PRESS RELEASES from Romney for President


CONTACT: Romney Press Office

May 23, 2012


Boston, MA – Today in Washington, D.C., Mitt Romney delivered a speech on education and presented his plan for reform that will provide a chance for every child.  Romney criticized President Obama’s preference for increased spending over genuine reform, and emphasized the unproductive role that teachers’ unions have played for decades.
“I believe the President must be troubled by the lack of progress since he took office.  Most likely, he would have liked to do more,” said Romney. “But President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses, and unwilling to stand up for kids.”
Romney outlined a vision for restoring the promise of America’s education system and guaranteeing every student the opportunity to succeed.  For the nation’s K-12 schools, his policies will provide more choices for parents, further emphasize responsibility for results, and place a quality teacher in every classroom.  For higher education, Romney will ensure that all Americans have affordable options to prepare them for successful careers.
“As president, I will pursue bold policy changes that will restore the promise of our nation’s education system,” said Romney. “Dramatically expanding parental choice, making schools responsible for results by giving parents access to clear and instructive information, and attracting and rewarding our best teachers — these changes can help ensure that every parent has a choice and every child has a chance.”
Romney presented the details of his plan:
Education Reform That Will Provide A Chance For Every Child
As president, Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts the interests of parents and students ahead of special interests and provides a chance for every child. He will take the unprecedented step of tying federal funds directly to dramatic reforms that expand parental choice, invest in innovation, and reward teachers for their results instead of their tenure. These policies will equip state leaders to achieve the change that can only come from commitment and action at the local level. He will also ensure that students have diverse and affordable options for higher education to give them the skills they need to succeed after graduation and that, when they graduate, they can find jobs that provide a rewarding return on their educational investment.
K-12: Promoting Choice And Innovation
Giving students trapped in bad schools a genuine alternative requires four things: (1) such alternatives must exist, (2) parents must receive clear information about the performance of their current school and of the alternatives, (3) students must be allowed to move to a new school, and (4) students must bring funding with them so that new schools can afford to serve them.  Romney’s reforms achieve each of these objectives:
·         Allow Low Income And Special Needs Students To Choose Which School To Attend. Make Title I and IDEA funds portable so that eligible students can choose which school to attend and bring funding with them. This plan will allow the student to choose from any district or public charter school, or a private school where permitted by state law, or to use funds toward a tutoring provider or digital course.
·         Provide Incentives For States To Increase Choices For Parents And Develop Quality Alternatives. Require states to adopt open-enrollment policies for students receiving Title I and IDEA funds, and to eliminate caps on charter and digital schools.
·         Build On The Success Of Effective Charter And Digital Schools. Amend the federal Charter School Program so that successful school management organizations can receive funding to replicate their efforts, serve more students, and take their programs to scale.
·         Expand The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program To Serve As A Model For The Nation. Reverse President Obama’s efforts to eliminate this popular and effective program.  Increase funding and raise caps on participation to allow more families to benefit.
K-12: Ensuring High Standards And Responsibility For Results
Currently, there is little easily-available data for parents about their children’s schools. Providing better information for parents will empower them to hold districts and states responsible for results and, when combined with increased parental choice, give them more control over their children’s education. Romney’s reforms will improve transparency and give parents the information they need:
·         Reform No Child Left Behind By Emphasizing Transparency And Responsibility For Results. Replace federally-mandated school interventions with a requirement that states create straightforward public report cards that evaluate each school on its contribution to student learning.
K-12: Recruiting And Rewarding Great Teachers
A school is only as strong as its teachers, but the most promising teachers often find it difficult to reach the classroom door or receive recognition for their efforts once inside.  Romney’s reforms smooth the path for talented individuals to join the profession and shape the next generation.
·         Attract And Reward Great Teachers Through Increased Flexibility And Block Grants. Consolidate the numerous and overlapping federal teacher quality programs. Offer states flexible block grants if they adopt policies to advance and reward teacher quality, such as eliminating or reforming teacher tenure and establishing evaluation systems that focus on effectiveness in advancing student achievement.
·         Eliminate Unnecessary Certification Requirements That Discourage New Teachers. For instance, the federal “highly qualified teacher” requirement, while well-intentioned, only serves to reinforce hurdles that prevent talented individuals from entering the teaching profession in the first place.
Higher Ed: A New Vision Of Affordable And Applicable Learning
America’s traditional community and four-year colleges are the heart of our nation’s higher education system.  However, a flood of federal dollars is driving up tuition and burdening too many young Americans with substantial debt and too few opportunities.  Meanwhile, other models of advanced skills training are becoming ever more important to success in the American economy, and new educational institutions will be required to fill those roles. Romney’s reforms spur the access, affordability, innovation, and transparency needed to address all of these challenges:
·         Strengthen And Simplify The Financial Aid System. Consolidate duplicative and overly complex programs within the Department of Education.  Focus the Department on giving students and families with financial need the appropriate information about completion and persistence, loan repayment rates, future earnings, and other indicators to intelligently weigh the risks and benefits of the many options available to them, rather than limiting choices through punitive regulations.
·         Welcome Private Sector Participation Instead Of Pushing It Away.  Reverse President Obama’s nationalization of the student loan market and welcome private sector participation in providing information, financing, and the education itself. 
·         Replace Burdensome Regulation With Innovation And Competition. Encourage market entry by innovative new education models, emphasize skill attainment instead of time spent in the classroom, and support research and development. Repeal confusing and unnecessary regulations that primarily serve to drive costs higher, and replace them with common-sense reforms that ensure appropriate student outcomes.


Boston, MA – Today, Julio Fuentes, President & CEO of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, made the following statement on Mitt Romney’s proposals for reforming education:


“Mitt Romney’s plan for education is exactly what this country needs to close the achievement gap between students nationwide. To give students of all backgrounds access to a great education, we must increase school choice, improve standards and accountability, and reward the best teachers. Rather than catering to special interests, Mitt Romney has demonstrated he will pursue bold education reform that gives all students the opportunity to succeed.”

*Company/organization name is provided for identification purposes only.
Boston, MA – Today, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell made the following statement on Mitt Romney’s proposals for reforming education:
“While President Obama has expressed some positive ideas on how to reform our schools, he refuses to challenge the unions that will do anything to protect the status quo. We need a president who is more concerned with creating opportunities for students than saving his own job. Governor Romney understands the importance of charter schools in expanding school choice and giving low income and special needs students a fighting chance to succeed. Instead of being beholden to special interests, as president he would fight tirelessly for higher standards of transparency, offering families the information they need to hold schools accountable. Governor Romney’s policies would also facilitate the recruitment of the best teachers by rewarding merit and abolishing certification requirements which discourage potential new teachers. At a moment when we face a crisis that reaches beyond the classroom, Governor Romney offers common sense, practical solutions designed to ensure that we continue to be a nation of innovators.”


Boston, MA
– Today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal made the following statement on Mitt Romney’s proposals for reforming education:


“President Obama came into office with big promises to bring education reform to this country. Unfortunately, his administration has failed to deliver the better schools that our children deserve and our economy needs. Instead of standing up to labor bosses who put unions ahead of students, the President continues to cave to their demands.  Mitt Romney offers the new leadership that will be required to turn our schools around. He will reform education in this country by promoting greater school choice, holding schools accountable, and attracting the best teachers. At a time when test scores show our children falling behind their counterparts around the world, we desperately need an education system that adequately prepares them to compete in the global economy. Governor Romney has spent his career turning around struggling enterprises and I’m confident he is up to the task of repairing our broken schools.”


Boston, MA – Today, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder made the following statement on Mitt Romney’s proposals for reforming education:


“Too many students are being forced to move back home with their parents after graduating because they can’t find a job.  Mitt Romney has a long track record as a job creator; he understands what it will take to get the economy running again. Mitt Romney’s plan to align higher education with the needs of the job market is on the right track. Simplifying the student loan process and giving students the tools they need to make informed decisions will help ensure they are able to start their careers without being saddled with massive debt. Here in Michigan, we approved tenure reform legislation that makes it easier to reward great teachers and remove ineffective ones from the classroom.  We also recently approved changes that will give parents and students more choices about where to attend school, including expanding options for online classes.  Mitt Romney will bring ideas like these to the national stage. As a proud nerd, I’m encouraged by Mitt Romney’s education reform plan.”

Other Views...
PRESS RELEASE from Center for Education Reform via PRNewswire

Center for Education Reform Applauds Presidential Candidates for Finally Focusing on Education

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This week both presidential candidates turned their attention to education, signaling a new focus on education reform as a campaign issue.  Yesterday the Obama Administration announced a new round of Race to the Top (R2TT) grants aimed at schools districts and Mitt Romney is making speeches in New York and Washington, D.C. to outline his education plan. Today, The Center for Education Reform (CER) applauded the emergence of structural change in education as a key theme in both campaigns and counseled the candidates to make the issue a cornerstone of their campaigns.

