Romney-Ryan proposals for children, education draw new voter interest


by Félix Pérez

Now that Mitt Romney is officially the Republican nominee for president of the United States, voters are starting to take a closer look at what a Romney administration might look like in terms of education and programs that serve children. And based on his enthusiastic support of the budget created by his running mate, Paul Ryan, as well as Romney’s own budget plan, children and public education would shoulder an outsized share of the responsibility for balancing the nation’s budget while the super-wealthy would enjoy significant tax cuts.

Students at every education level would be affected by Ryan’s budget, according to analysts and economists.

  • It would eliminate more than 190,000 Head Start slots for poor children by 2014 and result in more than 2 million children being shut out of the preschool program over the next 10 years.
  • It would reduce or eliminate Title I services to 4 million K-12 students.
  • It would cut Pell Grants to more than 9 million college students by more than $1,000 in 2014, and, over the next decade, more than 1 million students would lose this aid entirely.

Take Action ›

Sign the open letter to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan asking them to make investments in education a priority in their campaign. Click here ›

Nevertheless, Romney is a big fan of Ryan’s budgetary handiwork. “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan,” said Romney this spring. “It’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans, and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier…I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed.”

Health care and anti-hunger programs directed at poor children, people with disabilities and the elderly would likewise bear a disproportionate share of Ryan’s budget medicine.

The Ryan budget would cut Medicaid by one-third over a decade and convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into a block grant. Fully, one-third of America’s children rely on Medicaid for their health care.  Similarly, most SNAP recipients are children or seniors.

Romney’s education platform, released in May, is less well known than the Ryan budget. It too, however, is drawing interest from voters seeking to familiarize themselves with Romney’s ideas.

Among the platform’s proposals:

  • Convert Title I, the largest federal program for low-income students, and remake the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, into a national voucher program.
  • Expand and make permanent the Washington, D.C., voucher program.
  • Reinsert banks as the providers of federally guaranteed student loans, repealing one of President Barack Obama’s signature education achievements.
  • Eliminate teacher certification requirements.

Aside from his education platform, Romney’s budget proposal has come under fire from some analysts for what they view as its sharp cuts to programs and services that help the poor, people with disabilities and the young.

“The cuts that would be required under the Romney budget proposals in programs such as veterans’ disability compensation, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for poor elderly and disabled individuals, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and child nutrition programs would move millions of households below the poverty line or drive them deeper into poverty,” concluded the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

An analysis by the Tax Policy Center found that Romney’s tax proposal would force a $2,000 tax hike on average middle-class families with children, while the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans would get a tax cut of $87,000.

Reader Comments

  1. My daughter by no fault of her own was terminated from a private charter school 90 days after her hire, She received a glowing letter of recommendation and later found out that the directors were put on administrative leave. In her gut she new they were unethical in their practices and she was not going to play by their rules. Long story short, she applied for unemployment compensation because she had worked 3 years in a Family Learning Center under the umbrella of a church. She learned that churches are exempt from paying into unemployment compensation fund so was denied. She had no income, no health insurance, was 6 months pregnant, single but with her partner who also had been terminated from a private charter school. These ‘at-will’ contracts are horrible…that is why we need unions to help negotiate good contract language. She eventually got on WIC, received state health insurance, and food stamps. Worked substitute teaching during that time, but because her income varied from month to month she would often lose her health insurance coverage and food stamps. Healthy beautiful baby born and she continues to sub teach the rest of the year, while Daddy stayed home and did child care. Next school year did not find a teaching position but did run an after school program while continuing to sub teach which kicked her off the health insurance and food stamps again. This instability in the program is hard to maneuver; she wasn’t making enough to pay rent and keep up on her bills. Student loans were put in last deferment.Two years later she is starting her teaching career anew in a public school system! If it wasn’t for financial assistance from her family she would have been homeless because there was no financial assistance for housing that she was able to get…funds were exhausted or programs cut. We are proud of her fight and determination. Young families are delicate and extended families play a vital role in the lives of young adults today…we hold them until they can fly! Middle class families struggle today because many are assisting their adult children financially and those dollars are not tax deductible. FORWARD…support the Democratic incumbent; President Obama.

  2. Great comment, DHFabian. I didn’t grow up on welfare (lower middle income or “working class”), but thanks to some poor decisions of mine I found myself an uneducated, single welfare mother of three at 25. I went back to school thanks to Pell Grants, welfare (AFDC and food stamps then) and a fantastic student loan for prospective teachers who agreed to teach in critical shortage areas. All I had to do to pay that one back was to teach the visually impaired for five years. I’m starting my 22nd year in that field now and have been off the welfare rolls for just as long. It is easy for critics to say that I’m an exception, but most of the on-campus apartments where I lived in school were filled with single welfare mothers, couples and fathers creating better futures for themselves and their children. President Obama will continue to invest in our countries’ greatest resource if reelected–its people. Romney/Ryan have promised to stop investing in about 98% of us!

  3. What we are NOT going to hear from either party is how our former welfare programs made it possible for millions of Americans who started out in poverty to work their way up into the middle class. It was precisely because of those “failed” welfare programs that we once had that I was able to be a full-time parent during those vital first few years of my daughter’s life — and an infant and toddler development program connected with WIC was an extraordinary resource for helping me learn how to help my daughter develop her full potential. The measure of stability provided by welfare enabled her to thrive, focusing on her school work, going on to earn enough academic scholarships to to go on college. She now has a good-paying career, got married, bought a home, started a family. She has been able to go from poverty to having a solid, very happy middle class family that would not have been possible if she had been born in post-welfare America. The one most interesting fact about her story: there is nothing unusual about it among former “welfare kids.” Contrary to the propaganda, the overwhelming grew up to do well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *