Romney on Education: He’s Lost My Vote

I just heard Mitt Romney say a few words on education.

There was a time when I might have considered voting for him, but no more.

The gist of his comments went like this: You can’t do anything about older teachers. They’re not good enough but they’re protected by those horrible teaching unions. We need to get rid of those bad unions so we can get rid of the bad teachers (these old guys, right?).

However, there’s real hope for the new teachers. These are the good teachers. We can make sure they get a really good education so when they get into the classrooms, their superior knowledge will keep the students so interested that they’ll get a really good education themselves.

Just about every point here is mistaken. No matter what the age, there are good teachers and bad teachers. More content classes will never change that. Teacher unions give teachers some ways to negotiate, but their powers are extremely limited. School boards and budget realities also hold a great deal of sway.

Mr. Romney, what kind of people are attracted to jobs that start out under $30,000 a year? Teachers are for the most part dedicated, passionate about students, committed to helping people learn. This is true of teachers of all ages. We can hope for better, but in the immediate future, there simply will not be more budget for better teacher salaries.

Statistics show that most teachers begin OK but get better over time. From experience, we educators know this is true.

And as an older teacher, but a very good teacher, I am offended by the incorrect blanket statement that age is a determiner of excellence. It simply is not so. Romney has bought into someone’s incorrect line of thinking.

If he has done so on this, how many other misinformed lines of thinking is he espousing?

No vote from me for Romney.


2 thoughts on “Romney on Education: He’s Lost My Vote

  1. I am curious as to what quote of his you are referring to, where you say that the gist of it is that older teachers are bad blah blah blah . I read the transcript of his Sunday interview on FoxNews, and I didn’t see anything that talked about “older” or “newer” teachers, or even “bad” teachers, he just talks about the unions in general. Many of my favorite teachers in school were teachers who had years of experience, and I know for a fact were members of their respective unions. I love them. But I don’t love national teachers unions. I don’t really want to get into a political debate about the validity of the actions of many unions, but I will say that there are a lot of reasons to dislike national unions that have nothing to do with tenure or older versus newer teachers.

    Unless you can show me your recent reference where Mitt was actually saying the words you are putting in his mouth, it’s not really him that you are arguing with, it’s your own invented version of him, based on what you fear he might secretly mean when he says he wants to “put children first.” Those are the words he actually said Sunday. Now, maybe that is code for firing all experienced teachers… Or maybe it’s just a guy saying lets put kids first, in which case, he could even be a fan of experienced teachers who know what they’re about when it comes to giving kids a great education. From what I’ve seen, great teachers already do what they can to put kids first. So, if that statement really can be read into as an insight into his philosophy, I see it as an affirmation of experienced teachers. I also think that local unions, where teachers are directly involved, can do a lot for supporting great teachers, but from there I personally draw a line when it comes to the actions of some state and any national unions. And when I hear Romney speak, it resonates with me that I don’t like what these power-mongering organizations are doing in our political system. Mitt even specifically goes on to say in that same FoxNews interview that he would like to see the oversight of education return to the states rather than this bureaucratic mess we are in (with the Department of Education controlling all states as if all states are the same and we all must have the exact same opinions as everyone else in the country). I say, if California wants to have their own opinions about education, let them have those opinions, but don’t nationalize every bit of education to the point where we all have to compromise to a standard that nobody likes. And if the states are running things themselves, then the AFT and NEA really don’t belong here any more, and the millions and millions of dollars that they are currently using to bribe politicians will be spent on better purposes. I mean it’s not like politicians need more money thrown at them. Let the local unions live, and the national unions fade into history books say I. And from what I gather, so says Romney. Go Romney 2012.

  2. I love your impassioned response and I think you and I are on the same page in many ways. And I knew my sassy interpretation of what I heard would certainly evoke some comments. Here is a link to someone else’s take on the speech:
    And here is a truncated version of the speech:
    I will keep an eye out for a complete transcription as it comes available in the next few days.
    I agree with you that state teachers’ unions are the way to go.
    My issue was this: it’s an old crank argument, that teachers’ unions block good education and they are there to protect all us good old boys. Read the Chalk and Talk commentary on that. It’s just too easy to repeat such an argument without knowing what’s actually going on in education. BUT…what a kindness to respond as you did here.

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