90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Education And Mitt Romney

Romney says let poor students take their government dollars to any school they like, public or private. We’ll weigh the plan.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Salina Beattie display class work they did together in the 6th grade language arts class during Romney's tour of the Universal Bluford Charter School, Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Salina Beattie display class work they did together in the 6th grade language arts class during Romney's tour of the Universal Bluford Charter School, Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP)

Mitt Romney was all economy all the time during most of the Republican primary season. Last week, he turned to education. Almost everyone agrees it is the key to the country’s future. But Romney declared that millions of American kids are getting “a third world education” in the USA.

His answer? More school choice. Let poor and disabled students take their federal funding and attend any school they like, even private school. If, that is, they can find such a school. And get in.

This hour, On Point: sizing up the Romney vision on America’s number one challenge – education.

-Tom Ashbrook


Alyson Klein, a reoprter for Education Week.

Ulrich Boser, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he analyzes education policy. He authored the report “Race to the Top: What Have We Learned from the States So Far?” on President Obama’s education initiative, the “Race to the Top” fund.

Martin West, education advisor to Mitt Romney and assistant professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Ginger Gibson, national political reporter for Politico.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “In all the months of Republican primaries and early campaigning, the topic of education rarely emerged. That changed on Wednesday when the presumed Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, announced his new education agenda.”

Slate “The basic idea of Romney’s thinking on K-12 education is to walk away from the standards-and-accountability approach that’s dominated in both the Bush and Obama administrations and double down on the choice thread of reform.”

ABC News “Mitt Romney said Tuesday that under his new K-12 education plan, federal education funds will follow every low-income or disabled American child so that he or she can attend any school in the state, including private ones.”

Romney’s Education Plan

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Steve-o

    Is this something other than the usual Republican refrain? Markets go to school, the wisdom of the marketplace will solve all problems.  The arguments for and against have been debated ad nauseum.  The fundamental problem with funding private education with public dollars is that private schools exclude.  They are not obligated to provide an appropriate education to all students as are the public schools.  And they don’t. Public funding of schools that do not function under the same rules as public schools amounts to a backdoor method of dismantling the public school system, a perennial Republican goal.   

  • Victor Vito

    The plan, as always with conservatives seems to be “good luck, you’re on your own”.

    • Greyman

      “Good luck, you’re on your own!” is EXACTLY what public schools tell kids every day, every week, every month, every year. That’s one good reason our national HS grad rates range from 60% to 80%. If public education is being “given” to the public, and can’t sustain graduation rates above 80%, the entire system is exactly as dysfunctional as it appears. In fact, it’s worse, depending on locality. PROMOTE MULTICULTURALISM–ABOLISH PUBLIC EDUCATION!

  • Pingback: Education And Mitt Romney – WBUR | Just Top News – Daily News Magazine

  • Ashbrook is Phenom

    I say give the money back to the parents so that the parents can afford to homeschool their own children in their own neighborhoods

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      The American electorate is so uneducated, has such a narrow view of history and the world, and watches so much TV, I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to encourage home schooling on a large scale. It will amplify our decline.

      • Jasoturner

        But then how will the kids learn about intelligent design?

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          Actually, they can learn about Intelligent Design in a public and/or private school classroom setting. What they’re learn is that it’s part of a political movement to make a bridge between (a particular) church and state and that the movement really runs against the grain of our constitution. It is and will be taught in the same light that Joseph McCarthy is taught in.


          • Tracy

            I think Jasoturner was being sarcastic. If not, I feel silly for my “like”.

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            True enough… Oh well, my comment is still true, yes?

    • jefe68

      There are enough Americans who can’t find the very country they live in on the map and some of them think that a triangle has 4 sides. That’s a real plan. Also how do you account for the issue of two family incomes?
      You know the majority of whom will have all that time on their hands to home school their kids after putting in 40 to 60 hour week.

      Here’s a quick quiz:
      1: Name all countries that begin with the letter U.  

      2: Who was Warren Harding?

      3: Were the Marx brothers communist?

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        a fun quiz:

        1. United States, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates.

        2. A crappy Republican 29th President of the United States.

        3. No, although many prominent Jews of that era were.

        I wasn’t home schooled.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MOST parents CANNOT homeschool, for a variety of reasons!  Working two or more jobs, to pay the bills.  Looking for work.  Lack of education.  MANY other reasons would leave children uneducated.

  • AC

    it sounds good out loud, but the logistics must be a nightmare. let me read the attached ‘plan’ first….

  • Lin

    Please unravel how Romney’s plan will line the pockets of the private sector? How long will it take until public education will be completely gutted? That, I’m sure, is what is at the core of this “plan.” I just want to know how exactly we will Bain-ify education? 

  • Yar

    I live in a rural county with around 50,000 residents, about 8000 kids are in the county school system, another 1250 in city systems and maybe 1000 in private or home schools.  On any given day 200 high school kids would be considered homeless.  Our county bus system travels over 7500 miles per day.  The County also maintains roads for those buses. The county school budget is 45 million dollars.  None of this is sustainable from the county tax base.  The Romney plan would shift money from our county schools to the private system while not reducing the county’s cost at all.  My plan, which I have elaborated several times on this blog, involves two years of public service after high school.  Kids from privileged school districts could assist school districts like the one in my county. It will give them a view of a different side of the country.  The bottom line is that the taxpayer will never fully support educating other peoples children.  That is why separate schools are inherently unequal.   We must fully fund public education.  Privatize the US education system and we will have revolution in less than 12 years.   

    • Zing

       Typical retread commie rhetoric…” gimmie what I want or I’ll blow you up”.  But thanks for pointing out the reason for the failure of public education. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

        Wow. You really don’t have anything constructive to say do you?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Count on that, when you see his ‘Zing’ tag!  Evidently, is is short for hazing, or some other counter-productive term?

      • Yar

        No Zing, you are captain of rhetoric. “Commie” is case and point. Attack by class is your MO.
        What I was saying is a nation that abandons its youth is doomed. That is true in any society, call it
        creative destruction or destructive creation, history has shown this many times over. I am advocating social capitalism, the taxpayer has invested over 100,000 dollars in every student by the time they graduate high school. Two years of public service is paying for a small part of their own education.

    • can do

      Good points.  A school bus with 10 students riding it costs just as much to run as a school bus with 50 students on it.  Not to mention the extra school busses (??) which will have to run from the house of each student who wishes to attend a charter school on the other side of the county.  As well, a system with a “failing” school would certainly not have the funds to build a smaller, more energy and maintenance-efficient building, but also could not afford to run a half-empty old building. 
      I’ll admit I didn’t read Mr. Romney’s plan in its entirety, but I’m going to assume this is not addressed.
      By the way, I love the idea of public service – a “non-war” draft.  It seems those who were forced to serve their country turned out a bit better as citizens.

  • AC

    ok. i’m 11 pages in and it’s a silly plan…..totally silly. i’ve lost interest in reading the rest since it’s not actually talking about the logistics of the plan, it’s doing a lot of bashing and complaining.
    One good idea was to recruit/reward the profession of teacher – but - then they want to remove the ‘necessary certifications’? What?!! so then people like the ‘teachers’ in the Jesus Camp documentary can run rampant?!?!? No thanks!
    also, there is no such thing as ‘digital schools’ – that is a company, what they mean to say is ‘online learning’. that could help the ‘plan’ becase in rural areas, choice is limited & in urban areas, classroom capacity for the ‘best’ schools would be standing room only…..
    i’ll read the rest later, when i have time and nothing better to do. I’m glad this ‘Martin West’ will be a guest and explain the idea a little more fully, i’m not getting anything out of the paper

    • Zing

       You should go back to school when you have time.  You can barely frickin read.

      • AC

        what an odd thing to say, i graduated college cum laude..?
        you must be one of those who just look for reaction - i will ignore your ‘zings’, tho you may continue to send them my way. i like thinking of you giggling at your own perceived cleverness…

    • Drew (GA)

      It took 11 pages to reach that conclusion? Martin West + Mitt Romney + Education = Dead Giveaway.

      • AC

        i try not to judge books by the cover, too much of that going on.
        plus you never really know where a good idea might come from -the whole ‘from the mouths of babes’ thing.
        i was going to say, people you think you know can still suprise you – but that goes two ways. i’ve had people i thought i knew shock me speechless with some of the dumbest ideas too…

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Congratulations to you, lady! 
             Trying to be dispassionately honest, to make a level-headed evaluation of a program, is NOT easy! 
             ELEVEN PAGES of silliness, and bashing, WITHOUT serious answers?  What purpose can there be to that, from a ‘religious’, ‘businessman’?  Doesn’t Mitt claim to ‘get to the crux of the problem’?

          • Drew (GA)

            Mitt supports The Market (Wall Street), he can claim whatever he wants.

  • Boston mom

    When Romney was governor of Mass., he took money away from public education. Our children’s school, which had the highest MCAS (state standardized test) scores in the city, was almost closed because of his cuts. A group of high school and college students formed a group called “Students Against Romney.” In short, he was terrible on education even as a governor — and governors are supposed to champion local schools!

    • Zing

       Students Against Romney – well, we see how successful THEY were…more public school product?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5BK5ZRHNYEOEITWKOFOVJJPM2I Jinshun

    Why offer the a student the opportunity to go somewhere else to study? In doing so, you’re just increasing the workload of the “good” schools while allowing for “bad” schools to stagnate. If students don’t feel motivated to study, then you should increase their motivation. A K-12 public school teacher doesn’t get paid a lot, so someone who is working in such a position usually is pretty dedicated to the education of our youths and should be applauded for doing so. Instead of simply shifting the workload, we should be rewarding the schools that are doing well and giving incentives to perform better to other schools. Instead of slashing funding for under-performing schools, why not give them a grant to push their students into the above average category, while telling them that if they can get consistently better performance, the grant would be even better? Why not give schools with above average marks funds to expand to allow for bigger and better programs?

    • Zing

       Or better yet, reward schools that graduate students who create jobs for their local economies.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        WOW!  Something that I agree with, from Zing?  I would think this would be the natural order of things!  A sucess from a school would show gratitude to that school, by being a helpful alumnus?   Recruiting your workforce from your alma mater, seems to be a natural conclusion, to me.
           DO sucessful alums DO it?  OR, are they too GREEDY to get rich?

    • Gregg

      Throwing money does not equal better education. If a school “stagnate(s)” then let heads roll and fix it. If a community can’t muster up enough will to lift a finger about it, and are satisfied with an inept school then let them have it. Just don’t trap others in it.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Romney and ALL his cohorts, that have over $ 5 Million, will put HALF of their assets into an escrow account, to gurantee the poor will be able to get into these private schools?
       AND they will take the FULL loss, if the ‘charter school’, doesn’t perform, goes out of business, or otherwise has problems?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    After a quick scan through the gist of what I’m getting is a promotion of the benefits of charter schools, school choice, and the privatization of the public school system through online schooling at the cost of the states and the local tax payers. How is this going to help exactly? I can understand the benefits of charter schools in that they are great test grounds for new teaching techniques but I also know they are a big drain on local budgets, tend to pay their teachers much less than regular public schools, and many times the techniques created in charter schools are not transferable to the broader public school system. The school choice option sounds like a nice idea but I don’t understand how this will not further burden school systems with transportation costs that could be better spent improving existing schools. And online schooling seems like it could be a nice suppliment to public schools, providing access to classes not normally offered , but I do not see how they could become an adequate subsitute for in class education. I dunno, I just don’t see how this is all such a great idea. Tom I hope you dig down into this plan with gusto, few in the mainstream media have even bothered to question this plan and I think it’d be a great help to us all to know where and how Romney plans to lead future generations of students.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    This from the guy that told the future college student that t6he government wasn’t going to help him because it wasn’t the government’s responsibility?  The same guys that said to find a college he  could afford and borrow money from his parents (and by implication -all students that don’t have wealthy parents or a full ride scholarship).

    Are ALL schools going to be required to accept a government voucher? Doesn’t that idea fly in the face of his views on deregulation and competition?  How much money is this going to cost?

    The desireable schools are savvy. They’ll jack prices to wring as much money as they can on the government’s dime, those that can afford it; and many will price themselves out of range to keep “undesirables” out, such as the poor and the handicapped (NPR reported on this practice in charter schools), if they weren’t priced that way already.

    How much will this cost in transportation? Schools will have to bus the kids. Will that onus be on the local schools and taxpayers, as it is in many areas, or the schools that accepted the students?  Or will that be the responsibility of parents to get their kids to a distant school? 

    What happens when the already poor schools see mass emigration to other schools, when the money that should be going to them, based on attendance in many states, is radically cut?  Moreover, what happens to the students education and their future? 

    • Drew (GA)

      “What happens when the already poor schools see mass emigration to other schools, when the money that should be going to them, based on attendance in many states, is radically cut?  Moreover, what happens to the students education and their future?”

      Detroit Happens.

      • Markus

        This one I can answer. The bad schools (defined by parents not wanting their kids to go there), will shrink and so there will be fewer bad schools and bad teachers. So, the number of good schools and good teachers will increase. Seems like education would improve.

        BTW, on bussing, administrators are smart enough to know that if they make it too hard to physically get to school, people won’t go there. So they’ll go where the people are, just like a thousand other organizations who aren’t protected by a government monopoly.

        I’m not naive enough to think there won’t be a lot of transition issues. No entrenched and politically strong machine will quietly let its’ power erode. And it will require time to set up the infrastructure. Any change of this sort will have massive bumps.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          “No entrenched and politically strong machine 
          will quietly let its’ power erode.”

