Romney's message to Philly teachers is not welcomed

Mel 2012/05/25 05:35:03

PHILADELPHIA — Making a rare inner-city campaign stop, Mitt Romney preached the merits of traditional, two-parent families and touted his platform of educational choice at a West Philadelphia charter school.

The Republican presidential candidate had little political reason during the primaries to visit heavily Democratic neighborhoods such as Carroll Park. And his initial foray as the likely GOPnominee had more to do with outreach to suburban moderates than to blacks, who are likely to give President Barack Obamaalmost universal support.

When Romney's campaign bus rolled up to the Universal Bluford Charter School on Thursday morning, he could see signs on the row houses across the street, including one that bore Obama's picture and the words, "We got your back." Another read, "Stop Privatizing."

Inside the neat, two-story brick school building, the welcome was much friendlier, though Romney was challenged during a roundtable discussion with educators to defend his claim that reducing class size doesn't improve student performance. The former governor contends that smaller classes are a ploy by teachers unions — one of his favorite targets — to get more teachers hired.

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Steven Morris, who teaches music, told Romney, "I can't think of any teacher in the whole time I have been teaching, 13 years, who would say that more students [in the classroom] would benefit. And I can't think of a parent that would say I would like my teacher to be in a room with a lot of kids and only one teacher."

Ronald Benner, whose technology classes range from 23 to 28 students, chimed in that "you can give more personalized attention to each student if you have a smaller class size." Another teacherstressed the importance of keeping classes to no more than 18 students in the critical early primary grades.

Romney, in a blue tie and white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, acknowledged that "if you had a class of five that would be terrific. If you had a class of 50, that's impossible." But he said a McKinsey Global Institute study had compared U.S. student performance with countries like Singapore, South Korea and Finland and found that class size didn't matter.

"Gosh, schools that are the highest performing in the world, their classroom sizes are about the same as in the United States. So it's not the classroom size that is driving the success of those school systems," Romney said.

Instead, parental involvement and top-flight teachers and administrators are what make the difference, he said.

Romney reiterated his contention that "the gap in educational opportunity and achievement of people of color in this society, I believe, is the civil rights issue of our time." He added that "having two parents in a home makes an enormous difference. And so if we're thinking about the kids of tomorrow, trying to help move people to understand, you know, getting married and having families where there's a mom and a dad together has a big impact. That's, in my view, that's a critical down-the-road for those that are already in a setting where they don't have two parents."

Creating jobs for minority parents is also crucial, Romney said, adding that "in many cases" it's not possible to have "intact families."

Later, as Romney was touring the all-black school, which the city school district turned over to a charter operator two years ago in an effort to improve student achievement, Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference on a sidewalk outside blasting the Republican's visit.

"I don't know why this guy's here," said Nutter, standing behind an Obama campaign sign. Romney "has suddenly somehow found West Philadelphia, somehow now wants to talk about education."

But the Democrat questioned whether Romney would learn much in a visit lasting less than two hours.

"I don't know that a one-day experience in the heart of West Philadelphia is enough to get you ready to run the United States of America," said Nutter, surrounded by several dozen chanting Obama supporters and neighborhood residents.

"Mitt Romney running his financial services firm put people out of work, damaged Americans, damaged families, caused people to lose their jobs, possibly lose their homes and all of that," the mayor said.

"So let's talk about that. You want to have an urban experience? You want to have a West Philly experience? Then come out here and talk to somebody in West Philly."

The Mator of Philadelphia also blasted Romney; "he has no credible record on education, and anyone running for president should have a record on that. The teachers union stated that Romney's facts were flawed, when compared to several other studies

Read More: http://www.mcall.com

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  • westernslope~PWCM~JLA 2012/05/25 07:29:11
    I saw how Dems react first hand when living in DC. They care more about the union, than the children.
  • JanHopkins 2012/05/25 06:06:28
    30 to 40 kids to one teacher was normal when I was a kid. I suspect we had a higher rate of reading comprehension, history, geography and math skills....and all without a calculator or computer. Chewing gum was the biggest social faux pas and nobody started fights in the classroom. Why is there a problem now?
  • Mel JanHopkins 2012/05/25 06:14:14
    Subjects are more complex than they are now especially math and sciences.
  • JanHopkins Mel 2012/05/25 06:27:02
    Science might be but math is a constant. If math has become more complex it is only because of the people who are writing the math books. The complexity lies in the language not in the actual math problems.
  • Mel JanHopkins 2012/05/25 17:41:05
    The way it's taught is vast different in the electronic age, and large class sizes can inhibit some children from receiving the info in an equal fashion
  • JanHopkins Mel 2012/05/26 05:15:59
    I think the childs brain capacity might inhibit recieving the info because unfortunately we are not all born equal. I don't think class size has anything to do with that. Perhaps they should do a study to discover what educators used to do before the electronic age to achieve success in the class room.
  • Mel JanHopkins 2012/05/26 06:36:18
    NOT born equal? Where did you get that from?
  • JanHopkins Mel 2012/05/27 01:02:45
    From science. We are not born equally intelligent. If we were there would be no need for the IQ test. We are not born with the same natural talents either. Some people are born to work with mechanical devises. Some are born with a phenominal memory. Some are born with an artistic bent. Some are born with a natural musical ability. Some are born to be accountants and some are natural born speakers. This is the real talent of teaching: finding that one thing a child takes flight with and bending all the other subjects around to enhance that set of wings.
    For example: My little brother could only read at a very minimal level. For years everyone in the family tryed to get him to read. Then one day when he was thirteen years old he got his hands on some kind of hard science magazine. Suddenly he was reading things that we had no idea what they meant and was explaining it all to us.
  • Mel JanHopkins 2012/05/27 06:09:47
    There is no scientific evidence for that. Show me something from a credible scientific body that says that.
  • JanHopkins Mel 2012/05/27 06:52:37
    LOL! A pagan requires scientific evidence! Let me catch my breath! No scientific evidence for IQ tests?
  • Mel JanHopkins 2012/05/27 17:44:34
    If that's the kind of responce you're capable of , and of course not providing what I asked for then it leaves few doubts about you. There are scientific, doctors who are pagans. We come from all walks of life. Get used to it
  • JanHopkins Mel 2012/05/27 18:24:27
    And the IQ tests are given simply to entertain the public and not to determine the amount of intelligence (scientifically) one was born with? Which leads to the conclusion that we are not born with an equal amount of intelligence. You are blowing smoke up my butt and you know it!
  • Grabitz JanHopkins 2012/05/26 23:27:23
    Back in our days teachers had control of us kids through the use of a paddle . Today teachers go to jail and sued if they even raise their voice to the kids . Big difference from then and now .
  • Mel 2012/05/25 05:36:18
    He has no clue. As a former volunteer educator, he's frightening to me.

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