers belong to unions. Second, if there are any raises, those are given by the districts and many teachers across the country have not seen a raise in years. Third, health benefits are provided by the districts. Fouth, pension funds are through the state and when many teachers retire, they retire straight into poverty. When your favorite sports hero makes millions of dollars, and contributes nothing to the education of kids, I don't hear people complaining about that. And if they do any charity work, many of them do it because it's written into their contract that they must do it to support the team's image.

      November 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  15. harold

    My view is that Mitt romney should sell used cars.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VOE6JRfDs8&w=640&h=390]

    November 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • steve weinreich

      Brilliant answer. At least then hewould have a job. Unlike Our President, who never had one.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • harold

        Don't mistake me for pro Obama, but it comes down to who do you trust less, and Romney wins.

        November 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  16. professor_X

    I've been an educator (university-level) for nearly 40 years. The programs and plans of Romney/Ryan will drive our system even further behind than it already is. I'm thinking about retiring soon, but I pity the country if the corporatist, vo-tech plans of these yahoos come to be those of the nation.

    November 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  17. harold

    http://thinkprogress.org/education/2012/10/29/1103081/ann-romney-throw-out-education/?mobile=nc

    November 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  18. Mittens

    I taught dumb college kids in a Mass. Univeristy. Republican parents are the worst, teach your kids that the world is 6,000 years old and everything is the black guy's fault!

    November 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Michael B.

      @Mittens
      I am a Republican. Anyone who is teaching their kids that the Earth is 6,000 years old is naive and dumb. I'm also Christian. Only a radical few actually believe that the Earth was LITERALLY created in 6 days. But guess what? As a believer in God and the creation, I know that God's time is infinite. Rather, there is no such thing as time in infinite. So what, then, does 1 day mean to him? Every "day" in the creation could be a thousand, million, hundreds of million, a billion years. Why don't people understand this?

      November 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • harold

        I don't know why they don't understand it, but I can tell you for sure that there's a whole lot more than a few of them. Look at the supporters of Akin and Mourdock.
        And Akin is on the House Science Committee...

        November 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  19. Mittens

    Many have confided to me that their hope is to change the Democratic Party’s culture from one that favors teachers unions to one that favors parents.
    ====================================

    Parents are already a pain in the butt to teachers, most always say their precious little brat is always right, never the teacher. No people will want to teach soon, it is bad enough already.

    November 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • k_Daraa

      Mittens, while I can sympathise with you on some issues, it is clear to all of us, from your several remarks, that you looked down on both your students, and their parents. From this view point, much like humans walking over ants, it is easy to crush the ones beneath you.

      November 3, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • max3333444555

      The generalization about parents is as bad a generalization about teachers. Out of the dozens of teachers my kids have had there has only been one "bad" one. She wanted to send my kid to therapy because he "daydreams too much". I politely told her we would consider it. We did for about 1 second and decided that she was off her rocker. Hes now college-bound with great grades. i give credit to every one of his other teachers, none who ever had any issues with him at all.

      If a teacher of one of my kids sends us an email, tells us at a conference or sends a letter home we act on it.

      i dont think i am unique as a parent. i think most parents know their children are not perfect and that teachers want kids to do their best.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  20. PTA

    More for Students less for teachers.

    November 2, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  21. CALIFORNIA TEACHER

    WOW! Finally a good writer. We need you Mitt out here, there are so many lazy teachers collecting the check doing nothing. I bust myyself for that paycheck and LOVE teaching. We need help!!!

    November 2, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  22. landman2010

    Education has taken a back seat to politics and big business, fronted by Wall Street. Schools are Main Street and don't seem to get the attention they deserve. No child left behind is a disaster, and not because teachers are Unionized. They are poorly paid and get little or no support from congress, and will continue to produce poorly educated people untill a massive overhaul is done. Some one has to be accountable for the poor representation world wide. Infrastructure badly needed includes modern education facilities and a better support system for both teachers and students, and a little education for the parents wouldn't hurt either. They share more of the blame for not taking responsibility for their children's upbringing. Schools were never meant to be day care centers.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Teri

      You are absolutely correct. Educators are not daycare workers or Nannies. There was a time when a child who was in trouble at school, was in trouble at home. Now, if a child is in trouble at school, then the mean old teacher must have said something to upset "poor little Johnny or Jane." A couple of years ago I was taking my students out to meet parents at the end of the day. A little girl wanted to be first in line, but it wasn't her turn. She started to scream and cry. I ignored her and took the class out with her sobbing in the middle of the line. When her mother saw her crying, she turned on me like a rabid dog, screaming in my face about how I should have "more respect" for her daughter, asking "what kind of teacher are you anyway?" Other parents were stunned. The children were scared. I calmly tried to explain the situation to her, but she put her hand in my face and went stomping off to the principals office. THIS is why teachers need a union. In our society today, people like that sue teachers every day, for exactly that kind of "abuse." A union helps teachers pay for legal fe's. That is why most Teachers I know belong to a union, the legal protection they offer against a growing number of "helicopter parents from hell."

      November 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
      • max3333444555

        "other parents were stunned" because this is not how most parents behave.

        November 6, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  23. jean

    Be wary if your state wants to start giving out tax-payer funded vouchers. Louisiana adopted state-wide vouchers this year. It was discovered, after the fact, that a number of the private schools didn't have teachers, but used television sets and DVD's. In another instance, it was found that one of the schools didn't teach science, supposedly because it contradicted the religious education. Schools that had thirty students the prior year were approved for hundreds of vouchers even though they didn't have the facilities to take that many. Just because a school is private, doesn't make it a good school.

    November 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Durundal

      again, who is to blame? my gosh, it just might be the id10tic parents who unload their brat to these places. The parents are more of a problem than the teachers, there are simply too many s t u p id people to go around.

      November 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  24. Teri

    Ann Romney said in a Good Housekeeping interview that she wanted to get rid of the public education system. I recently took a job at a public charter school after working at a low-income public school for several years. I can tell you that the idea that charter schools are superior to public schools is a lie. This may not be true for every area of the country, but it is for the state of Idaho where I live. The test scores prove it. One reason is because parent's feel that they are more qualified to run the school than the teachers and administrators are. For example, the parent's determine the school calendar. This year they did not allow for any days off for Parent-Teacher conferences. Now they complain that they don't get to meet with teachers one-on-one. Even if I did conferences on my own time after my required work is finished, it would take me 1 – 2 months to meet with the parents of all my students, during which time I would not be at home while my own children were awake. Why does everyone think they know how to fix education?? Because they went to school themselves? We all drive cars, but that doesn't mean we know how to fix them. If your car broke down you would take it to someone with experience FIXING cars. If you need your pipes fixed you ask a plumber. If education is broken wouldn't it make sense to ask a teacher?? Blaming teachers for bad schools is like blaming doctors for people getting sick. Trust me, 99% of teachers I know work their butts off trying to hep kids. Society if giving them more troubled children to work with, less resources to do it with, and no respect for trying. I tell young adults I meet to consider another field when they tell me they want to be a teacher – like me – I tell them that it just isn't worth it. If the Romney's have their way we will once again have a system where only the wealthy among us get a quality education. Charter schools are a sham. Republicans like them for two reasons 1 – they are cheap and 2 – the teachers have no union protection. But, if charter schools become the norm, people will not want to work in them, try running a high quality school without teachers.

    November 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • jean

      I agree. Just because a school is chartered, doesn't make it good for the students or the taxpayers. Do the research. There are a number of charter schools across the country that have taken the taxpayers money and ran, leaving the taxpayers with the unpaid bills. In other cases, the test scores are no better, or are even worse, than the public schools they were to replace. Buyer (or taxpayer) beware.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  25. erin

    "Choice" is just code for privilege. If parents get choices about schools, it just means privileged kids will be out of public schools and less privileged kids will be stuck in lower quality schools. How about we improve ALL schools so a "choice" isn't necessary? And I also have a real problem with all this "parents' rights" business. For the most part, parents aren't teachers. They aren't educators. Yes, they know their own kids' needs, but they aren't qualified to make unilateral decisions about kids' schooling. If that were the case, if parents were so qualified, then there wouldn't need to be standards set for homeschool curricula. And all this business about "teachers aren't unions" is just so much semantics. The unions represent the teachers. Why is that such a bad thing? There used to be a time when public service was valued not reviled. Now everyone wants to point the finger at teachers or other state workers for actually demanding fair pay and benefits. The argument shouldn't be "Why do teachers/state workers deserve fair pay and fair benefits when the rest of us don't get those things?" The argument shoud be "Why don't we all get fair pay and fair benefits?" It's really outrageous to me that teachers of all people are being maligned and targeted. They are teachers for goodness sake! It's one of the hardest and most important jobs out there. They are public servants! They deal with more crap everyday that most of us do and I'm a social worker so that's saying a lot! This "choice" business is all just a bunch of conservative spin that will lead to privatization ie better schools for privileged kids. Just more of the same- trickle down education.

