Posted in: Election 2012
Romney education panel a throwback to Bush era
U.S. President George W. Bush and Republican gubernatorial candidate for Massachusetts Mitt Romney pass one another on stage during a fund raising event for Romney in Boston October 4, 2002. Romney, the former Salt Lake Olympic chief, is in a tough race for governor against Democrat Shannon O'Brien. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque KL/MMR
By Amanda Litvinov
Mitt Romney’s announcement today naming his panel of education advisors brings to mind a truism about the movies: When it comes to trilogies, if the first two tries were stinkers, the third, having so little to build upon, is bound to be even worse.
In assembling a cast of bad actors dragged right out of the two-term George W. Bush era, it’s clear that Mitt Romney would be satisfied as president to force what amounts to a third term of “test, label and punish” education policies on the target audience: the nation’s students, parents, and educators.
Here are a few big names you may recognize:
ROD PAIGE: Served as secretary of education under George W. Bush. You will surely remember him as the man who called the National Education Association a “terrorist organization.”
TOM LUNA: Idaho superintendent of public instruction and author of the notorious Luna plan, a host of bills protested by education advocates because they promised to increase class sizes, reduce the teaching force, replace teachers with mandatory online classes and erode educator rights.
NINA S. REES: Secretary for innovation and improvement at the Department of Education under Bush. Rees pushed the passage of both the No Child Left Behind Act and schemes that direct public school funds to private schools. Previous positions include assistant for domestic policy in the office of Vice President Cheney and chief education analyst at The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.
The big picture coming into focus is that Romney is frighteningly out of touch with the concerns of the middle class, and the role of public education in rebuilding a vibrant middle class in this country.
Aside from putting in a few plugs for for-profit higher education venture operated by one of his major donors on the campaign trail, Romney has spent little time defining his vision for education. He has also done little to draw attention to his record on education as governor of Massachusetts.
During his years as governor, Romney battled the Massachusetts Teachers Association and ignored their pleas to stop putting students’ education in peril with drastic cuts to public school funding.
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