Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why Mitt Romney’s Education Plan Sounds Familiar To Florida — And What’s New

Saul Loeb / AFP

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney outlines his education plan Wednesday.

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rolled out his education plan Wednesday in Washington, D.C.: More school choice options; reward high-performing charter schools and help them expand; require easy-to-read school report cards.

Stop us if you’ve heard this story before.

And if Romney’s influences were still a bit cloudy, he made them explicit in his speech to the Latino Coalition.

“And leadership makes a huge difference,” Romney told the group. “When Jeb Bush became governor of Florida, reading scores of Hispanic students in that state’s school system were dismal. He brought focused innovation and passionate leadership.  Today those scores have risen dramatically.

“But too often, new ideas, good teachers, and dedicated parents don’t find a welcoming partner and true champion in elected officials like Governor Bush.  Instead, they are met with resistance and resentment from the establishment.”

Bush even wrote the foreword to Romney’s plan: “A Chance for Every Child.”

Romney pushed for the adoption of data-based accountability measures while governor of Massachusetts. The foundation of his education plan is built upon the Florida model, but Romney folds in some new ideas as well.

Most notably, Romney would offer block grants to states which eliminate teacher tenure or develop teacher evaluation systems. Romney would also consolidate federal teacher training programs.

Parents would also be able to access federal Title I money earmarked for low-income schools, in order to purchase tutoring or other outside help directly.

Romney also borrows from higher education policies proposed in Texas, such as eliminating regulations that would make it easier for new colleges and universities to open.

Because President Barack Obama also supports some of these ideas, Romney’s  plan includes a direct shot at the incumbent: Restoring and expanding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, a federally funded private school voucher program which Obama declined to renew.

You can read Romney’s full education plan below.



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