    November 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  26. Rolin Malval

    Education is a social issue as I mentioned before. It is not about teachers and government. Students are not motivated at all when they have to do their works. People speak more than they act. Why students from the poor neighborhoods do worse than those from the rich neighborhoods. I would like to end with this previous sentence.

    November 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  27. Ernst Ghermann

    I will be voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate. His position on education:

    LOCAL CONTROL MEANS THAT WE ALL WIN.

    All parents should have an opportunity to choose which school their children attend.
    Putting educational funds in the hands of the people who use them gives parents and students a vote as to which schools are best and which need to improve.
    Our children deserve the chance to succeed educationally, but the same old way of thinking won't cut it. It's time to free individuals and states from burdensome federal mandates and regulations so they can pursue the right educational strategies for their students.

    November 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Durundal

      a school's physical capacities alone make that impossible. Next would be the declining performance due to overloading, which would end in an equilibrium redistribution that would still leave parents and children feeling 'left out'. Try again

      November 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Cleveland born and raised

      If I'm not mistaken, from reading Mitt Romney's website and his platform for education reform, they are the same as you are saying Garry Johnson's are. A vote for the Libertarian candidate who has no chance of winning, I am sad to say, is really a vote for Obama (think Bush-Perot), which would take us FURTHER away from the kind or school choices you and I think are necessary to create an effective educational system.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  28. bryan gulcin

    Hold on...wasn't Romney the one who said class sizes will increase? I am unsure if this author has ever been in the classroom, but NCLB is destroying schools and education. One tests shows NOTHING. I sit here and teach to this test because if not, my ass is on the line. Rather than sit here and make awesome lessons, I am agonizing in LC meetings during my planning time hearing about differentiation and its importance when we have our kids take a test at the end of the year that is anything but differentiated. There's plenty more where that come from, but alas, I need to do some work AFTER I'm done with work. Busting my ass for what? A measly paycheck where 1/3 is taken out? This isn't what I signed up for.

    November 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  29. WhatNow

    I disagree. I believe people like Mr. Romney view education, as he does many government functions, as something the private sector can do better. When you allow the private sector to take over education, I see problems starting with affordability. The wealthy will be able to send their kids to better schools. These schools will be the best because wealth can purchase and maintain the best. Privatization means for profit. To me that says educating the students is not the top priority.

    November 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Cleveland born and raised

      FYI, the wealthy ALREADY send their kids to better, private schools, and so would all of us if we could afford to! Why? Because we want the best opportunities for our kids. We should not begrudge people who take the extra step to ensure their kids have a good education and the tools to make a good future. And NO, in case you're wondering I'm not wealthy; my family is lower middle class.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  30. jotab

    A handful of individuals like Sheldon Adelson have given more money than the teacher unions. The premise here is faulty, flawed, and false

    November 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  31. GreKn

    I was seriously considering voting for Romney before reading this but the truth is that unions are largely what contributed to the rise of the middle class and their demise is partly responsible for the growing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us. It used to be that a guy could support an entire family as a factory worker – no more! And this guy wants us to believe he is going to strengthen the middle class?

    November 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  32. James Mulhern

    Ms. Allen:

    I have read your biography on the Center for Education Reform website. I admire your initiative, your passion, and the the fact that you seem to genuinely care about the state of education. And I especially respect that you were able to accomplish so much while raising children, which is a tremendous job in itself. I do respectfully disagree, however with your opinion that Mr. Romney is a better choice for education reform. I have been teaching for twenty-three years, and like you, I care deeply about the education of our children. I don't think it's the teacher unions that are the problem. For example, the state of Massachusetts has one of the strongest unions in the country, and that state is number one in education nationally, and if it were a "nation," it would rank number 3 in the world. The problem with public education, as I see it, is too much testing. And let me see now, I am not opposed to testing, Tests, such as the upcoming Common Core Assessment that seeks to align curriculums across the country, is a good thing. But I work at an inner-city school, where the innovative technology is a dry-erase marker. Our computers are in disrepair, classrooms are overcrowded, and the environment in public schools is very chaotic, when what students need most is consistency and calm. We have BAT Testing, FAIR Testing, PSAT, FCAT, PERT, FAIR, ASVAB, EPAT, EOC, etc. Let's have a moratorium on testing for the next two years so teachers can prepare students for the Common Core. I care deeply about the futures of the children I teach, as I know you must care deeply about the futures of your own children. I would love to talk with you sometime to suggest some ideas and some compromise. I think the Republicans and Democrats need to build bridges for the sake of all of our children. And I do appreciate that you have taken action about an important issue, when so many seem unwilling to act.

    James Mulhern, http://www.synthesizingeducation.net

    November 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Cleveland born and raised

      I do not understand why the results don't speak for themselves? If Massachusetts were a country, it would be 3rd in the WORLD?!??!?! Don't we want that for our entire country then, not just one state? Has anything other strategy improved our educational system to that degree? Why not try Romney's method if we have results to show that it works?

      November 4, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  33. Nathan Silver

    Romney said 50 kids in a class is alright; lunacy, just like the author. Ms. Allen is clearly part of the problem.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Tednsady

      I have follwed both candidates through this election cycle and no once have I heard Mitt say this. You are spinning.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Monica in Denver

      I agree, she is definently part of the problem.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • bryan gulcin

      How many of you people who post on here have actually had classroom experience, other than being a student? If you've never been a teacher...don't talk.

      November 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
      • Cleveland born and raised

        You're right, because we should have NO say in how our children are educated. Typical.

        November 4, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  34. Brian

    “We can fix our schools because we don't get the biggest share of our campaign donations from the teachers' unions.”

    And in that statement alone, your entire article lost its credibility.When you're only argument is that everything is the union's fault, it's clear you have no viable solutions.

    Indeed,how dare these teachers ask for better wages and working conditions. The nerve of them!

    November 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  35. TammyLane

    It is far overdue when the American people stop the extortion efforts of the unions... Our schools and kids suffer at the hands of teachers unions, there is more money than ever dedicated to education in this country and the only people benefitting are union leaders i.e., Democrat Party! In regards to the other unions that extort the AmerIcan people, Public employee unions have grown enormous over the last couple of decades and look at the results, heavly Democratic states, California, Illinos, New Jersey, New York... (just name it) are going bankrupt not because we are taking care of things like roads, and infrastructure projects but because of unions and their outrageous benefit packages. I dont have a problem necessarily with unions but i do have a problem with GREED! they are bankrupting our country!!! time for the American people to stop the madness, if you are in a union, think about someone other than yourself (the rich people cant even overcome your greed so please do not continue the 1% nonsense) If you are not in a union... vote and let them know we are tired of it and get them under control...

    November 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • CarlosI

      The unions are the problem? If not for the unions there would be no middle class. You'd still be earning slave wages and no weekends off. As far as education is concerrned, the unions are fighting to get the beauracy out of the classroom and allow the teachers to do what they do best. Teach! Romney can't even keep his own party together, much less remember what he stood for yesterday.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
      • Cleveland born and raised

        Not everyone in the middle class belongs to a union. Historically this was called the Merchant class made up primarily of small business owners?
        By the way, when did our country become so concerned with socioeconomic "class"? I thought the beauty of America was that, thanks to an opportunity for free education to the public, anyone could achieve and class didn't matter.

        November 4, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Glass

      It is time for you to actually do some research into what Unions do at schools. Teacher's job description and pay is determined by contract. The schools also agreed to that contract, so fault the administration also. Teachers almost always go above and beyond (without pay), but the contract ensures that I know my rules of employment and cannot be punished for not doing something that is out of the contract, illegal or unethical at the requirement of an employer. Still, I will be discriminated at my school if I don't provide extra help outside of contracted hours or during my 30 (really 20) minute lunch.

      Some of the most effective teacher actions I have seen is when the teachers work to contract, and the only extras that are allowed are those that are being paid for. It is amazing how the parents learn to appreciate the free extras the teachers provide to students to help the students when they disappear.

