Rishawn Biddle: Mitt W. Bush ... For Better or Worse, Romney Subscribes to Bush's Education Policies

Roundup: Media's Take

Rishawn Biddle the editor of Dropout Nation, is co-author of A Byte at the Apple: Rethinking Education Data for the Post-NCLB Era.

Mitt Romney has never been known for taking strong stances on the issues. But he has proven to be even more artfully dodgy than usual on the matter of federal education policy -- and the debate over whether or not to reform America's woeful public schools. As part of his effort to woo movement conservatives displeased with George W. Bush's legacy as centrist Democrats' favorite Republican on education (and longing for halcyon days of federal nonintervention that never were), Romney has avoided mentioning education in his 87-page economic plan; backed away from his support of Bush's signature legislation. the No Child Left Behind Act; and even backpedalled from his praise of President Barack Obama's Race to the Top school Reform competition after being criticized by equally double-talking Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
As left-footed in his dodging as the former Massachusetts governor has been, he has still managed to confuse otherwise-astute reformers and commentators. Time columnist Andy Rotherham, whose Eduwonk site is one of the go-to sites on school reform, declared the other week that Romney is now to "the political right of President George W. Bush" on education policy; while Fox News commentator Juan Williams suggested last week that Romney should pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate because of her work with former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein on a Council on Foreign Relations report advocating for school choice and Common Core national reading and math standards.
But like so much with Romney, what you think you see isn't always what it real. This is especially true when it comes to education. A closer look at his advisers, along with his actual record in Massachusetts, reveals that his tenure as president would more-likely resemble that of still-reviled Dubya (and even the current school reformer-in-chief) than either movement conservatives or teachers' unions will like. And for children stuck attending failing schools -- and the taxpayers picking up the tab to the tune of $591 billion a year -- this is not a bad thing...

comments powered by Disqus