By Amanda Litvinov
High profile couplings often make one stop and wonder: What do these two see in each other? But there’s little mystery in the case of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his vice presidential pick, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, which was announced earlier today.
The two have a lot in common when it comes to their destructive approach to public education and an unflagging commitment to catering to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at the expense of the remaining 98 percent.
During his 13 years in Congress, Ryan has repeatedly supported cuts to education funding, including blocking support intended to help avoid educator layoffs and prevent ballooning class sizes. As chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan was the architect of a plan that proposes to cut $1.1 billion from early childhood education, which would deny more than 2 million poor children the opportunity for high-quality early education.
You can click here to sign the open letter to Mitt Romney and VP choice Paul Ryan and ask them to make investments in education a priority.
“Ryan’s position on fundamental education issues like funding for early childhood education and efforts to keep class sizes small don’t speak to ensuring that every child in this country gets a quality education,” said educator and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “It continues Romney’s misguided and out of touch mentality that class size doesn’t matter and children should get as much education as they can ‘afford’.”
Like Romney, Ryan is an outspoken supporter of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent, and supports lowering corporate tax rates and giving special breaks to companies that take American jobs overseas.
Ryan has also shown that he is willing to shred the social safety net on which American families rely. If passed, the Ryan Budget would end Medicare as we know it, replacing the program with private plans and doubling out-of-pocket expenses for seniors. He has voted against insurance industry reforms and in favor of allowing companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
“Governor Romney’s VP selection indicates that once again he chose the corporate fat cats and Wall Street barons over students, teachers, bus drivers, nurses and secretaries,” said Van Roekel. “The 3 million members of NEA know you can’t put Americans back to work by cutting jobs, educate our kids by laying off teachers, and level the playing field for small businesses by rigging it in favor of big corporations.”
Retired Massachusetts educator Lois Jacobs witnessed first hand the corrosive effects of Romney’s policies during the time he was governor of her state. She fears that if elected, Romney “would put people in charge who would take us backwards in terms of the rights of working people and education philosophy.” Romney’s choice of Ryan as his running mate is further evidence that Jacobs’ fears are well justified.
In the week leading up to his VP announcement, Romney said he was seeking a running mate who “adds something to the political discourse about the direction of our country.” His choice of Ryan for vice president adds to the mounting evidence that the only direction Romney would take us is backward.