Do you seek the Truth? Then here it is!
When it comes to education, the contrast between President
Obama’s and Romney’s record is clear. Here’s a breakdown of Romney’s
record of undercutting education in Massachusetts, and how he would
double down on his failed ideas if elected president.
Education funding: Romney has consistently opposed investment
in education, declaring in 1994 that “we don’t need to spend more on
education.” [Boston Globe, 10/12/94] As Massachusetts Governor, Romney
closed a $1.2 billion budget shortfall partly by slashing millions in funding for K-12 education,
shifting “at least part of the tax burden onto towns and counties.” In
fact, the draconian cuts from his first year in office resulted in the
layoff of 14,500 teachers, police officers, librarians, and others.
School improvement: By Romney’s second year as governor, Massachusetts schools saw one of the largest percentage cuts in the nation
on a per-pupil basis, forcing school districts to cut staff, increase
class sizes, and raise fees. In fact, Romney actively opposes small
classes sizes—in his book, he called it “non-reform reform,” and even
claimed efforts to reduce class sizes “may actually hurt education more
than it helps.”
Education funding: The President implemented the Race to the Top program, the largest-ever competitive investment in school reform. For less than 1 percent of total education spending nationwide, 19 states received Race to the Top funding, benefiting 22 million students.
Designed to encourage and reward states that close achievement gaps and
improve high school graduation rates and college preparation, Race to
the Top has shown it can be “a powerful spur to innovation in education.”
School improvement: The Obama administration offered states greater flexibility, and has already granted waivers to 11 states
from No Child Left Behind as long as states show that “they will
prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving
achievement among all students, develop meaningful teacher and principal
evaluation systems, [and] reward the best performing schools and focus
help on the ones doing the worst.” The plan “strikes a new balance between the federal and state roles” in education.
Student loans: Romney would enact the Ryan budget plan that would allow student loan rates to double in July, costing students an average of $1,000. As a presidential candidate, Romney “has no specific plan to address student loans, according to his policy director.”
College tuition: As Governor, Romney cut about $140 million from
higher education, forcing state universities to raise fees by 63 percent
to cover the deep budget cuts. By the end of Romney’s term,
Massachusetts community colleges cost 59 percent more than the national average,
while four-year public colleges cost 34 percent more. As a candidate,
Romney’s only advice to students struggling to afford college was to “shop around” or “borrow money if you have to from your parents.”
Student aid: By the end of Romney’s term, the Massachusetts
Higher Education Task Force recommended a significant increase in
need-based aid, to combat a 22 percent five-year decline. And now, the
budget plan Romney supports now “would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell Grants.” Romney continues to argue that student aid does nothing but result in higher tuition.
Student loans: The President understands the burden of
student loans, having worked to pay off his own student debts. He capped
income-based federal student loan payments at 10 percent of monthly
income and is pushing Congress to stop federal student loan interest
rates from doubling on July 1st for over 7 million students.
College tuition: The President’s proposed a plan that rewards states that curb higher education costs and rewards colleges that can successfully offer lower tuition prices.
Student aid: President Obama doubled funding for Pell Grants so an additional 3.7 million students would get college aid and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $10,000 for up to four years of college.
Republican Governors, including Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Bob
McDonnell, and Gov. Bill Haslam, have praised President Obama’s efforts
to reform and invest in education. Whatever Romney’s rhetoric, the
contrast between the President and Romney is clear. While the President
prioritizes education, Romney economics would prioritize tax cuts for
the wealthy few over investments in our future.
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