      As an educator I am really tired of being seen as the root of all evil. I usually work 20-40 hours a week outside of my normal day just to meet the requirements (which are actually expectations outside of contractual requirements) of my job. And then I am told that I am paid too much because I only work 182 day contract with a Masters degree and make less than 45K. That parents and students expect me to supply paper, pencils, and calculators from my own money and not get upset when they are stolen.

      I often tell people to come work one day (not as a sub, but as a teacher) and then see how fast they start crying and whining.

      November 3, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  36. Boo

    Romney WILL SAY anything. Apparently this woman doesn't get it.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Tednsady

      You should have said Obama will lie about everything.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • Monica in Denver

        Please get out of the bubble and use your little brain. You are obiviously confused and dyslexic, the media has shown Romney/Ryan have told nothing but lie after lie, yet you still buy into the BS. You are a perfect example of why Romney is not good for this country or education, he encourages people to dumb down themselves, unlike Obama who has inspired young people throughout the country to become more educated. It's a clear choice.

        November 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  37. Sarah B

    I completely agree with this article. There's been a lot of talk from the Obama Admnistration, but not a lot of action. The amount of money that has been wasted on "fixing" public education is a national disgrace. The national teachers unions are, indeed, obstacles to reform (though I notice things are better at the local level). Look at the research on class size – people think it's a cure-all, and it's simply not.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Brad

      Willards ideas are only as good as his WORD which are constantly lies and Flip Flops, this smoke and mirror campaign may some of us some of the time but not most of most of the time...

      November 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
      • TammyLane

        Brad, if your point is that Mitt Romney is a dishonest man, I would take Mitt Romney over Barack Obama's dishonesty any day! OUR MEN DIED IN BENGHAZI.... TRUTH is needed my friend AMERICANS ARE DEAD!

        November 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Tednsady

        You are so misinformed, Obama is the one that is lying and flipping on his 2008 promises.

        November 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  38. jonat

    I know this will be a surprise to liberals and anyone who only gets their news from the state media outlets...but Romney is poised to win nationwide by a landslide 5-10 points over Obama. Not even all the negative ads and all of the state media excuses will make a difference.
    Obama had 4 years to improve the economy and he failed. Instead of coming up with a new plan for his next term he chose instead to just tell us Romney was a bad guy. He kept doing that even after the public got to see Romney in the debates.

    I don't care if you chose to agree or not, all the facts point to another giant conservative mandate, just like we had in 2010. Liberalism simply does not work. You only need to look at the economic collapse in Europe to know this is true.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Monica in Denver

      Again, this is why education is important. It is obivious you are in denial and do not understand MATH. No-one knows who is going to win the election at this point, annd to assume you do know what the outcome is going to be and to predict the outcome without facts, makes you a fool.

      There is a reason all the real Republican's are coming out an endorsing Obama, there will be a Novemeber suprise Chris Christie will reverse his decision and endorse Obama, because he knows now that President Obama is about getting the job done.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • TammyLane

        Monica quit drinking the koolaid, first of all Christie will not endorse Obama, I know you libs got all excited because Christie said he had other thinkg like a hurricane to deal with not politics and that he was appreciative that the President was going to do his job... nothing to be excited about its what suppose to happen! Christie knew that and Obama knew he had to use the moment (as they say) dont let a tragedy go to waste. so as usual Obama used what he could to his advantage, sure wish he saw keeping our guys alive in Benghazi and ADVANTAGE for him... May they rest in peace and in the mean time you keep propping this phoney up as something great... PEACE

        November 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Mittens

      LOL, fool, Mitt just said he will need 8 years to improve the economy. You can never believe Willard, he was my governor, notice he has little support in the state he ran.

      November 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  39. harold

    How can anyone predict what Romney would do? He's one thing today and quite something else tomorrow.
    The question comes down to,"Who will he try to please if he's elected?"

    November 1, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Tednsady

      He will try to get this Country back on track. Obama only thinks of himself, take credit when something go right and blames others when it does not.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • CarlosI

        Tednsady what rock have you been sleeping under the last four years? The country IS back on track. As far as blaming others....if Bush and the republicans destroyed the economy, hell yes they should be blamed! Bush destroyed public.education with NCLB. Hell yes.he should.be blamed. The people like you onviously have very short memories but don't want to accept the truth. Just like parents that don't want to acceot that the failure of their.kids starts at home

        November 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
      • Mittens

        Haha, Mittens is 10 times more at fault for that than Obama. Look at the stunts Mitt pulled as Governor.