CER President Jeanne Allen made the following statement: 

"I'm pleased that both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are finally paying serious attention to education reform.  I hope this signals a shift to a serious focus and healthy debate about reforming our education system in a real and substantive way.

"President Obama is now proposing that Race to the Top – the centerpiece of his education plan which has had mixed results in the first round – should aim federal funds at schools districts, clearly a constituency he needs to win re-election. But while creating a competition for money at the district level is alluring, history tells us that it will make no difference in the lives of children, so long as school systems continue to be hogtied by unreasonable union contracts and subject to laws that hamper reform.

"Governor Romney, who when he ran Massachusetts was leading the charge for the kind of reforms that have been often touted by the Obama and previous administrations has launched an effort to reenergize his education credentials with his speeches last night in New York and today in Washington. His comments on putting kids before unions are encouraging as were his support for accountability and choice. 

"Both candidates are now firmly fighting for the education reform moral high ground. But it is school choice, which the Black Alliance for Education Options and others consider the true civil rights issue of our time, where Romney and Obama differ. Here in D.C., Governor Romney has defended the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Today everyone from parents to the Washington Post are urging President Obama not to kill it.  This indeed could be the defining issue of the 2012 presidential campaign – whether our next President is courageous enough to buck the status quo and truly embrace a bold reform agenda that puts parents interests ahead of special interests. We salute any leader who does just that."

The Center for Education Reform (CER) creates opportunities for and challenges obstacles to better education for America's communities. Founded in 1993, CER combines education policy with grassroots advocacy to foster positive and bold education reforms. For more information, visit

PRESS RELEASE from American Federation of Teachers

FOR RELEASE: May 23, 2012  
CONTACT: Carolyn Fiddler
AFT Denounces Romney's Rehash of Failed Education Proposals
GOP Candidate Prefers Attacking Teachers to Improving Schools

WASHINGTON—Speaking from a conference on collaborative school reform, where she joins more than 400 educators, administrators and leaders to discuss how collaboration between labor and management can transform our public education system and improve teaching and learning, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten addressed the education policy proposals delivered by Mitt Romney today.

"Today, Mitt Romney squandered an opportunity to participate in a meaningful discussion of real education reform by attempting to disguise attacks on teachers and public education as meaningful policy proposals. Instead of looking to improve education for all children, he parroted failed voucher and privatization schemes that have not improved student learning. Romney's proposal to take even more money out of public education and funnel it to private schools is absurd at a time when school budgets already are being slashed to the bone across the country.

"Right now, American education needs a collaborative approach toward improvement and reform that focuses on student achievement, but Romney wants to divide the people who work most closely with kids every day from students, parents and the community. What Romney fails to understand is that when teachers and public schools have the resources they need, students win. Romney is presenting America with a false choice: If you support teachers, then you must be against kids. Real public education improvement comes from teachers, administrators, parents and communities rolling up their sleeves and working together to help all kids, not just some kids, succeed.

"It's a sad day when a presidential candidate uses a speech on education reform to further demonize teachers and divide the country—which do nothing to serve our children."
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten:

# # # #

PRESS RELEASE from National Education Association

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez 

Romney takes page out of education playbook of President George W. Bush
Recycles the same failed policies that hurt students and public schools

WASHINGTON - May 23, 2012 - Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finally got around to talking about education on the campaign trail this week. Just yesterday he announced his team of education policy advisors and today at a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce he outlined his education platform.

“If you liked President George W. Bush’s education legacy, you’re going to love Mitt Romney’s education vision for America if he’s elected president,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Not only did he recycle many of the key education players from the Bush administration but he’s also pursuing some of the failed policies that hurt students and schools.”

Romney’s education plan, outlined today during his speech demonstrates a complete disdain for public schools and educators. His speech lacks a meaningful plan for parental engagement or providing what is best for students in need. There is no mention of priorities or realities about what is actually happening in classrooms across America.

Educators also are scratching their heads about the choices that Romney made in selecting his team of education advisors, which includes former Education Secretary Rod Paige. Paige once referred to teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and other educator members of NEA as “a terrorist organization.” His list of advisors also includes a state superintendent who pushed a host of bills protested by community leaders, parents and educators because he promised to increase class sizes, reduce the teaching force, replace teachers with mandatory online classes and erode educator rights. Other advisors come straight out of think tanks that have worked to undermine public education and what works for students.

“This is just another sign that Romney is not only out of touch with the realities and concerns of middle class and working Americans, but that he’s completely out of touch with what is happening in schools and classrooms across the country,” said Van Roekel.

Until this week, Romney had not taken the time to issue his education policy platform. And he hasn’t talked much about his education record as governor of Massachusetts. Spoiler alert: his record wasn’t anything to write home about.

As governor, Romney cut early education and pre-k funding, vetoed $10 million for kindergarten expansion, questioned the benefits of early education, and suggested Head Start was a failure. He has consistently supported policies like so-called school choice and vouchers, which make it harder for all students to receive a well-rounded education that prepares them to compete in a 21st century economy. Vouchers also drain scarce resources from neighborhood public schools. Romney also dismissed the importance of class sizes, whish are one of the most important indicators of how well children do in school. Personal attention from teachers is vital to a child, and it’s difficult or impossible to get that attention in a class that’s too large.

Romney also has fully embraced Rep. Paul Ryan’s dream-killing budget. “The Romney-Ryan budget is like a valentine to the richest one percent and a ‘Dear John’ letter to the rest of America,” said Van Roekel. “The Romney-Ryan budget would cause real pain to most working Americans. The Ryan budget would push 2 million kids out of Head Start and slash Pell grants for more than 9 million students seeking a college education. Romney’s policies aren’t about jobs and kids—they’re about killing the American dream.”

“Attacking educators and unions like NEA with gross exaggerations about its political muscle and with divide and conquer tactics is a distraction from frank discussions about Mitt Romney's education record as governor of Massachusetts and his full embrace of the Ryan-Romney dream-killing budget. We simply can’t afford to put the future of our students and our country in Mitt Romney's hands,” concluded Van Roekel.

Follow us on twitter at

# # #

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Democratic National Committee

Obama for America

After the speech, Obama for America held a conference call with press secretary Ben LaBolt and policy director James Kvaal.  Excerpts:

Ben LaBolt, Press Secretary:"...Mitt Romney gave a vague, detail-free speech this morning on education and confirmed, as if there was any doubt, just how far back he'd take us.  He wants to apply "Romney Economics" to education.  That's the last thing we need.  As we've seen throughout Mitt Romney's career in both the private and public sectors, Romney Economics is all about the short term, helping the wealthiest prosper by any means necessary even if that means undermining workers, middle class families and students.  Romney economics is unconcerned with long-term growth, competitiveness or an economy that's built to last.  The problem of course is that long term success is exactly what education is all about.  Romney has stifled investment in our children's education.  His policies hurt our ability to educate our kids and prepare them for good jobs.

"We’ve already seen what Romney Economics meant for students at every level of their education.  Mitt Romney might not want to talk about his lackluster record in Massachusetts, but it’s an important window into what he would bring to the White House.  Let’s start with K-12 education. By his second year as governor, Romney had already forced Massachusetts schools to take the second largest cuts per pupil in the country.  Those cuts forced school districts to lay off thousands of teachers along with librarians and even police officers, 14,500 in all.  Not exactly the record of the job creator.  When he got elected he tried to cut funding for early literacy in kindergarten programs, vetoed a bill to create universal pre-k in Massachusetts and questioned the value for early education.  As governor he vetoed programs that would have helped reduce class sizes in the earliest grades where individual attention is the most important.  Romney still believes against all evidence that smaller class sizes are harmful.  None of this helps students in Massachusetts get ready for college and the workforce."

He went on to talk about Romney's record on higher education...

James Kvaal, Policy Director: “Mitt Romney today outlined a very different set of proposals. As a reminder, his budget would make big cuts in the things we need to invest in our future, including education. He’s proposed some $5 trillion in tax cuts above and beyond the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts. And those tax cuts are slanted to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. He has told his donors that he would merge or dramatically downsize the Department of Education, and he supports the House Republican budget offered by Paul Ryan that would require cuts in domestic spending, including education, by almost 20%. Think of what we’ve learned today, the most troubling aspect was his proposal to stop the clock on decades of reform by no longer insisting that action be taken when a school is struggling, and struggling for years. Instead he would return to the days when failing schools were tolerated for year after year. His proposal – his only proposal in this area is to create school report cards. But it’s not clear how those reports cards are different from the school report cards that are already required by federal law. Moreover, while President Obama strongly supports transparency and has proposed steps to expand transparency, that alone is not going to improve our schools who need tools to help failing schools improve. Governor Romney has also proposed steps to expand school choice. President Obama has also worked to expand school choice, in his case, in public schools. In fact Race to the Top, encouraged states to lift caps on charter schools and expanded and strengthened charter schools in many states. Governor Romney’s proposal also appears to be open to private schools voucher, however, which is troubling because we know from experience that private school vouchers have failed to raise achievement and they drain resources from the public schools that serve the vast majority of children."