          You must be referring to the American public, local taxpayers and parents – since that is the interest-group that demands quality public schools.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          FOR PROFIT Charter Schools are FOR PROFIT!  GREEDY administrators and investors will pay the least for teachers, maintenance, etc…, to PROFIT, and show a PROFIT, until they Golden Parachute out, and leave the students WITHOUT!

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

         I’d like to see every student get the same dollars invested in them, regardless of attendance or location, statewide. 

        Where I am, we pay some of the highest taxes in the state (and nation for that matter), but more of our dollar goes to schools in the NYC and affluent areas than it does our own.  Isn’t this, more or less, the rich getting richer on the backs of the taxpayers?  Let those districts raise the school taxes on themselves if they want money above and beyond what every other child has invested in their eduction.  Think that can’t be done? Take a look at schools that are threatened with ending sports programs, mainly football (especially in the South). The parents in school after school will dig deep into their own pockets  and find miracle money, and vote to raise (or at least not cut) taxes, to keep from cutting those programs.  But how many does that serve? Just the kids on the team, and where’s the education value in knowing how to fun a nickel-back defense for a select few kids? So there IS money there for ALL students.

        The small, rural, and innner city schools  suffer the worst, and are supported by taxpayers that can afford to loose the least. Why is my rural American child not worth the same investment as a child in downstate NY? 

        I hear arguments such as, “Everything costs more out there.” But if they couldn’t afford to live there, then they wouldn’t be living there to begin with.

      • William

        Then that school is closed and the people move away to better schools. There is no reason to keep pumping money into failing schools, like Detroit.

        • Drew (GA)

          Easy to say when you’re not the one homeless, starving, and lacking transportation to move away to better schools. “Those” people obviously don’t matter though right? If you can’t afford to relocate you don’t deserve an education. You’re a genius.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Your Child-Molesting and Child-Abusing church schools are BETTER?  HOW?

  • Mike MA

    Will these vouchers include extra funds for transportation of the student?  Or are they only for those who have enough money or enough freedom in their schedules to transport their children on their own?

    • can do


  • Prairie_W

    I was writing a piece about this the other day and found some interesting critiques of Romney’s plan.  If you think about it, though, we may be asking people who are the products of an educational system which has been sinking for years — decades — to dream up a better educational system.  And, worst of all, many seem to mistake training for education, producing a worker for a specific field as distinct from the well-educated American. As long as “well-educated” is a red flag to about a third of us, we aren’t going to have a genuinely good education system, one that can help us compete internationally.

    David Corn (Nation) was interviewed on MSNBC and had this to say (rough transcript)

    When Bush ran, he talked about the Texas miracle. how great the
    education system was, particularly in Houston which has the second
    largest school system in the country. He took superintendent of that
    school system, Rod Paige , and made him the education second and they
    pushed it together. Promoted the No Child Left Behind Act. While Rod
    Paige was in Washington , the news broke that the Houston school system,
    when he was in charge of it, had dramatically underreported dropouts. 
    That it wasn’t a miracle.  [They] themselves just rigged the books.  How
    bad the school system was.  Rod Paige at that time refused to talk to
    report[ers about] his involvement or explain… Years later when “60
    Minutes” was going into the [story, he] refused to talk to them about it
    and he still has not explained what happened on his watch. Yet Mitt
    Romney comes along and makes him a special adviser . Whoo!  Big deal on
    education reform!  I don’t know why he hasn’t looked at the clips.  Rod
    Paige is tainted goods at this point in time. …”Michael Petrilli at HuffPo was more hopeful, complimentary:”
    There’s a lot to be said for making federal dollars follow disadvantaged children to their schools of choice:
    It provides incentives for good schools to attract needy kids;
    It helps those kids exit dreadful schools;
    It promotes integration by allowing federal funds to flow to schools that are socio-economically-mixed; and
    encourages states to make their own funding more portable (a la
    weighted student funding) — with all manner of benefits around equity,
    choice, and more.

    But it’s not without its drawbacks:
    It could move federal funds away from high-poverty schools (which get most Title I dollars today) to low-poverty ones;
    money (1,000-2,000 per pupil) isn’t enough to pay for actual
    private-school tuition, so that part isn’t apt to get much real
    giving parents “private accounts” to spend on digital learning,
    tutoring, and the like, it could weaken schools’ larger improvement
    efforts, which are mostly funded by these federal dollars.

    biggest concern, though, comes with having Uncle Sam try to use his 10
    cents on the education dollar to force major changes on the states.
    We’ve seen how that works (or doesn’t) in the context of
    accountability; why do we think it will work better in the context of
    school choice?  ”

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Mitt will teach classes of 50 of the MOST UNRULY and handicapped students, to PROVE his words about class sizes?  Mitt will GURANTEE, with his own fortune, that ALL his students will rank top 10% of ALL placement tests, and qualify for high-paying jobs?
       OR is he just pompous HOT AIR?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Since he says it’s SO EASY, Mitt can do this, while performing his other duties, and product DOUBLE the required reports, homework grading and evaluations?

  • Markus

    No time to listen to broadcast or read the report today, so I hope these are in context.

    There are an awful lot of bad teachers and bad schools, in part, because you can’t get rid of the incompetents or those who have retired in place. It’s hard to think of something more unfair to parents than forcing them send their kids to a lousy school or pay twice when they can’t afford it.

    Surprising to see such negative comments even before hearing the show. How much is this people just don’t like Romney or Republicans?  

    • Daniel

      I see. Do you have numbers on the “bad teachers and bad schools” or are you just going by what your gut tells you?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Mitt, put YOUR money where YOUR MOUTH is?

  • Brett

    Romney and education? Aren’t those two mutually exclusive?

    There’s nothing wrong with developing strategies to fix public education. It is in need of some type of overhaul. Good teachers should be somehow rewarded for their skills. School districts that get it right, as it were, should also have incentives to continue improvement. Using good education systems, the ones that “get it right,” could serve as good models (but not the bureaucratic lip-service, “best practices” approach that infests just about every agency and becomes a perfunctory obligation so it can be said a particular system is utilizing the best practice). There should be some better mechanism for getting rid of bad teachers. There should be some way to address poorly performing school districts without a lot of red tape, bureaucracy, and political wrangling.

    However, privatizing, giving out vouchers, eliminating unions altogether, etc., are not the way to go. At best, this approach would serve to help well-off families to better send their kids to private schools.   

  • Oedipa

    This is clearly a rent-seeking gambit for those who’d like to see our tax dollars transferred from public education to private institutions and, I fear, emblematic of the kind of policies we’d see under a President Romney.

    Also worth noting, the word-smiths are already out in front of this, having begun to supplant the phrase “public education” with “government education”, so as to paint the status quo with a kind of malignant largesse.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Having taught in high school and college for more than a decade and having talked with teachers at all levels, I can tell you that public schools of all kinds are failing and getting worse.

      • lodger

        What do you think would be the best solution?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           See above for a discussion of the problem.  We need a massive cultural shift to solve it.

      • can do

        Greg, how bad a teacher were you?  What percentage of the teachers at your school were “failing and getting worse”?  What, specifically, did you do about this?


        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           I still teach, and I’m good at what I do.  The problem is that there was nothing on the high school level that I could do, thanks to a bad system and unmotivated students.  I stick with college now.

  • Greyman

    Because of NPR/PRI/APM/CPB’s profound reluctance to treat the subject of public school employee sexual predation, most Americans have NO idea of the exact dimensions of the problem. The data are not easy to come by, since each state hides the data in its own peculiar fashion, and the Feds surely aren’t telling us. The US Dept. of Educ. buried a report from 2004 in which a Hofstra U. researcher suggested that as many as 10% of all US public school students have been exposed to “sexual misconduct” at the eager hands of some public education “professional”. EVEN IF we halve the numbers from that study (from 4 million to 2 million) and halve them again (2 million to 1 million), we still have a student population TEN TIMES the size of the 11,000-odd documented and/or alleged cases of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse. But NPR et al. give (practically) TEN TIMES as much coverage to the RCC sex abuse cases than to the far more numerous cases of public school sexual abuse. Why is public broadcasting providing cover for public school sexual abuse? Why is public broadcasting coverage devoted to RCC sexual abuse, except to smear parochial (read: non-public) education? Why are public schools getting a free ride on sexual abuse from public media? 

    • Greyman

      My math suffers even when I’ve had all of my morning coffee, sorry: the population of victims of public school sexual predation according to the USDE study cited would be a modest ONE HUNDRED TIMES the size of the RCC clergy sex abuse population. I’ll leave it to NPR to explain to us all how much coverage they’ve devoted to the RCC scandals vs. the scant attention they’ve to public school sexual abuse. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘Authority figure’ sexual predators should be prosecuted, and exposed for what they are!
           What is the ratio of public-school students, to RCC students?  
           What is the comparative percentages of predators, and VICTIMS in each?
          Teachers and school staff are ‘authority figures’, and deserve harsher treatment for molesting.
          Priests, preachers, and other ‘men and women of GOD, should face even harsher treatment, since they use their position to threaten ‘eternal damnation’ to their VICTIMS, either explicitly, or complicitly!
           Administrators of EITHER, share in the crimes that they cover up, or otherwise enable!

      • Ray in VT

        I don’t see any sort of national press about this issue as a whole either, although it certainly gets attention in some cases at the national level especially and pretty much always at the local level when such incidents come to light. 

        Your comments, though, phrase such a lack of coverage as some sort of cover-up or conspiracy, which I certainly do not think exists.  I don’t think that the attention that the Church gets on this issue is undeserved, and I don’t think that it is a part of some plot to get it.

        I think that part of the reason that the Church gets so much flak is that the offenders are supposed to be holy, Godly men who commit these acts.  All such acts are heinous, and the betrayal by a teacher is also a grave breach of trust.

        At least when these acts have been perpetrated by teachers, there seems to be greater cooperation on the part of the institution.  The Church is guilty not only of allowing these crimes to occur, but also of hiding the guilty and facilitating their ability to re-offend.  If one wants a conspiracy to hide grave crimes, then the Church is certainly guilty of that in how it has treated pedophile priests.

        • Greyman

          Ray: I don’t think the RCC cases merit no attention whatsoever, far from it, for reasons you cite, for reasons Terry cites, et cetera. HOWEVER: the fact that NPR & Co. devote segment after segment, month after month, to the RCC cases, given the alarming statistics provided in the Hofstra study, shows a troubling trend. If in fact public school sexual abuse cases outnumber RCC cases something on the order of 100:1, the public is being vastly dis-served by public media that shows a distinct reluctance to address the problem. It’s not that I think the RCC cases merit no attention: rather, I argue that, being much more pervasive, public school sexual abuse cases merit MUCH greater attention than NPR & Co. have given to it. (I’m still waiting for some NPR personage to give me exact statisitics on the amount of coverage provided to the two distinct classes of cases, RCC vs. public school; I see an inverse disproportionality at work in NPR’s coverage, and I’d gladly be disabused of this outlook if only an NPR spokesperson would be forthcoming with the data.)

      • really?

        Greyman – what in the Roman Catholic Church’s past performance in burying instances of sexual predation makes you think we have a “good” number on the incidents that occurred and the priestly predators still in place or quietly hidden?  If your basic number is wrong, then all of your equations are as well.

        Moreover, surely you don’t propose that this should govern whether or not we support public education, do you?

        • Greyman

          The only data I’ve seen (I’m not RC, btw) come from the 2004 John Jay report, which given the preceding years of close attention I assume reflect the reality at least approximately, though I’d be glad to consider more recent data. The report I cite came up c. 11,000 abuse cases between 1950 and 2002. Eleven thousand. The Hofstra U. researcher estimated that over FOUR MILLION public school students have faced some kind of sexual abuse or predation or unwanted attention. As I said, even if we slash the Hofstra figure down to one quarter, we’re still talking about 100 cases of public school sector sexual abuse for every single case in the RCC sector. That is vastly disproportionate, by my count; yet NPR, et al., devote segment after segment to the RCC cases, with something approaching inverse disproportionality. –and: I do in fact think that this is “just another reason” to abolish public education, not the primary one, not the leading one, but one of several compelling reasons to abandon public education outright.  

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Your math suffers because of your bias, not because of lack of caffeine.

        According to US census and National Catholic Education Association figures, there are more than 4,000 times as many public school teachers in the US as there are ordained clergy teaching in Catholic schools (only 0.5% of the 151,395 total, since most are laity). 

        If we assume that most of the sexual abuse in public schools is on the part of male teachers (which almost certainly is not the case, since the study you cite includes sexual harassment as well as consensual sexual activity and sexual relations post-graduation when the former students are adults), then the ratio of sexual abuse incidents between public and Catholic schools should be about 2,000 to one. 

        If it has been estimated at only 100:1, then there is 20 times more abuse happening between clergy and students as between male public school teachers and students, even though the overwhelming majority of those public school instances would not involve the kind of rape that is common among the Catholic clergy.

        • Greyman

          If only NPR & Co. would tell us the whole story, hunh? They’ve managed to hide it quite well thus far . . . .

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The “whole story”, mister moron, would indict the church, not public schools. But, perhaps, the simple statistics I posted above are beyond your comprehension.

          • Greyman

            They are beyond my comprehension, since you conflate categories with liberal abandon. I frankly don’t know the proportion of RC clergy abuse cases vis-a-vis RC parochial schools, and you don’t seem to know, either. I don’t know the race, gender, age, or orientation categories of offense in public school settings, either, just as you seem not to. NPR has the resources to tell us both, I assume, but they’re only relating one side of the story these days, which is my point.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            There is only one side of this story. Sexual abuse in public schools is likely not occurring at a rate greater than in the general population, but sexual abuse among the clergy is happening at orders of magnitude greater rates.

            NPR is not hiding any statistics. They’re all available to anyone who cares to look. 

            You, clearly, don’t care to know the truth as it would undermine your bias and disturb your ignorance.

          • Greyman

            btw: was “ad hominem” not treated in the Superior Logic classes you took? I didn’t major in philosophy, and even I heard of that logical fallacy.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            If you had studied logic, you would know that “ad hominem” is a fallacy only if it is improperly used to undermine a substantive argument. 

            If the personal qualities (or lack thereof) of a disputant are relevant, then pointing them out is not a fallacy, but a moral and logical necessity.

    • Greyman
    • Terry Tree Tree

      I have read of MANY public school teachers REMOVED from the classroom, and PROSECUTED for these sex-crimes!  Usually, these public school Molesters and Abusers are caught and PROSECUTED within a year!
         Catholic Clergy ‘men of GOD’, authority figures on many levels, are PROTECTED, supported, and AIDED in Molesting MORE, by the church that keeps trying to claim the moral high-ground?
         This tells me that the Catholic church is Child-Molesters and Child-Abusers, all the way to the TOP!  Otherwise, they would have done the RIGHT thing, from the START?

  • ResearchAnalyst

    A suggestion for a future program: why has Romney’s performance as governor not been discussed by either side?  All we hear about is Bain Capital, and it would seem that his success or failure as governor would be more relevant.  Here’s one of the few news items on the subject: 

  • J__o__h__n

    Romney’s education plan is as full of new innovative ideas as Paul Ryan’s economic plan is.  Same tired old Republican agenda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    I see nothing new here. How is Romney’s plan any different than school vouchers? Hasn’t that been done in previous administrations? Isn’t this just another plan to suck more money out of public schools and completely privatize the school system?

    From what I heard about private/charter schools is that, on average, they are no more efficient, effective, or economical than public schools. It doesn’t look like a solution to me.

  • TFRX

    Funny to have these two hours back to back.

    The same mindset that convinces people that their 401k, alone, will provide returns that beat 98% of comparable funds is the same mindset that makes millions of people think that their child, alone, is at the 98% level to get that one spot in a charter school.

  • Michele

    Ditto the comment of TFRX.  It seems to me as a parent of children in school that “school choice” is mostly about cutting teacher benefits as a way to cut education costs, and not a real choice for children.

    • TFRX

      There’s more to “school choice” not to be ignored:

      In Averageburb USA it reflects the ability of parents to think they can send their kid to a richer (better) school district while shreiking in horror about the idea that some kids from worse (poorer) districts will get to attend their schools.

  • William

    It seems a difficult plan to support if it does not allow all parents to utilize it.

  • TFRX

    “The most prosperous nation on earth,” says Mitt.

    Not that he’s out of touch, but at what point does this not jibe with childhood poverty statistics?

    There just seems to be a great disconnect in Romney’s lingo between “prosperity on average” and boots on the ground, and if he understands this, he’s hiding it pretty well.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Romney IS part of the prosperity?  HE doesn’t teach a class of fifty mixed students?  He doesn’t know what he is talking about?

  • Rebecca Abbott

    Romney’s plan assumes that there are enough open spaces in “good” schools to accommodate all the children who might want to enroll in them, to say nothing of whether those schools are near enough for new students reasonably to travel there.

    • Jasoturner

      You give him too much credit.  That isn’t an assumption, it’s a question he hasn’t even bothered to ask.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    So basically all kids enrolled in religious schools would get to bring their federal dollars with them?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What’s wrong with education today:

    1.  We’ve adopted a model of industrial education.  The progress of children is measured by standardized tests that tell us nothing about the actual knowledge and ability to use the same that they possess.

    2.  We bus children far away from their homes, so their parents aren’t as able to attend meetings, and the children have to spend too much time travelling to and from school.

    3.  We pay teachers a wage that reflects how much we value education in this country.

    4.  We tolerate bad behavior on the part of students–from grade one through college–and do nothing to correct it.

    5.  Many parents see no value in education beyond getting a piece of paper, so education isn’t supported at home.

    6.  Too many see education solely as a means to getting a job.  Education is in fact a way to be a good human being.

    7.  We stuff students into classrooms with limited resources and expect the teachers to maintain order and give an education.

    8.  We act as though teachers are solely responsible for education, regardless of the lack of motivation of students.

    There’s likely more to say, but that’s enough for now.  Experts, what’s your simple solution?

  • Paula

    Tom, What did Romney do as Governor for education in Massachusetts… he balanced the budget by cutting monies to cities and towns which devastated school districts all over the state. Also funding special education is HUGE… it continues to
    eat up maybe up to 30% of districts. Private schools don’t admit students with special needs mainly because of all the special services and extra personell that must be put in place. This plan is ALL RHETORIC… he also doesn’t believe in class size being an important variable… tell that to secondary school teachers like myself who have over 130 students to teach.

  • SomMom

    1. Doesn’t money follow kids who go to charter schools (away from district schools) already?

    2. The traditional public schools would be left with hardly any money. How does Romney plan to educate the kids left there? Or don’t they matter?

    3. I believe many other countries with huge class sizes stress memorization. Is that what we’re going to move toward in Romney’s plan?

    4. I have kids in a public school system in a city with a large poverty rate and large ELL population; one of my kids has already graduated and is at a top tier college; many of his friends who are in the ELL/free lunch population are going to Ivy League schools. How would Romney’s plan affect our city’s schools? Negatively!

  • TomK in Boston

    Textbook righty ideology, public is bad, private is good. As added bonuses they get to bust teachers unions and redistribute lots of $ to corporate-type executive salaries in the private school corporations. Not much to say, just basic class warfare.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Common Core standards–I’ve talked to someone who will have to teach this.  It’s just a shiny new application of chrome on the same corroded lemon of a plan.

  • MarkVII88

    First, why would a private school, that may have no state-mandated requirement to provide special-needs services, have any incentive to take students with special needs or those who may be coming to them with their Title 1 money? 

    Second, what about all the public school students who aren’t special-needs students, low income, or who are performing at or above the measured standards?  They don’t have access to the same opportunity of school choice and are stuck where they are?  What are these students supposed to do if they are at a good school that is being inundated with students coming in with their Title 1 money, putting more of a drain on the teaching staff and potentially lowering the quality of education their school can now provide?

  • 458

    I wonder if there would be a rise in special education if Romney’s plan was implemented?

  • SteveV

    We have a regional high school nearby that has been criticized for poor teachers
    and low test scores. Yet, I have friends with children that have graduated (with
    honors) and went on to college. Today they are all very successful earning six
    figure incomes. It appears to me the constant in successful children is parental
    involvement, good outcomes with it, poor outcomes without.

  • how would it work

    How does Mr. Romey’s plan pay for transportation for poor children to get to the school of their choice?

    Poor children would most likely not have a parent with a car and the leisure to drive their children to school each day.

    • Ray in VT

      True.  What about children in poor, rural schools where the closest alternative may be 15-20 miles away?  For people with limited means of transportation in such areas “choice” may not exist no matter what the system is.

  • Daniel

    All I hear is injecting middle men into the process. Oh, and profit, profit, profit.

  • J__o__h__n

    Education Week employs someone who says “incentivize.”

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Tells you what they think about the English language. . .

  • Ellen Dibble

    On the surface of it, there will be a lot less walking and running to school, and a lot more bus services taking children hour upon hour to centralized facilities that parents come to recognize as the best.  And the real estate business will no longer be trying to sell houses on the basis of the school system, and whether a community is poor or wealthy will no longer define the value of their schools.  The schools can simply close.  I think I’ll invest in a bus company — and whatever Big Pharma has patents on the latest diabetes medications.

  • Jasoturner

    Keep in mind that folks like Romney can always afford private school for their kids, and they will indeed send their kids to private school.  Consequently, the  quality of public schools is really irrelevant to them and their families.  As such, whether Romney’s plan is feasible or not probably doesn’t matter much to him.  It’s just a plan to make his constituency happy.

    It almost seems that the republicans are promoting policies designed to create an underclass.  And maybe that is the goal.  If we have enough poor, uneducated, desperate people in this country, we can start bringing back low wage manufacturing jobs currently performed in Mexico and Asia.

    • AliceH

      Just checked the tuition at Cranbrook, Romney’s alma mater for 2012-2013.  Grades 1-5, $22,300; Grades 6-8, 24,300; Grades 9-12, $28,300.  I doubt any government vouchers will cover that.  People who send their children to exclusive private schools are saying that money IS important in education.

  • ghoffman

    Finland’s top rated education system says of America: “Children come to school ready to learn. They come to school healthy. That’s not a problem the United States has solved yet.” Only one of eight applicants to teacher education programs is accepted;
    each teacher has a master’s degree. “The best and the brightest want to
    become teachers in Finland,” says Keith Krueger, CoSN’s CEO.
    The second reason is all students’ fluency with languages. Most students know three languages: Finnish, Swedish, and English.  http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3749880

  • Rex

    This sounds a whole lot like the privatization of Medicare. 

    Schools will be playing catch-up for years trying to accommodate for all of the transfers. Who is to say which students get in when the list is full? He’s renovating a house by stripping it down to the foundation.Logistically, how does this work?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       You just live in your second house.  You do have one of those, don’t you?

      Yup, he’s clueless.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I have yet to hear anyone discuss the one thing that would make education work:  Parents who insist that their children learn.  You want to know how successful a child will be?  Ask the parent’s opinion about education.

  • Kid

    While not a Romny fan, I agree with his third world education assertion. Our kids attend one of the best public schools in the state, yet feel the need to pay $500 per month to have our kids tutored after school in an Asian public school math program.

    • Yar

      My child teaches English in a private school in South Korea, they pay 600 dollars per month per child for the class.(About 35 dollars per hour)  South Korean’s spend about 25 percent of their income on education.  Her 4-5 year old’s are reading in English at what we call the third grade level.  

      • Kid

        That may be the problem right there. Perhaps South Koreans are well educated because they value education with both their wallets and their mouths. The poor quality of our educational system is a collective, national disgrace.

  • Yar

    The magic of public education is that it gives everyone a chance, the learning community is better off knowing the full spectrum of ability.  Any school that can pick its students should have better test scores.  That doesn’t mean they are better in educating those students.

  • Jim

    Do you think a private equity investor with a long record of firing workers would ever care about educating not only children of elitist background but also low income kids?

    This guy is from a privilege background and i just find it hard to understand how mixing his business acumen with his plan of giving people money to search for schools be a long term fix to our schools?

    He has never addressed what would happen to public schools if charter schools were to be way to go. would towns simply throw away the public school system?

    Look, charter school is not cheap. and fees will accumulate and the final cost will be much higher than the cost of public schooling. at the end Romney’s cronies will benefit immensely at the expense of low income children.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    What if the parents are NOT qualified, or interested in evaluating the teachers, or school?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Capitalism is offering as little as possible and getting as much as you can for it. Let’s see how that model works for education. With a flood of money out there, there will be many more private schools who are in the business primarily for the money.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Education is not a for-profit business, and any attempt to use business models for education is plain stupidity.

    • Jasoturner

       Or sheer genius.  Depending on how you make money…

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        A business buys low and sells high, whether we’re talking about labor, widgets, services, or so forth.  Education is something else entirely.

  • Greyman

    Why does “the educated class” persist in its support of public education? Why do brainiacs from Harvard, et cetera, fiddle decade after decade with “fixing” public education? Why support the kinds of statist propaganda that much of public education consists of, given all the sociology-driven, politics-driven drivel heaped upon it? Today’s discussion pertains to a position paper from one of our candidates for President; this overt confluence of politics and education shows clearly enough why public education is so dysfunctional and explains sufficiently why Americans should be highly suspicious of state-sponsored public education. Initiatives and approaches change with every election. Primary and secondary education can be helped chiefly by abolishing public education outright: if our public schools nationwide cannot boast graduation rates much above 80%, and if graduation rates in many locales are no higher than 60%, public education is a manifest failure. Treat it as such. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       It used to work.  If we’d dispose of all the “bright ideas” that came along in the seventies and following, we’d do much better.

    • vandemeer

       Go ask their parents!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Graduation rates over 80%, but 60% of public education is a manifest failure?  ‘W’ math?

      • Zing

         you  can go to school with ac and learn to frickin read, too

        • Terry Tree Tree

          U.S. Millitary thought that I read well enough to put me in classes for the TOP 1% of enlisteds!  YOU?

  • Myname

    While these ideas are good in principle, you still need to invest in neighborhood schools.

    Alternative sources to K – 12 public schools cannot take everyone and what happens to the children left behind. With high stakes testing, many high performing school districts will not want to take many children who will bring down their ratings and private schools are very selective.

    College students are saddled with record debt and to involve more private lenders whose loans would afford less protections and higher interest rates to the borrowers is ill advised. This would be a boon to private equity companies as another growth industry for investment but it’s not in the interest of the students.

  • MarkVII88

    If you are a decent student at an under-performing school and all the Title 1 students try to leave to go to a “better” school, does that mean that your under-performing school will now perform to a higher standard and the teaching staff can focus more on the majority of mid and high-performing students?

  • J__o__h__n

    Neither option was a real word Tom. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Yup.  Why he couldn’t just say “encourage” is beyond me.

      • Ray in VT

        I don’t know.  It’s been around for 40+ years apparently, and it’s made it’s way into some of the dictionaries.  It’s not like it’s refudiate or something.  You’re the English teacher, Greg, but this one doesn’t bother me.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Dictionaries these days accept whatever people say, rather than teach what is correct.  Besides, a dictionary without a mind is just a bunch of words.

          • Ray in VT

            That is sometimes the knock on the OED.  It’s descriptive rather than descriptive.  It doesn’t make judgements.  New words, though, are always being brought into our language, or sometimes made up, and why shouldn’t they become standard if they are defined and consistently used over a period of years?

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             The O.E.D. is good for its purpose, but people who use the language well pay attention to the history of the word and to the elegance of phrasing.  The problem in question is slovenliness.

        • J__o__h__n

          I actually found refudiate funny.  What bothers me with this one is that it is used by people who should know better.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Are there enough Charter Schools, that pay ALL their own expenses, to take the children that will move? 
      How much will Charter School administrators get paid?  IF their school FAILS?   Same questions for Investors, or others that will profit?

  • Tom Ribaudo

    His past performance in regard to education was a disaster when he was governor of MA. He cut at least 20% of the education budget when he was governor. His policies devastated schools in MA and many still haven’t fully recovered from the mess he made, frankly I have little faith in anything he is proposing. His track record in the past was appalling.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Promote.  Encourage.  Support.  Aid.  Demand.  The list goes on.  All of those are real words.  Incentivize?  Not so much.

    • nj_v2

      I don’t see what the fuss is about. Incentivize (to provide someone with an incentive for doing something) is more specific than any of the options you offered, which may or may not involve any incentive.

      Language can evolve and still retain the better aspects of traditional usage.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         It’s sloppy–that’s what I object to.  It’s a lazy way of trying to sound smarter than the speaker actually is.

      • J__o__h__n

        How is incentivize (or the even worse incent) improving the language?  If those other words are not exact, “provide an incentive” is sufficient.  I don’t like the word “text” as a verb, but at least that was in response to a new action, and not just someone trying to sound like Tom Friedman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drpmeade Paul S Meade

    Charter schools may have their place, however if you essentially eliminate public schools, I envision a time with no options for low income families. If these parents x amount for a voucher and the charter school would decide to x + y amounts for tuition, what option is left for the low income parent?

  • Cooljaz68

    Schools that fail?!!!! Please.

    The only factor that is constantly overlooked with regards to teachers is what is happening in the classroom day to day. The time of the bad teacher is long passed. What the public never sees is a singular teacher (highly qualified) who is tasked to educate an entire classroom (usually over 20 students) of a mixed population of special needs, varied income families and behavioral issues. Public schools are way underfunded and do not allow for more professionals and assistant teachers to help with this load. 
    This discussion is not fair to teachers and does not represent the reality of our public schools. There is nothing wrong with our schools, many just do not understand the situation.

  • Paula

    Romney is out of his mind… he knows that individual school districts pick up much of monies for special education… the federal government does not fund this mandate. That is well known. My school has done everything to pay for special needs kids to the detriment of the rest of the student body. My middle school has 32 classroom teachers ad 32 teachers and support personnel for special needs. Where is he going to get the special ed money to follow a student to a private school. Private schools for kids with special needs like Landmark in Beverly MA are unbelivable EXPENSIVE.
    Romney was a governor who cut funding to towns and cities and devastated the budget for schools all over the State.

    PLEASE PLEASE TOM… ask about Romney’s poor record as head of education in Massachusetts. He set education back and he is just jawing the same Republican line about Charter Schools. What does he know about public schools? Did he or any of his family ever go to a public school.
    Please bring these points up to balance out your program.
    And don’t forget there are many great public schools and great
    successful students… Let’s put some blame on parents too for
    kids who are not doing well.

  • Chgessner

    It would be refreshing if Tom was as skeptical of Obama’s plans when he talks about them and if he would put such a flaming opponent on when discussing one of the left’s plans. The lack of balance on the program causes me to stop contributing to WBUR. Why not look at how the current system has failed. Why not acknowledge that the Bush administration put in place a measuring system that finally (!!) gave us a score card so the general public now knows where the failed schools are and who the worst – and best – teachers are. Parents and students already knew these facts, but the public – and apparently elected political figures – seemed oblivious to them.

    Choice has been a resounding success, even though Tom likes to highlight the failures. It would be refreshing to try and strike a better balance. 

    We also could do with a few less anecdotal calls – and more facts!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You missed the week of 1%’ers ‘explainations’ for GREEDY rich?

  • PattyK

    Some states have poor records on text book accuracy and some prefer religious indoctrination to science basics.  If states are left to devise their own plans, what guarantees are there that kids get any real education?  Each state can set up tests to show that their students are doing great but those results mean nothing.

    Where are all the private schools going to come from?  When only so many kids can move to ‘better’ schools, what happens to the rest?  With funding cuts, the money following kids will not be enough to pay for a good education anywhere.

  • Mindy Kornhaber

    Under NCLB, students and their parents were allowed choice to leave “failing” schools. Of those eligible, only 1 percent of students exercised the choice option. Students and their families continued in their schools for a variety of reasons, including location, job schedules, friends, etc. Therefore “choice” is not going to solve the problems of special ed students and those from proverty (the latter now constitute close to half of the student population). Choice, in this case, is largely a way to slide public money into private corporations who will “manage” education.

    • brettearle

      If there are logisitcal and practical problems with school choice, then why can’t the communities, counties, and states provide support for those families who wish to exercise their legal options?

      Or does that suggestion impugn the concept of self-reliance?

      Aren’t there plenty of public programs that provide, for example, transportation, for other venues, such as hospital and elder transport?

      If the state or federal government are going to provide choice, then why can’t a larger fleet of school busses be provided with fuller schedules?

      Parents still have to make arrangements for their childrens’ arrival home, each day, regardless of where the parents live or where the children go to school.

      Losing friends may be the price that a child has to pay, in order to get a better education.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Why are religious schools being ignored in this discussion? It’s a huge percentage of all private schools.

    • Sandra

      I think a covert part of Romney’s plan is religious schools. Of course, that comes with complications. Think of the angst in some places if public school funding was provided for entry into Muslim schools. The Lemon “three-prong” criteria should apply because of separatation of church/state.

  • Cleo Hirsch

    In Boston, where Professor West lives, every family must choose from the portfolio of 30 public high schools, many of which are exam schools and small autonomous pilot schools ( few traditional public schools remain due to a choice – based reform effort that has been undertaken in the last 10 years) That being said, that segregation that exists between schools has become more severe today than it was when this reform began 10 years ago, and reflects nearly the exact same level of segregation that exists within the city, geographically speaking. If Romney is really concerned with the education of the most vulnerable students, he should realize that choice only further stratifies an already stratified society along race and class lines, and that only the parents who already have a certain level of social, economic, and education capital have the capacity to navigate the choice (or market) based system of public education that he supports, and gain advantage for their children. We need to instead focus on building a strong neighborhood based school system that will enable all students, even those in the most vulnerable positions, to gain access to quality education. 

    • brettearle

      Point of clarification about what you say above:

      Are you saying that parents, who live in lower quality school districts, are at a disadvantage–because they don’t have the community resources to effectively make choices for their children?   

  • Simon

    The State of New York is facing major cuts to education, school districts are cutting back on important programs, and part of the huge drain on districts are the special needs kids in the district which cost huge sums  (ten times) the average student to educate. Are there really financial incentives for other schools to take these kids on? And on line classes? has Romney learned nothing from the recent history where for-profit schools (many on-line) have taken advantage of the military education dollars and given worthless degrees in return?

    • Terry Tree Tree


  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Would he do better than X?

    1.  That assumes that anyone these days can understand what greater than means.

    2.  Since no one that you named has addressed the root problem, the answer is no.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I just took a close look at the picture at the top.  The girl’s paper reads, “Dogs drives Douglas dizzy!”  How many see what’s wrong with that, and is this an example of a good education in Romney’s view?

    • J__o__h__n

      Based on a sample of emails from upper management at an international corporation, the marketplace doesn’t value grammar. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        How well I know.  Oy vey schmeer, how well I know.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Didn’t Romney write the same thing?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        No, he correctly conjugated the verb.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        And he capitalized correctly.

  • Robin

    I feel this is a disguise for religious school funding for his Mormon church.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Bingo!  You got it.  My parents whined about how their tax dollars supported public schools, while they sent me to church schools.  Not that it did any good, since I ran away from their religion at the earliest possible moment.

  • Rtkester

    As a long-time educator, now retired, I can tell you that moving kids around is NOT the answer.  The answer is that this nation needs to make education a major priority and quit shortchanging our children.  Our nation ‘s schools underperform those in most other industrialized  nations not because our teachers are less capable, not because our teachers are unionized, not because our students are less capable, but because we have a third-class system.  Until we are willing to support and fund world-class pedagogy, our schools are going to continue to slide further into mediocrity and our nation will slide right along behind them.

    • brettearle

      It’s one thing to criticize, it’s another thing, altogether, to recommend solutions.

      If you’re a long-time educator you ought to have some very specific ideas.

      You allude to greater support and greater funding.

      Money and support can STILL lead to failure.

      What kind of support?

      How much money is needed and it what way, and to where, should we see allocations? 

      With more money and more support, what sort of specific innovations and policies would make our educational system, among the best?

      If you don’t have specific solutions–ones that are literally viable–then you may be a part of the problem, and not part of the solution…if, indeed, you were a long-time educator.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidASinger David A. Singer

    None of the advocates for either branches of the “education
    reform” movement — whether they be the alleged “statists” or
    the “corporatists” — deal with the core reality of what ails many
    public school systems — giving rise to the stampede for “choice.”  Public
    school advocate (and private sector businessman, Jamie Vollmer, as stated in
    part that  Over the last 100 years, the education curriculum in our
    country has expanded to include a growing list of additional duties and
    expectations placed on the public school system without the consideration of
    adding additional time in the school day to accomplish it all — and little if
    any additional money.  Teachers and administrators aren’t just expected to
    teach children but to raise them!  

    Moreover, many
    states allow public charter schools to sprout – sidestepping all of the
    unfunded mandates – without providing a separate funding stream.  

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The details of the Romney Education Plan, have NOT been worked out?   HOW MUCH money went into it?  HOW  MANY pages is it?   Didn’t  they VOCALLY fault President Obama, about ‘unwritten plans’?  Yet THEY do the SAME thing?  HYPOCRICY?
      WHY aren’t the details worked out?   THEY CLAIM it’s simple, are THEY too SIMPLE?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Can anyone smell the burning grease from all the backpedaling?  Can anyone hear the sucking sound of all that gasping for an answer?

  • Sam

    I SO agree with replicating the success of private and charter schools and replacing public schools with schools that concentrate more on each student’s skill and abilities and learning style, like Montessori and KIPP and Waldorf….

    All these exist. We just need MORE of them.

    • AC

      this is interesting; what is the student to teacher ratio?

  • Julie

    Mitt Romney’s plan for education is an extension of President Obama’s plan, which is an extension of No Child Left Behind. It is a thinly disguised privately funded effort to privatize and standardized public education. The media is ignoring the recent “bankruptcy” of urban schools in DC, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Chicago – defunding schools in order to declare them failures is the plan. This will enable private Education Management Companies to provide (largely online) public schools for minimal cost.  This is the end of public education as we know it and the media (perhaps unintentionally, perhaps not) is complicit.

  • Dmermaid60

    What does he mean, “had the president worked with congress”? President Obama has tried to work with Congress but the Republicans (under the influence of the tea-partiers) have refused to work with him. They have had a deliberate agenda to not co-operate and stall all of his actions. Privatization of essential services is not the answer and education is an essential service.

  • Sandra

    Something that Romney’s proposal does not consider is that private schools are typically SELECTIVE, which, in my opinion, relates to their success. Another issue is TRANSPORTATION. Who is going to cover the costs of taking low achieving/disabled sts to private schools if they are accepted? School choice within a district, including magnet and charter schools, locally in Chattanooga is highly expensive. In some cases, two or three students are being transported quite a distance away.

    What Race to the Top and Romney’s plan do NOT ADDRESS is POVERTY which correlates to low student achievement. Students that enter kindergarten lacking pre-literacy skills, including vocabulary, typically do NOT CATCH UP! What if most of the money being spent on more testing, such as in Tennessee and other states due to Race to the Top Funding,were spent on allieviating poverty issues and parenting education??

  • J__o__h__n

    “most highest” “incentivize” – Harvard employs him?

    • AC

      hee hee, sounds like he reads a lot of British chic lit…!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    To anyone who thinks that class size doesn’t matter, I invite said person to teach thirty-six teenagers any subject.

    • AC

      that sounds like pure h-e-double hockey sticks. i need aspirin just thinking about it…..

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         I preferred a Scotch when I got home. . .

  • Sam

    The quality of teachers!!!!

    I think that’s the key.
    Or at least a very big part.

    • TFRX

      I dunno, there seems to be an over-emphasis lately on the teacher as the one overriding factor (see “Waiting for Superman”), which totally ignores all the other circumstances that being the best teacher in the world can’t overcome.

      • AC

        good point. i’m cliche lady today, but it makes me think – you can lead a horse to water…….

    • Drew (GA)

      You get what you pay for. If public school teachers were compensated as well as Administrators the quality of teachers would certainly improve. It’s just demonstrative of where our values as a society truly lie. The individual who can create a cup game with some figures while sliding the ball into their pocket is much more valuable than the teacher who helps children learn how to think for themselves.

      • AC

        if i live long enough to retire, i’d like to teach then. but i wouldn’t consider it now, & yes (tho Mr Tree will be mad at greedy me), it is primarily because the pay is awful.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          According to US census data, the average public school teacher salary for 2011 was $55,220. If that is not sufficient compensation, then you shouldn’t consider teaching.

          • AC

            in the New England, that is def not enough money. if the standard mortgage formula is 2.5x your salary, that only comes to ~138,000.
            that won’t buy you anything near major work centers, well – w/o needing another 200K in upgrades/repair – never mind the cost of transportation if you do find something outside at that price.
            and that’s not even including ‘time’ costs & the million dollars an hour i should be getting paid just for existing, :P

            that’s what’s weird about those stats – it should be avg per region, not overall average – $138,000 in Kansas goes a lot further..

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Home ownership is not a necessary correlate of a livable income, as renting is sometimes more desirable, particularly with home equity so unstable.

            The median household income in the US in the period 2006-2010 was $51,914. The median personal income in 2010 was $40,584.

            If $55,220 isn’t enough, then more than half of all Americans cannot live on their incomes – and you are a greedy person.

          • Gregg

            That was uncalled for.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Actually, it was. AC suggested that others will call her greedy for wanting 2.5 times the average teacher salary. I just called her bluff.

          • Gregg

            I guess if it works for you…

          • Guest

            It’s not about what worksfr me.

            We havetobewilling toconfront abjectgreed if we wishfora better wrorld.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It’s not about what works for me. We have to be willing to confront abject greed if we wish for a better world.

          • AC

            my father was a statistician, i know better than to believe in ‘medians’, esp when i have not seen the sample base for myself . or maybe I am greedy, as I first suspected!!
            no, in seriousness, i do travel the country a bit & know that the cost of homes/rent/everyday supplies/transportation differs dramatically. I live in an urban area, so my perspective is shaped by those costs.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            My father taught statistics at the graduate school level and I worked for him as a data analyst.

            The statistical spread and state-by-state data is easily available on-line.

            Half of Americans today are at or near poverty. Almost 1.5 million are living on less than $2 per day (third world levels), and you won’t stoop to teach because you want 2.5 times the median teacher salary. 

            Yes, you are a greedy person.

          • AC

            Ok. If you say so, it must be. You seem very comfortable, enough to pass judgement, so I can only agree. Kinda sucks for me, tho.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            No, it’s not that it’s true because I say so. I say so because it’s true.

          • Gregg


          • Gregg

            His greedyjudgement synapse is onsteroids.  I use a completely different logarithm. 

          • AC

            it’s best for me to let it go; i could devote myself to mastering shadow puppets? errr…..

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Teacher pay, in YOUR area?  Can teachers AFFORD to teach?  HOW?

          • Gregg

            The upside is you can be a crappy teacher and still make the same money. There’s no need to fret about things or try too hard, just put in your time and the automatic raises will ensue.

            I would guess that’s not your style AC and a labor of love doesn’t pay the bills. I would also go out on a limb and say you will be more of a benefit to society if you’re making good money. You’ll pay more taxes, you most likely will give more to charity and you’ll spend more money in your community.

          • AC

            yeah, but life is short, why do anything that you don’t like or try to be good at? i have never known someone like that, have you?
            that sounds boring, people who do that must have psychological problems, no?
            right now i volunteer A LOT of time (more than money).

          • Gregg

            I agree. You hit on something I’ve always believed. That is the importance of getting really good at something, preferably something you’re passionate about. People are good at the darndest things.


          • Terry Tree Tree

            MANY people DON’T have the options that you do, evidently.
               Sick parents, drug-addict parents, siblings to help support. A spend-thrift spouse.  NO spouse.   The other ‘parent’ NOT taking responsibility for the children they helped create. Scads more REASONS, not just excuses, for people earning their living in jobs they don’t like!
               I’m happy for those that can!

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            What an elitist attitude! Those who earn more are more of a benefit to their communities. That must mean that the poor or those who forego affluence in order to serve others are merely a burden to their communities, and hence less worthy. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Do you accumulate wealth, at the expense of others?  Is the LUST for money and other forms of power, the MAIN thing that runs your life?  Your other posts lead me to believe NOT. 
             Working to accomplish a comfortable retirement isn’t GREED.
             Wanting to teach, after you retire, is another indication.
              If your current pay is awful, HOW could I classify you as GREEDY rich?

          • AC

            thanks for the faith Mr Tree, but i’ve been officially judged & found wanting!!
            i’ve worked with a program that looks for retired professionals to if not ‘teach’, at least impart the wisdom they’ve accumulated. i like the idea, so as soon as i’m done learning myself, i’ll be out there doing the same…(tho you never really stop learning, no?)

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Check into mentoring?  Especially to single moms?
               Help in classrooms, so you can see what you would get into, if you try teaching after retirement?

          • AC

            i mentor now (middle & high schoolers), a lot – it’s getting a little out of hand actually, but it’s fun…

    • Cooljaz68

      What do you know about teachers? You taught in a classroom lately? I challenge you to volunteer in an inner city classroom for a week and then you can comment on the quality of teachers Sam. You have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         I do, and I’ll say that the quality of teachers is high.  Too many students come to class demanding to be entertained, rather than taught, and too many administrators refuse to enforce rules.  Too many parents see a diploma as an entitlement, not as something to be earned.

  • Diane Alberts

    )I could write a book on this topic, but I’ll be succinct.  Romney’s plan is nothing more than pandering to the private sector.  As with so many politicians’ “plans” for education is that none of their plans deal with student motivation and positive parental participation ( i.e. making sure the kids are FED, have done their homework, and aren’t arriving at school from a home in chaos.

  • TRibs

    This guy knows nothing about what Romney did to MA schools, his cuts forced larger classes, removal of music, art, and gym programs (once a week for half the year).  He forced school districts to cut their programs to the bare bones classes.  Perhaps math scores went up but there is much more to learning than test scores in simply math and reading.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Socioeconomic level predicts educational performance?  I had many students and even parents tell me that education is acting white.

    This is the main problem.  Until we value education across the whole of our society, these tweaks will never fix the system.

    • Ray in VT

      I had a friend from Queens who told me that she got called an Oreo when she was a kid because she was an academic achiever.  It’s pretty sad when that is seen as a detriment.   I see somewhat similar issues regarding the value placed upon (or is it on) education by many of the poor, rural, white population here in northern New England.  It’s not seen as valuable, although I don’t think that it is viewed as being a part of the “other”.

    • AC

      i got called ‘nerdy’, also ‘weird’? and tho it was often said with love – what’s the difference?
      even now, actors that play ‘smart people’ on tv shows are often portrayed as so brilliant, they’re socially odd.
      so it’s not just color, it’s culture?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Yes, all of that.  There’s a strong anti-intellectual bias in American culture, and that’s part of what drags down our educational system.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          That’s funny, because I’ve experienced and seen a strong pro-intellectual bias in virtually all public school systems. I would have like to take shop class in high school, but was directed to the “higher” trajectories by teachers, counselors and parents.

          If that weren’t the case, then half of all students would be offered vocational training classes to prepare them for the many satisfying non-intellectual occupations that comprise a vibrant and functional economy.

          There should be a minimum required standard of education for all to become active, involved citizens, but an economy that requires a college degree for almost any job beyond flipping burgers is a dysfunctional economy.

          The education system is just one part of the social, cultural, political and economic structure of our nation. One part can’t be “fixed” without reforming all parts.

          There was (perhaps is) a vocational “alternative” program in the Philadelphia public school district which directs “problem” youth into a vocational option that designs and builds an automobile.

          The first year of the program built a really sharp bio-deisel hot rod that got 40 mpg and that took first place in the Philly Auto Show – beating out all the major car manufacturers.These “gang-banger” kids found something to get excited about and buckled down to learn all they could, coming out with real usable skills and a lot of pride in accomplishment. Now that’s education.

    • StopSpendingNow

      I grew up in a small rural community with only one school system, and had the same classmates from 1st grade through 12th grade.  We all had the same teachers, the same classes, and went to the same school houses.  Socioeconomic levels definitely predicted educational performance.  Most middle class families expected their children to study, learn, and perform, and in general those children did; many poorer families had lower expectations, and in general those lower expectations were fulfilled.  There were exceptions, but in general you could see older and younger brothers and sisters perform similarly to their siblings.  I agree with you that until we change society so that everyone values an education, the system will remain broken.

  • Penelope Davies

    This is all about destroying public schools nationwide. Here in North Carolina the Republicans have taken the cap off charter/public schools. Multimillionaires are opening these charter schools and they are draining our public schools of money. The new thing now is vouchers, supplied by corporations so parents can have the corporations pay for private, religious, or for profit charter/public schools.  The corporations get tax write offs for this. Here in our village in western North Carolina, we have wonderful multi-ethnic, cultural,  public schools that are starving for money because of drastic cuts by state Republican administration. We all know what’s going on, but are unable to do a thing about it. These Republicans in our state administration are all members of ALEC. I suggest that you have Common Cause look at the other side of this issue and talk about the money being poured into the destruction of public schools.

  • hvermont

    The idea that unregulated charter schools with non certified teachers is somehow an improvement over our public school system is just another BIG LIE.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    SO MANY good questions NOT answered by Romney ‘plan’, shows it’s NOT a plan!

  • Greyman

    American political disputation contributes directly to the dysfunctionality of public education. If Americans ever get serious about elementary and secondary education . . . . yes, we will abolish public education, utterly entirely completely.

    • Ray in VT

      I hope to never see that day.  What will my choice be then?  Private for profit vs. private religious?  We might as well start privatizing the roads and the waterways while we’re at it.

  • Sam

    If the teacher of a class of 35 that just called in, was able to a) have a little more help, maybe in a form of a teacher’s assistants or two and b) be able to have flexibility in HOW he structures his lessons and who he teaches what at what rate and give the kids different testing standards, and if maybe he wouldn’t have to worry about his performance being judged based on test scores, maybe he will be able to breathe just a little bit easier and his job will be just a little bit easier to perform.

    My heart goes out to honest, respectful, teachers who are “in-it” to make a difference, to teach, to see their kids succeed and learn.

  • Terry Tree Tree


  • B. Baxter PdD

    Too much politics in educational policy. Obama does not know alot and Romney knows less. Charter schools and private schools are not the answer. There is little innovation in either of these initiatives.
    We need to examine what we are teaching (curriculum) and how we are teaching it (instructional methodology). It may be possible to earn a BA at the end of high school providing more opportunities for young people to work sooner and not be burdened with education loans.More money would then be put into the economy as a whole. Educational institutions could then offer real technical skills and real higher level scholarship which would also enrich our society.

    B.Baxter PhD

  • Sam

    I saw the “waiting for superman” just the other week.

    EVERYONE needs to see that movie.

    Republicans are the ones talking about cutting taxes that support education.
    Why not increase taxes on the rich and provide more money for education? Because it’s not fair?

    • Nutricj

      This is exactly why families and communities need to take over their edu systems. The democratic schools are their best hope! Government monopolies on education for the masses only keeps the poorest communities at ever diminishing opportunities to flourish. Inner city schools look and sound like prisons because that is exactly what they are.

      Every single child is born to learn and whether they are born to the concrete jungle or the most rural of farm settings, and all in between- they need places to let their minds become. Government is NOT capable of providing this. Communities are.

    • Still Here

      Seems like doing something about teacher’s unions makes more sense than raising taxes.

  • Mike Beer

    A important part of Romney’s plan rides on the advisors who have helped carft the plan.  One of these advisors is Tom Luna, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Idaho,  elected to the post in the 2010 election cycle.

    If you are known by the company you keep, Romney’s association with some of his advisors cannot help.  The quality of these advisors clearly affects the quality of the proposal.  A little background on Tom Luna:

    Tom Luna’s qualifications for the job (other than political) are an online degree in Weights and Measures from an non-accredited institution.

    His proposals for edutaction reform in Idaho were not discussed in his campagain for the office he was elected to.  The proposals came into discussion when they were rpesented to the Idaho legislature in the session following the election.

    The proposals are so controversial that they required beaking into three chunks that were modified heavily by the very conservative state legislature.  Please remember that Idaho is one of the reddest states, so a response like this to a fellow Repubican is very unusual. 

    After passage of the ammended proposal by the legislature, petitions to rescind the laws were circulated and more than twice the number of signatures were collected to place them on this on this November’s general elction ballot, the first available oportunity for the voters of Idaho to weigh in.

    Tom survived a recall petition, but only because virtually all of the voters who voted him in would have had to weigh in on the petiton.

  • Chris

    After spending years in the classroom, I find that the biggest predictor of student success has little to do with what goes on in school and so much more to do with what goes on at home.  Having a family that values education is key.  That is the main advantage of students in private/charter schools…there is someone at home behind them that cares about their education.  TO give vouchers to parents who want their children to leave public schools only hurts the children that are left behind, the ones who don’t have that safety net at home.

    • J__o__h__n

      Why not create a national standardized test for families and children can take their federal child tax credit with them to a higher scoring family? 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ALL the orphans, and children taken from Meth-head parents etc…?
          ARE there enough good parents for ALL the children?

  • Julie Glendon

    The problem with parental choice is that the kids who need the most help are the kids whose parents are not involved and never will be involved whether it’s because of overwork, language, poverty, illness, despair, neglect, or just the expectation that a public school ought to be able to educate each child who shows up.  What does Mitt Romney’s plan do for these children?  Cut them adrift?

  • Vall Vonn

    Lest anyone be fooled by Mitt Romney’s “education proposa’s”, those of us who worked in education in Masachusetts during his governorship need to educate the general public about the real Romney. The achievements that he touts for our students were well in place prior to his arrival and began with our Education Reform Act of 1993. Our eighth and fourth graders were high achievers while he was accepting 340,000,000 dollars in bailouts for the Olympics in 2002, and have very little to do with his policies or his arrival in 2003. Our kids are smart because their parents have high educational levels, higher than average incomes, and we have low divorce rates. Mitt has nothing to with any of those factors.  I know that as a teacher, after Mitt arived , my supply budget was cut to a box of copy paper, the match dollars I received to take additional courses was slashed to zero and fees at state colleges and universities were raised to equal  the tuition charges so that Mitt could say he did not raise tuition. Mitt left a one billion dollar deficit and ” created” 24,000 jobs. This got him a rank of 47 th in the nation. He did not run again because he would have been soundly defeated. The one good thing that he did was promote the model for healthcare that we have which has been highly successful. He rarely speaks of Massachusetts for a reason.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Thanks for speaking the truth about this monumental fraud named Romney.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    In Vermont, all education property taxes are collected by the state, per court order, to equalize spending between rich and poor communities. If a local school district decides to increase its school budget, then their property taxes are increased proportionately and go into the state-wide pool for sharing among all districts. 

    The state also uses other revenue streams, including a portion of sales and use taxes, state lottery receipts and part of the state general fund to supplement the local property tax base. A resident’s property tax is also income-adjusted to reduce the burden on lower-income families.

    Vermont, because of its low population, low birthrate and shrinking school population, has one of the highest per-student education expenditures in the nation.

    Vermont has a sort of school choice program, but only within the public school system. If a local school district does not have a high school, or is not part of a union high school district (meaning multi-town school districts, not teacher’s unions), then the per-pupil budget can be used at any other public school and the student bused to that school.

    A few towns have contracts with private schools to send their students at reduced rates in lieu of building their own high school. This is the closest we come to subsidizing private education, but it benefits the local town as well.

    In 2010, Vermont ranked lowest in the county for education reform, and yet highest in the nation for achievement of low-income students. The rankings for reform were precisely the kind of changes that either Obama or Romney would like to see everywhere, including change in proficiency standards, private school choice, charter school law, online learning policies and programs, home-schooling regulations and removing ineffective teachers.

    If Vermont, with its minimal resources and diminishing student body, can achieve equality of spending and the highest outcomes for low-income students without any of the reform measures being propagated by either Democrat or Republican pundits, then surely the rest of the country could do the same.

    • Greyman

      No, the rest of the country could surely not do the same, since few states share the demographic profile of Vermont.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        That’s pure cop out.

        • Greyman

          Not at all: Vermont is c. 95% white, fairly homogeneous by all available definitions of the word “homogeneous”.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            So you’re a racist, and imply that skin color determines intelligence, learning capacity and educational requirements, and that more non-white skin requires more public money shifted to private schools, where the majority of non-whites cannot afford to attend (even with public money) because of the systemic racism of our country to which you contribute.

          • Greyman

            That’s quite a leap, Bob, have to hand it to your innate sense of logic and fair play. I ONLY pointed out that Vermont has a virtually homogeneous population that is mostly white, a circumstance HARDLY typical of the other 49 US states (btw: why do so many white Vermonters live in Vermont? Are THEY racist?) Tell me if I’m wrong, but I assume most white Vermonters are native English speakers, too.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            There’s no “bob” here. If you have anything intelligent to say to me, you will address me by my name.

            There was no leap of logic. If the rest of the country cannot use similar educational policies as Vermont because they’re less white, then you are suggesting that non-whites don’t learn as well as whites. Hence, you are racist.

            By the way, Vermont has been very welcoming of refugees from all over the world and has done more than many states to help them assimilate into our “homogeneous” culture. We are also the only state (I believe) which does not allow its state police to question immigrant status. Vermont was also the first constitutional republic in the world to outlaw slavery.

          • Greyman

            Well, Mr. Superior Logician, you’ve invoked the logical fallacy of ad hominem with me twice so far today, referring to me once as a moron, once as a racist. If YOU have anything intelligent to say, talk to your radio.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            See my other reply.

            If you knew anything about logic (or any other subject, for that matter), you would know that ad hominem is a logical fallacy only if inappropriately used to undermine an otherwise valid argument.

            If the disputant’s personal qualities are relevant to their argument, then pointing them out is neither a fallacy nor ethically inappropriate.

            You, yourself, have demonstrated quite well that you are both a moron and a racist. I did nothing but hold up a mirror to your statements.

          • Greyman

            You may also be begging the question I posed: if Vermont is so homogeneously white, how can Vermonters not be guilty of the very racism you impute to me? If your studious deployment of logic is optional, on the other hand . . . .

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Since Vermont does not have closed borders, and welcomes any race who chooses to live here, it can hardly be called racist, particularly when we were the first constitutional republic in the world to outlaw slavery, was the first state to offer troops and lost more soldiers per capita in the Civil War than any other state, and opened our doors to freed slaves.

          • Ray in VT

            Most, but not all as regards your last point, and I think that more are so now than has been previously the case.

            We have strong ties to French Canada, and there used to be grade schools in Burlington that served French speaking Catholics.  Most of that bilingualism has died out in favor of English only, though.

    • Sam Walworth

       I would love to move to Vermont..

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        It’s really not anywhere near as nice as I’ve suggested. Most “flatlanders” just hate it here. 

        In other words, we want to protect what we have and really don’t need more transplants from other states (even though most of us are). My town has 40% second homes, so natives can no longer afford to live here. I wish Vermont had never invented the ski lift.

        • Ray in VT

          I didn’t know that you were in Vermont too.  There are a lot of Vermonters on this site.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            If you click on my picture, my profile says I’m from Vermont.

            There’s a lot of Vermonters on this (and similar) sites because we are more open-minded, free-thinking, and intelligent than any other state. It must be the water.

          • Greyman

            WHAT! Vermonters are “more intelligent” because their state is 95% white? Wow, if I didn’t know any better, or hadn’t been scolded by a part-time logician twice today . . . .

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Now you’re graduated from moron to fucking moron. Take your trolling somewhere else. You’re not welcome here.

          • Greyman

            Oooh, strong words, Komissar! I doubt even most whites can attain your level of commitment to logic and clear thought. When were you deputized by the Thought Police, btw? Are these official NPR credentials, or were they issued by the State of Vermont? (If the latter, they may not be valid across all fifty states.)

        • Greyman

          So Vermont cannot be deemed “racist” because it remains 95% white? You don’t make it sound terribly inviting to non-whites, I must say. Maybe you need to devote more of your state budget in attracting non-whites, since non-whites are not choosing to migrate to Vermont. Then you could begin to determine for yourself, irrespective of your occasional devotion to logic, whether non-white students across the US face educational challenges not faced by most whites. All the data I’ve seen suggest that non-whites have a much more difficult time with US public education than do whites, which perhaps is ANOTHER good reason to abolish public education (except in Vermont, of course). 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Vermont is the most rural state in the nation, and most non-whites have been ghettoized into urban lifestyles (where the factory jobs used to be). Urban people often aren’t attracted to country living, regardless of the color of their skin.
            The ghettoization of people of color is due to systemic racism and wage slavery, which substituted for chattel slavery and brought many southern Blacks to the industrial cities of the Midwest and Northeast to become slaves to the bosses.

            Vermont never had systemic racism and was, as I have already pointed out, the first constitutional republic in the world to outlaw slavery, and was the first state to send troops to fight slavery in the Civil War. We were also a major line along the Underground Railroad.

            But you are incapable of differentiating between a white rural state and a racist urban one, as you seem unable to differentiate fact from biased fiction.

            I went to high school in the Detroit area, my father was a professor in an inner city state university, and my mother taught high school in the black/polish blue collar ghetto of Hamtramck within the Detroit city limits. I know something about mixed-race schooling.

            With limited public school resources, my mother was able to inspire her students to achieve and to make something of their lives, as my father did with graduate Social Work students. It takes only commitment and dedication to education to give students what they need in life. The private schools in the region, on the other hand, seemed to mostly reproduce the same elitist and racist attitudes of the families they served.

          • Greyman

            Nay nay, Komissar, you have me all wrong. I’m perfectly capable of differentiating, but I see no intellectual necessity to exclude the logical possibility that Vermont could be a white rural racist state–purely a matter of logic, you see, as I have never visited any American state that has remained 95% white. (Frankly, I didn’t even know the Feds would permit such a state of affairs! so consider how much you’ve begun to teach me . . . .)

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            If you think the federal government has any say over the racial demographics of any state, then you are even more ignorant than you otherwise appear.

          • Greyman

            from Thrall, Hibbard & Holman’s Handbook to Literature: “The ability to recognize irony is one of the surest tests of intelligence and sophistication.”
            No further comment required, either by logic or by common sense.

        • notafeminista

          How does Vermont’s history of “welcoming refugees”  correlate with your statement above?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            By “refugees”, I mean the officially-recognized asylum seekers who are running from persecution in their home countries (such as the lost boys of Somalia who have resettled in Vermont), not migrants of choice who are abandoning their home states for greener pastures.

            We also have a large number of non-registered alien farm workers who come to help Vermont’s dairy farmers and send money home to their families. The Vermont legislature is even considering a bill that would grant VT drivers’ licenses to undocumented migrant workers.

          • notafeminista

            Oh sure.  Because only certain people have value.

            So I ask once again. How does Vermont’s celebrated “open borders” and welcoming refugees correlate with your previous statement?

            Could you point me to a specific state policy proscribing the avoidance of the so-called inner city?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I answered your question.

            As for your double negative – “proscribing the avoidance” – try a more intelligible syntax.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      VT has eliminated the inner city school problem by eliminating inner cities.

      VT is a beautiful state and you gotta love pure VT maple syrup.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        We haven’t eliminated inner cities – we never saw a need for them. Similarly, there were at least four meso-American civilizations which abandoned their cities and returned to the wild when they realized that civilization was unsustainable.

        We must do the same.

  • Markus

    Charter schools are public schools with union teachers.
    Charter schools don’t get to pick who their students are. They’re open to everyone. If the numbers are too high, the students are picked by lottery.
    I didn’t hear anything in Romney’s plans about for-profit schools, increasing class sizes, standardization, feeding small children to wolves or any of this other nonsense.

    One of the greatest catalysts for mis-information is to attack an entrenched protected class - in this case, teacher’s unions.

    My kid’s schools have been great – we were lucky to have a choice. This crowd would rather protect themselves than give others that choice.  I’m just amazed that people who claim to care about those at the lower socio-economic end, don’t want to let these people choose. I guess they know better.  

    • JWeinberg

      Charter schools find creative ways to pick their students.  One example I am familiar with involves using an early education program that is not under the schools charter and then guaranteeing placement to kids from that program.  Since the program is not under the charter the school can pick which kids get in and then there is simply no room for the kids over which the school has no choice.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The ultimate responsibility for a child’s education, rests on the parents!
       My children went to public schools, were recommended to go to ‘gifted’ classes, where NONE were available! 
       One is a mid-level executive in a large, prosperous company, and the other is a mid-level millitary officer, that got nearly all first-round promotions, and did work of officers one or two levels above!
       Are ALL Private school students BETTER than that?

    • brettearle

      Congratulations on your children’s success, but why would your results reflect a specific trend or pattern?

      How many men and women–who once were children–never prospered or developed effectively–because of a deficiency in their educational exposure?

      While it is ALWAYS incumbent upon the individual to take responsibility for his/her success, it doesn’t mean that certain factors, other than skill and initiative, don’t contribute to level and degree of success….such as school, community, friends, contacts, emotional intelligence, etc.

  • Helen

    I am a retired mathematics teacher and taught in both public and private schools.  I don’t think vouchers for charter or private schools are the answer to education reform.  When these options entice those children whose parents are knowledgeable and committed to education away from the public schools, the system suffers.  Instead, we need those knowledgeable and committed parents to work to improve the system and benefit all the students.  Having taught in a variety of socioeconomic schools, I know the school does not have total control over the educational result, but involved and committed parents can help the school educate those students who don’t have the same advantages as their own children.  The end result is that they help create a better society for their children.  I worry that the exodus of the children of the educated and/or wealthy out of the public school system will further divide our society.  

    • brettearle

      If “involved and committed parents can help the school educate those students who don’t have the same advantages as their own children”, then why isn’t it happening?

      And, if it isn’t, how do you know that vouchers won’t impel poorer-quality schools to “get their act together.”

      Robert Reich is as liberal as they come and he thinks it’s a good idea.  

      • Ben

        Robert Reich isn’t in favor of private school vouchers.  He’s simply said that students should be able to choose which public school they go to, and that poor students should receive larger funding for attending that school than well to do students.  This was read by conservatives to mean that he was in favor of a blanket voucher system.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Why isn’t it happening? The educational system cannot be evaluated outside of the context of the economic and social systems in which it is embedded. 

        When parents are struggling to pay the bills, with two parents (where there are two parents anymore) working three jobs, then there is little time and energy available to join the PTA.

        My mother was always active in local PTAs, then got a Masters in Education and began teaching, ending her career in an inner-city high school with a PhD in education and a self-published book on educational reform. She was always able to inspire her lower middle-class students to achieve and excel, and they loved and respected her in turn.

        • Zing

           Is that why you’re so poor?…living off your Mom’s royalties? 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Self-published books don’t offer any royalties. But you insist on portraying yourself as the most moronic participant in these forums.

            I dare you to publish your name and location, which you are far too cowardly to share.

            It’s easy to be a troll when you don’t have to be accountable for your idiocy.

          • Gregg

            Self published song do, you should sing your books.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            But I don’t accept the validity of intellectual property “rights”. Nor did Thomas Jefferson.

            See my essay Ideas are Not Property:
            People Aren’t Property, Property (Corporations) Aren’t People, Spreading Ideas Is Not Theft


          • Gregg

            More power to you but I do. If I take you up on the homework assignment I may comment there if possible.

          • Gregg

            I read most of it but sorry not all. It’s long as hell, I’m slow and too many tangents. BTW it’s “unalienable” not “inalienable”.

            I don’t have the energy to go into it now but I strongly disagree with your premise. It may be interesting to take the time to enlighten you at some point but it’s late. Also, I don’t think I want to give you my email address to comment on your site.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It’s “inalienable” in modern English.

            Yes, it’s longer than a Tweet.

            There are no “tangents”, as every point leads to the same destination.

            You disagree, then, with Thomas Jefferson.

            And you have nothing to say that would enlighten me.

      • Hidan


        • brettearle

          If I have the time, I’ll provide it.

          Short of that, try his web site, or….a google search, “Robert Reich school vouchers”

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Yes, parents are key.  However, why avoid school choice.  Competition typically makes everyone better.

      Question for Helen:  do teacher’s unions benefit the teachers or the students?

      IMHO, GOOD teachers are underpaid.  In some school system too much money goes into administration.

      • Alan in NH

        I agree with some of what you say and will dispute other parts. Administration often gets higher salaries than is called for. Any teacher worth his/her salt works harder in one day of classes than most administrators work in five days of meetings and paperwork, yet look at the salaries they command that you find in many districts. And it seems that administrators are often able to move from district to district despite lack of success, which is to say that lack of success in a district often does not seem to interfere with promotion or continued career.

        I also agree that parents are key. I’ve seen so many students who lack motivation, and once I meet their parents I understand why: Those particular parents don’t understand or value education. Often they did poorly themselves and are resentful of school in general.

        But that competition makes everyone better? I haven’t seen that. When competition ensues, I’m just as likely to see cheating, cut corners, getting rid of relatively higher salaried teachers for budgetary reasons. It’s a myth that competition always leads to improvement or benefit.

        And as to unions, it’s a mixed bag. Sometimes unions protect teachers that should retire or find other occupations, but unions are often the only barrier between the teacher – the good ones and the higher paid ones included – and administrations and school boards that would cut positions and riff teachers for purely budgetary reasons while disregarding their educational value. And given that starting teaching positions are often half to one third of those of starting IT personnel, I hardly think unions have been as strong as many people like to imagine they are in getting their members big bucks.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        “Competition typically makes everyone better.”

        While that old saw may have some validity in the business world, as long as there is some balance between competitors (no monopolies or “too big to fail” Wal*Monsters), it has none in the public sector.

        Many cities once had competing private fire companies, which would race each other to a fire and take control of the nearest hydrants to keep their competitors at bay. Sometimes buildings would burn to the ground while the competing companies fought over turf.

        In 2010, a home in TN burned to the ground while the nearby city fire department stood by and watched, because the homeowner had neglected to pay the annual $75 subscription fee for residents outside the city limits.

        Is that the kind of “competitive” slash and burn education that we want in America?

        As a volunteer firefighter for 30 years, I can bear witness to the fact that people do public service out of altruism, even when it involves a risk to life and limb, and that such motivations are far more compelling than a mere paycheck.

    • Gregg

      I get your point but the noble effort to level the terrain often means punishing those who try to achieve instead of lifting up and inspiring those who don’t. Parents should do what’s best for their children.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Parents have a perfect right to do what they deem best for their children outside of the public sector and with their own money. 

        But free education is offered by the community because it serves the general good and can be a means to offer democratic opportunity to all, as well as building a society in which people of different backgrounds learn to respect one another. 

        • Gregg

          I don’t have kids yet I help pay for public education because of the “common good”. These days I am less convinced there is a common good. I am open to the possibility that our children would not be any worse off if there were no public schools.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I would agree that both the original purpose of compulsory public education and the current state of it are seriously flawed.

            But today most parents are incapable of schooling their children at home because they’re working outside the house to make ends meet, and they don’t have the ability, or of containing their mischief if they were to run free. 

            And, given our current abysmal economy, there would be no productive work for all those unleashed children (who, in days of old, would work on the farm or in the family enterprise).

            Private schooling, separating the elite from the commoners, is no answer. So we must re-imagine education as a community-based experiential, mentoring and internship process that can turn children into enthusiastic and contributing citizens with real skills as well as fundamental knowledge.

    • Hidan

       It seems the more the U.S. goes with privatization of our school systems and the push for more vouchers and charter schools the more other countries are doing better than us.

    • Banks Stephanie49

      . . . and when we say schools are “failing” we are actually avoiding discussing cultural realities:  failing parents, poorly prepared students who bring troubling behavior and attitudes to school, a culture of hedonism, a lack of social skills and a work ethic, a decline in physical health, a narrowly focused curriculum, expectation that schools alone can solve social problems. . . I could go on, but you get the point. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

    Romney is a liar and a FRAUD who has been on every side of every issue. He stands for NOTHING but personal and corporate greed.How anyone with a brain (and a memory) could support this idiot is simply amazing.

    Regarding his “plan”…it was written by Republican propagandists…and I would be surprised if Romney has looked at it, or even understands it.

    • Roy Mac

      Willard, however, is steadfast on one point:  he is willing to say ANYthing to ANYbody, in order to be elected president.  He’s treating this election process as an extended interview, where the point is to come up with the right answers irrespective of anything known as “honesty.”

      What else would we expect from a lawyer whose biz experience is management consulting?  Meet his new best friends Donald and Sheldon; the Kochs aren’t far behind.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Thanks for expanding my point. Too bad the right wing nuts on this site are blind to the Romney reality err, deception. P.T. Barnum was surely correct.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Enter Jason as exhibit A for the urgent need for education reform.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Adolescent insults get you nowhere. If I were you, and thankfully I am not, I would ‘worry’ more about my own mental state.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Answers to Jefe68′s questions:

     1.  United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom of Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine–any I missed?

    2. A philandering, drunken disaster. Oh, and he was president for a short period in the 20s.

    3. No, they were Freedonians.

    • Gregg

      1. Is Utopia a country? Many seem to think it exists.
      2. He was also a depression ending demon.
      3. Chico was my favorite.

  • Pingback: The Problem With Mitt Romney’s Education Plan – Huffington Post (blog) | Best News Feed - Daily News Magazine

  • Pingback: Getting schooled on education – Los Angeles Times | Best News Feed - Daily News Magazine

  • Zing

    See, sports fans?  It was a good day. Bob Riverbleat got his ass handed to him and his response was a meltdown.  I think I know why he’s poor.

    • Gregg

      I actually googled him, I thought he might be a poker player.


    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      In your demented dreams, Troll.

  • Pingback: The Problem With Mitt Romney’s Education Plan – Huffington Post (blog) | Just Top News – Daily News Magazine

  • Hidan

    Mr. West did a great job today,totally failed on the talking points and Spin about Romney supposed plan and how much he cares about the poor.

  • Nutricj

    It is freely available info: the history of edu in the US and it’s intended design. It is not a failure as an institution at all. It is doing exactly what it set out to do. Babysit, control, close minds and it is a gigantic machine in both money exchange and controlling the masses. It is a glowing success.

    Sudbury schools, Free Schools, home schools…these are the true ways to “reform” our systems. Community service, family time, letting children have childhoods and time for getting lost in their minds is real education. Unschool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pingback: The Problem With Mitt Romney’s Education Plan – Huffington Post (blog) | Net News List

  • MammaG

    I’m too far left to be a Democrat; I consider myself an independent socialist. BUT, I am also the mother of three boys who I homeschool. I believe in public education, but I cannot in good faith sacrifice my children to NCLB. We’re also about as poor as you can get and still be called ‘middle class’. I gotta say I’d be tempted to vote for someone who pegged education dollars to the child, not the public school. I’d take that money and craft my kids an unparalleled homeschool education…or send them to the local Sudbury school.

    Either we need to flood our schools with money and pay teachers an excellent salary that brings in the best-of-the-best (and with the SAME salary regardless of location!) a la Norway, or we need to provide some competition for the public schools so they are forced to either sink or swim from the pressure. Charter schools, vouchers, publicly funded private schools (Waldorf, anyone?!); it’s gotta be de-centralized.

    • Nutricj

      Don’t know you, but I luv yah

    • Gregg

      I agree with your sentiments. I would much rather my tax dollars go to you than some of the public schools kids are forced to attend.

      I don’t think NCLB was the worse thing in the world.
      There is a lot of criticism about “teaching to the test” and some is certainly deserved but IMHO there must be some way to measure progress. As nasty as it sounds, accountability is crucial. I’ve held a Commercial Contractors License here in NC since ’99 although I rarely use or need it. I took a course which was all about passing the devious test. It helped. I also could definitely make the case that being a contractor is more about understanding the test than it is about construction but that’s for another day. So, I think “teaching to the test” is not optimal but not evil either. There are real world applications and it’s better than nothing.

    • Robespiere

       That really is a foolish sentiment–”sink or swim”–sounds so republican.  How will they be able to swim when money is diverted, when they are abandoned to the stormy waves, when you don’t support them?  You don’t teach a child to swim by throwing him in the deep end–that’s just stupid and cruel.  You don’t save and preserve an institution that way either–it needs encouragement, support, help, aid, guidance, skilled teachers–fun–less it drown.

      You are too quick to abandon an American right–would you have all Americans cough up a lung to educate their children–you strengthen the divide between  rich and poor–you will only strengthen the overlord class and broaden and deepen the underclass–we are well on our way to a feudal capitalist system.  Fascism at its best.

      The best policy is this–if a 1% per-center is proposing it–it is definitely against your interests as an American, as a human being.  its trickery.  witchcraft.  deception.  greed.  mad power.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      You’re no socialist. 

  • Flidhaish2002

    the whole system is not working, this is not 1950′s   what we know today how children learn, type of learner and what type of intelligence your child has is not included in reforming the whole system   I am glad I do not have any children in school yet I really worry about all that are in now
    When it comes to school choice don’t forget about the 1st amendment, no government money should go to any religious institution

    • Gregg

      Does government money go to religious institutions? Do they send a check?

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        The Faith-Based Initiative is a federal program that provides houses of worship, religious organizations, and other faith-based institutions with federal funding to deliver government-mandated social services. Under this initiative, for the first time, houses of worship and other pervasively sectarian institutions are eligible for billions of taxpayer dollars.

        President George W. Bush originated the Faith-Based Initiative in January 2001 with the creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The Bush Administration advanced its initiative through a series of executive orders.

        These executive orders did not contain adequate constitutional and anti-discrimination safeguards. They opened the door to government-funded proselytizing of beneficiaries and, in many circumstances, explicitly allowed religious discrimination in hiring and firing within taxpayer-funded programs.

        Renaming President Bush’s creation the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, President Obama has continued the Faith-Based Initiative. By implementing new constitutional safeguards, President Obama’s executive order takes some important steps towards restoring government and religion to their proper roles. However, problems remain, including religious discrimination in hiring and firing within taxpayer-funded social service and other programs.

        • Gregg

          Flidhaish wrote: “When it comes to school choice don’t forget about the 1st amendment, no government money should go to any religious institution.”

          Perhaps I inferred too much. I assumed he was confusing tax breaks or exemptions which are not government funds. Churches do not receive government money to do church work. They receive money to do social service work much like ACORN or Planned Parenthood. I don’t see a problem there. And I disagree that federal funded proselytizing was permitted, but you just said “opened the door”. We just had someone at PP instucting a woman how to abort by sex. I would be far more concerned by that kind of government funded proselytizing. As far as I know, it was legal.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Tax deductions and exemptions are preferential treatment, and the 1st amendment prohibits any federal preference for religious institutions.

            And your story about PP is pure bullshit and you know it – one can’t abort by sex. PP is a health delivery organization, just like any other medical clinic. To equate giving medical advice with religious proselytizing is the height of obfuscation.

            There has also been a great deal of Christian proselytizing in the US military chaplaincy, which is also unconstitutional and is being corrected by the Pentagon.

          • Gregg

            The first amendment doesn’t talk about “preferential treatment”.

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

            My story is on video. It was a setup but it happened and can happen. It’s not BS, you must have missed it.


            I stand by my analogy and I’ll even make an admission. I have been on the other side of this by insisting if PP received government funding and preformed abortions then the separate funds were a distinction without a difference.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The First Amendment doesn’t use the term “preferential treatment” but that’s exactly what it says: that government shall not choose a state religion over others, as our European forbears did.

            The Courts have always understood there to be an absolute firewall between government and institutional religion.

            As for your “We just had someone at PP instucting a woman how to abort by sex”, I read that as initiating an abortion by having sex. You didn’t say a “sex-selective” abortion – which, by the way, is perfectly legal in the US.

            That kind of sting operation is the same sleazy tactic that ruined Acorn, one of America’s most effective poor-people’s community organizing groups.

          • Gregg

            Okay, my bad for not being clear on the selective sex thing, although my analogy is flawless. My admission was also noble. IMHO you should ease up a bit.

            BTW, you did not convince me regarding preferential treatments. “Make no law” are the key words. You know, like a law that mandates Catholics pay for contraception.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Your analogy is worthless.

            The law did not mandate that the Catholic Church pay for contraception. It mandated that all employers of non-clergy are bound by the same legal mandate, and a church cannot claim an exception if they are running a business which employs non-Catholics and Catholic lay people.

          • Gregg

            No, a Catholic is a Catholic, institution or not.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            And 90% of Catholics disagree with their church on contraception.

          • Gregg


  • Pamkinsmith

    Where was the analysis of School Choice in Massachusetts? It is institutionalized classism here where those who can leave do, testing doesn’t accommodate special ed, and the schools are left to scramble from the failed policies and budget of the State House. As a parent and educator, this fraudulent and classist practice must be exposed for what it is! Choice is thinly veiled effort at bettering the rich and leaving the poor in the dust. Typical Romney practice. 

  • Greyman

    Heads up for the Friday show, if you please: President Obama signals profound insensitivity towards Poland if you want to be charitable, “ignorance and incompetence” if you ask Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, for remarks The President made at his Medal of Freedom bash. Early news is the Poles want Obama to apologize formally . . . . will he or won’t he?

  • Robespiere

    a system of education where only the wealthy can get an education–as private companies take over schools and marginalize even more Americans. 

    now you will have to be rich to get an education–and if not rich then a large portion of income will be devoted to charter schools. 

    Meanwhile, the teachers at such places will be treated as laborers subject to market forces, paid as part time adjunct workers or with the scraps off the billionaire table as they do in every other private-industry–a teacher will be paid less and less with no benefits–then to turn even more profit for the Romney class and the bloodsucking zuckerburgs–they downsize and offshore schools to Mexico and China where they can get slave-teachers who work for almost nothing–1 dollar a day–and our students will have to go to china if they want an education–sound ridiculous–just look at the history of private industry.  If you privatize education–students become a commodity to be bought and sold and teachers too–its more profitable for slave-masters to pay third world tyrants.  Do you hear that great sucking sound?

     We need better public education.  We need public TV, public radio, public media, we need public health-care, we need public energy–green energy—-we need a public government–as of now–we have no representation–only the 1% have any representation–of course they want to privatize  everything–they want to grab more and more into their greedy malicious hands for themselves. 

    There is no America–only the all mighty buck.  That’s runaway capitalism.  Power does not abide borders or flags or government or people or constitutions–it uses them to take and take more–f the rest!

    America has been swindled!
    When will we have democracy!?

    • Nutricj

      Democratic schools are the answer. Look at the free schools, such as Albany Free School. Look at Sudbury schools. These should replace the public school system as we know it. It would permit children to be children, then grow to be thinkers and the Americans we dream of. We cannot ask our children to live in and understand the land of the free when we place them in cells each day all day ten months of the year. No matter how wonderful and well intentioned the amazing school teachers are, they too are imprisoned by the system. The great teachers I know absolutely know this. Their words are that their “hands are tied.” that’s prison. Not freedom.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Of course, the purpose of compulsory education in America, modeled after the Prussian system, and financed and promoted by corporate capitalists and financiers, was to create a class of obedient workers and functionaries who were accustomed to living by the clock, deferential to authority, and sufficiently dumbed down as to not challenge the status quo.

        In spite of the best intentions of capable teachers and administrators, the structure and purpose of education has changed little since then.

        See John Gatto’s books, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992); The Exhausted School (1993); A Different Kind of Teacher (2000); and The Underground History Of American Education (2001).

        • Nutricj

          Huge fan of Gatto, I have read all of those except the Exhausted School….on my list!

          Very saddened about his stroke the end of 2011. His Weapons of Mass Instruction YouTube video is wonderful! (the book too of course)

  • Pingback: Does size matter? Why Mitt Romney’s education platform doesn’t add up – msnbc.com (blog) | Best News Feed - Daily News Magazine

  • Pingback: Does size matter? Why Mitt Romney’s education platform doesn’t add up – msnbc.com (blog) | Just Top News – Daily News Magazine

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The U.S. Public School system has been the blueprint for MANY countries’ school systems, for over two hundred years! 
        Some have out-performed the U.S. system, but they copied ours!
       Most countries only had ‘Charter’ schools, that ONLY taught the well-off, or the well-connected!
       Schools should be secular!  Churches can’t bore children  and adults enough, with the time they already get?

    • Nutricj

      Sadly our child suicide rates are the most in the world. Our Ritalin use is the most in the world. If you map the statistical rates of ADD/ADHD it is clearly defined population lines and the closer you get to the most competitive cities and school districts, such as the northeast, the rates are the absolute highest. As other nations copy our system, their childhood rates of suicide increases and mental health of their children deteriorates.

      I implore you and every citizen to read Dumbing Us Down by John Gatto and view Sir Ken Robinson YouTube RSA video on education.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Don’t your ADD/ADHD maps ALSO define industrialized areas, fast-food areas, drug-addiction areas, or other criteria?
           I’m sure that Ritalin and other drugs are over-used, over-prescribed, and otherwise abused.  I have seen a sucess story for it.  MOST of it goes to children being children!  An active child is NOT hyper-active, just because parents are too lazy to chase them! 
           The Public School systems have problems.  WHAT doesn’t?  Catholic schools have problems?  THEY’ve been making news for decades! 
          NO charter schools have problems?
           ALL charter schools are perfect?  IF SO, They’d be FULL, in no time!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Don’t your ADD/ADHD maps ALSO define industrialized areas, fast-food areas, drug-addiction areas, or other criteria?
           I’m sure that Ritalin and other drugs are over-used, over-prescribed, and otherwise abused.  I have seen a sucess story for it.  MOST of it goes to children being children!  An active child is NOT hyper-active, just because parents are too lazy to chase them! 
           The Public School systems have problems.  WHAT doesn’t?  Catholic schools have problems?  THEY’ve been making news for decades! 
          NO charter schools have problems?
           ALL charter schools are perfect?  IF SO, They’d be FULL, in no time!

        • Nutricj

          Yes. Yes. Agreed. Yes on the catholic n charters too. I do not in any way support charters or catholic or private.


          Because evryone of them subscribe to cells (classrooms), sit down n shut up, prison style “edu” that do nothing but teach children to be followers…and yep, step out of line and act like a kid and SMACK, swallow your pill and learn to follow boys and girls.

          What doesn’t? Democratic schools that treat children as HUMANS. The children get to vote and actually PARTICIPATE in their education. They are not talked at, they are communicated with. None of the above examples you list allow this. And, democratic schools are seriously inexpensive and community based so the government HATES the idea.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      In fact, the American system of compulsory education was modeled after the strict Prussian system, designed to produce malleable and obedient solders and workers to serve the elites.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    If we truly want to reform American education, then we need to understand its original purpose and goals, because the basic structure of public education has not changed a great deal since it’s inception.

    Following are quotes from John Taylor Gatto, three time New York City Teacher of the Year, he quit teaching on the OP ED page of the Wall Street Journal in 1991 while serving as New York State Teacher of the Year, claiming that he was no longer willing to hurt children:

    “The world got compulsion schooling at the end of a state bayonet for the first time in human history; modern forced schooling started in Prussia in 1819 with a clear vision of what centralized schools could deliver: obedient soldiers to the army, obedient workers to the mines, well subordinated civil servants to government, well subordinated clerks to industry, and citizens who thought alike about major issues.”

    “Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted – sometimes with guns – by an estimated eighty per cent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880′s when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.”

    “The next step came in 1890, when Andrew Carnegie… proposed that men of wealth re-establish a synthetic free enterprise system (since the real one was no longer possible) based on cradle-to-grave schooling. The people who advanced most successfully in the schooling that was available to everyone would be given licenses to lead profitable lives, they would be given jobs and promotions and a large part of the economy had to be tied directly to schooling.”

    “The seven lessons of school teaching: confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, surveillance – all of these lessons are prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius.”

    • Slipstream

       Hey, maybe you’re right, maybe we should just get rid of schools entirely.   A lot of kids would agree with you.  Like Pink Floyd said, “We don’t need no education…”

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        You’re a little slow on the draw, aren’t you? This show was a week ago. You must be a product of public education.

        We need learning, not education. Education means being led by a leash out of our alleged ignorance, stripped of our natural curiosity and imagination, and indoctrinated into the dominant (dysfunctional) paradigm.

  • Dee

    If this isn’t an old Republican recycled plan to destroy public education & break the backs of Unions–I don’t know what else it is..  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/02-0 

    And it seems education is one many services the Right Wing group like ALEC is out to capitalized and make a profit……

    And indeed , it was Mitt Romney who wrote a piece in the Boston Globe last year (or the year before) in which he called for “growing jobs” by “shrinking government”

    In a way he was talking about destroying the civil service 
    which the middle class built up and sustains them…..

    it is high time those in the Labor movement and Public Sector take on those greed driven capitalists Romney and his Far Right Wing Republicans represent….today. 

    Tom Ashbrook’s and his team at On Point can do their part by showing the holes in their systems –as Tom has been doing 
    the last few months…. http://useconomy.about.com/od/fiscalpolicy/p/Mitt_Romney.

    As if healthcare and education were commodities one traded
    on the NY Exchange. instead of public policies where individuals
    need support and continued sustainability…Dee

  • Dee

    They want to privatize the world, Our schools are not for sale 

  • Dee

    Romney’s plan and Economic Plan for 2012 presidential Cam-
    paign Plan

  • Zelda43

    You can count on a Republican to be very concerned about education as it turns out to be a real cash cow. Also a very
    handy way of putting folks in a state of indebtedness right away. Once they owe you they are yours! Just have to love
    good ole sociopathic Right Winger. 
    Your always at the top of their list of potentially exploitable

  • Gregg

    Mr. Riversong,

    I don’t lke to call names but I do like to call’um as I see’um so I must say with all due respect you are a pompous ass. That’s cool, it works for you.

    First, it’s “unalienable”. You are mistaken. The founders fretted over every word. The word “inalienable” suggests rights cannot be taken away without the consent of the grantor of those rights, man. “Unalienable” means no way no how because they come from our creator. We’ll see if you choose to dig in on your error to keep from admitting I enlightened you.

    One disconnect in your essay is Jefferson was talking about an idea. I love the quote and concur with it. He was a smart, eloquent fella. I am coming from it as a songwriter. A song is a product resulting from the diligence of a craftsman. Generally, in the music industry “publishing” refers to monies received from the sale of the tangible product such as a CD. These rights are typically bargained away in record deals. “Royalties” are monies received by the copyright holder for the intangible music in the air. They are administered by organizations like ASCAP and BMI. Copyright form PA protects the song (chords and lyrics) and form SR protects the tangible product including artwork, song roster and even recording techniques. It’s more than just an “idea”.

    The lines are beginning to blur with downloadable music but the product (song) is no less a product just because you can’t hold it. The songwriter owns it. When Napster first came on the scene, songwriters were faced with a decision: Was it better to allow a song to be downloaded for free by the thousands or sell a few copies? The exposure is priceless and without a record company’s promotion selling songs no one has heard is hard. The issue is the songwriter should have the choice. Thomas Payne went the “Napster” route but it was his choice.

    • bellavida

      Actually, Webster’s states the words “inalienable” and “unalienable” are interchangeable, and the definition is incapable of being alienated, surrendered or transferred.  The first draft of the Preamble was spelled “inalienable” but Benjamin Franklin, a newspaper editor thought “unalienable” was a stronger word.   

      • Gregg

        The Constitution says “unalienable”. The framers knew the difference as your comment suggests. If they were interchangeable it would not have mattered.

        • bellavida

          Both words mean the same thing.  So you are arguing with Webster’s?

          • Gregg

            They don’t mean the same thing as your very comment attests. Even if they did (they don’t) Mr. Riversong is still incorrect about which word was actually used.


  • Slipstream

    Wow, Martin West must really be dreaming of a job with the Romney Administration.  His resounding approval of Romney’s plans conveniently ignores a number of important facts.  Any kind of program like this, that would give Title 1 money directly to parents, would have to be carefully overseen and require a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork.  Also, while expanding school choice sounds good, education is not a market commodity, and there is little evidence that treating it like one leads to better public education.  West ignored the caller who asked why the existing public school systems could not be improved – Tom should have pressed him for an answer on that.  Could it be because it would cost more money?  And Romney’s remarks about class sizes were pretty fatuous – the teacher from Nashville who called in explained it very well – large class sizes can be all right with high-achieving, well-behaved students – but they are a prescription for trouble with students who have behavioral and academic problems.  Professor West chose to skip dealing with that one too.  

Aug 28, 2014
Photos surround the casket of Michael Brown before the start of his funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.  (AP)

The message that will last out of Ferguson with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

Aug 28, 2014
Some of the hundreds of earthquake damaged wine barrels cover and toppled a pair of forklifts at the Kieu Hoang Winery, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. (AP)

Drought in California, earthquake in Napa. We look at broken bottles and the health of the American wine industry.

Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
1 Comment