The Romney revolution could end up as big as the Reagan revolution.
Mitt Romney is rolling through 2012 at a faster pace than Ronald Reagan rolled through 1980. He is ahead of Reagan’s pace at this point in 1980. Reagan was carrying the mantel of a far bigger revolution, basically terminating the 50-year-old New Deal coalition and inaugurating a new era of American politics. But in the end the voters were probably right in choosing Romney as the man for this time in 2012. With the nation under threat of a Marxist takeover in a second Obama term, and a must win for the Republicans as a result for the survival of America, Romney presents no rough edges that will distract the public from seeing Obama’s ongoing deconstruction of their country. Because Obama may take down the whole Democrat party in the process as never seen before, the Romney revolution could end up as big as the Reagan revolution.
The Failed Education Status
Romney’s education initiative presented late last month indicated the promising potential of a Romney revolution. Most importantly, it was based on choice, which is the most promising central theme for a true revolution of the entire welfare state.
Romney’s 34-page white paper explaining the reform proposals, “A Chance for Every Child,” begins by explaining what is at stake: “Only 2 percent of those who graduate from high school, get a full time job, and wait until age 21 and get married before having children end up in poverty. By comparison, that figure is 76 percent for those who fail to do all three.”
And it explained the problem, saying:
Across the nation, our school system is a world leader in spending yet lags on virtually every measure of results…. On the latest international PISA test, American high school students ranked 14th out of 34 developed countries in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math. China’s Shanghai province led the world in all three subjects, outperforming the United States by multiple grade levels in each.”
Performance of our current public school system is so bad, it’s a civil rights problem:
Our K-12 system also poses one of the foremost civil rights challenges of our time: the achievement gap facing many minority groups. The average African American or Hispanic student performs at the same level in 12th grade that the average white student achieves in 8th grade. More than one in three African American and Hispanic students fails to graduate from high school within four years of entering…. The tragic result is that instead of providing an escape from the cycle of poverty, our educational system is reinforcing it.
The root of the problem is not lack of resources: “The cause is not a lack of public investment: as a nation we spend over $11,000 annually on each student enrolled in K-12 education, more than almost any other country.” Romney’s White Paper adds:
We spend two and a half times as much per pupil today, in real terms, as in 1970, but high school achievement and graduation rates have stagnated. Higher spending rarely correlates with better results. Even the liberal Center for American Progress acknowledged in a recent study that “the literature strongly calls into question the notion that simply investing more money in schools will result in better outcomes,” and reported from its own research that most states showed “no clear relationship between spending and achievement.”
Romney adds further: “Despite spending more than twice as much per student as other developed countries, our degree attainment lags behind. Currently, only 27 percent of community college students and 57 percent of those pursuing bachelor’s degrees will finish within three or six years respectively.” (Emphasis added.)
Romney commendably did not shrink from identifying the real root of the problem — teachers unions. The campaign White Paper says:
Unfortunately, rather than embracing reform and innovation, America remains gridlocked in an antiquated system controlled to a disturbing degree by the unions representing teachers. The teachers unions spend millions of dollars to influence the debate in favor of the entrenched interests of adults, not the students our system should serve. The efforts of teachers will be central to any successful reform, but their unions have a very different agenda: opposing innovation that might disrupt the status quo while insulating even the least effective teachers from accountability….[T]eachers unions are consistently on the front lines fighting against initiatives to attract and retain the best teachers, measure performance, provide accountability, or offer choices to parents.
Romney’s political courage and wisdom in directly taking on the teachers unions is a good sign for how he would govern.
As for higher education, Romney’s White Paper explains:
“[S]tudents and their families face skyrocketing prices for higher education and, partly as a result, ever heavier debt burdens. Since 1982, the cost of college has dramatically increased by 439 percent — dramatically higher than the growth even in the cost of health care….Students took out more than $100 billion in student loans last year, a record high, and total outstanding loans now exceed $1 trillion — an amount that exceeds total credit card debt.”
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