        November 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • jon

        The interest in their children's good education should start at HOME. I don't really think that is happening any more.
        With high school dropout rates approaching 25 to 40% in schools, what the heck are the parents doing here?
        Children who drop out of high school have little or no chance of making it in this global economy. So unless they can jump up and down real high with a basketball, they are in trouble.

        November 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  40. Dave

    How does not getting campaign contributions from teacher's unions indicate a greater desire or ability to improve education? The biggest source of contributions to Romney's campaign are folks who don't send their kids to public schools.

    November 1, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • TammyLane

      Dave, I have sent 4 children to public school and I donated to Romney's campaign.... I have seen our schools and our place in the world as far as education destroyed because of the extortion by unions! More money has been given to Education than ever in history and the only people that have benefited is the union bosses and te Democrats!!! I for one am sick of it!!! The gig is up and hopefully the American people will overcome the power of these corrupt unions so that I kids will once again become the main concern! I am also a working women that voted for Romney... IN CALIFORNIA!!! STOP UNION EXTORTION AGAINST OUR CHILDREN

      November 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Teri

        California's schools are in shambles and teachers are leaving California in droves. High quality teachers make high quality schools. Talented people with drive and passion can find work in a variety of fields – they don't need to stay in education if they are not treated with respect. A teacher that moved out of California into my school had horror stories to tell. The straw that broke the camel's back for this teacher was when the california district stopped hiring sub's (because teachers shouldn't need them and were 'wasting' district money). If a teacher in the school got sick – the other teachers in that grade were required to take the children into their classroom. This ment that there were 50 or more children crammed into classrooms, without places to sit or work except the floor. Teachers that were sick were made to feel guilty for staying home. This is one of the kinds of things that Unions protect teachers from. Good luck California – you are attracting only the most desperate educators to your state.

        November 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Tednsady

      Obama's daughters do not attend public schools. Why the double standard?

      November 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • CarlosI

        "Obama's daughters do not attend public schools. Why the double standards"

        Really? Do you have to ask that? Are you really that stupid? You really don't know why ?????

        November 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  41. Farrok

    Mitt Romney wants reduce educational spending and increase class size to 80 students per class now how will that help Education? This artical is false and a lie...............

    November 1, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • TammyLane

      YOUR IGNORANT

      November 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
      • Mittens

        I think you mean "You're", public education?

        November 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Tednsady

      Education spending is done on the local level. It is the real estate owners that pay the school taxes, that educate the children.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • CarlosI

        Real estate taxes fund only a small portion to a given school district. The state funds the rest of it but much of that funding is supported by the feds. Real estate taxes are the reason rich neigjborhoods have better school facilities and infrastructures and

        November 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  42. deoliver47

    So Mr "class size is irrelevant" Romney and his sidekick Ryan who would cut Pell grants (higher education) is better for our children? The "Black Alliance for Education Options" you cite is a group funded by far-right sources who have also funneled money to Murray of Bell Curve fame. Dragging Condi Rice into the conversation is strange – last time I checked she was not an education expert.

    Yes we need education reform, but not under a Willard Romney.

    November 1, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • TammyLane

      And your proposal is to continue to have our children used as pawns in the UNIONS and DEMOCRATS extortion practices! I dont know if Mitt Romney will do everything needed to better the schools in the US but what I do know is that the UNIONS and the DEMOCRATS do not have our childrens best interest at heart!!! LOOK AT THE STATISTICS!!!! MOTHERS STOP THE EXTORTION OF THE UNIONS AND DEMOCRATS AGAINST OUR CHILDREN

      November 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • CarlosI

        TammyLane, you Tednsady spew the wildest and most crap ever come out in these blogs. You don't know what goes on in real life especially in the classroom. Take a job as a teacher and see if you don't go running to a union for help. If you don't , you would be one of those teacher statistics of quitting within the first three years.

        November 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Tednsady

      Yes, we do need better education. However, Obama just wants to give it all to the teachers union who in turn give it back to the liberals during election season and not use it for the betterment of the children.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |