Romney’s education proposal would provide sweeping national leadership.
MITT ROMNEY’S EDUCATION REFORM PROPOSAL, released in May, shows the promising potential of a conservative revolution based on choice, which should be the central theme for a true overhaul of the welfare state.
Romney’s education white paper, “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….
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.
Public school performance and the achievement gap facing minority students are so bad, Romney argues, that education constitutes “one of the foremost civil rights challenges of our time.”
AS ROMNEY POINTS OUT, the root of the problem is not inadequate resources, since America spends more than $11,000 per K–12 student annually.
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.”
This lack of correlation is beyond dispute.
So what’s gone wrong? The real problem, as the white paper explains, is teachers unions, which control education to “a disturbing degree” and spend millions “to influence the debate in favor of the entrenched interests of adults, not the students our system should serve.”
That Romney identifies the union problem shows great political courage and is a good sign of how he would govern.
Romney then lays out the problem of “skyrocketing” higher-education tuition, and he rightly recognizes that the root of the problem is excessive federal assistance for students, as the colleges are happy to hike prices just as fast as the federal government can throw new money at them.
But the ultimate education problem is the Obama economy: Students graduate and are saddled with school debt, but they are unable to find jobs.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT spends more than $25 billion a year—two-thirds of its funding for K–12 education—through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is focused on students from low-income families, and through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Romney proposes to change the law to tie the dollars to each child rather than to each school, so that low-income families or those with special-needs children can use the money to enroll at any public or charter school anywhere in the state, as they prefer. And they can choose any private school in the state if permitted by state law.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online