Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate who edged out an eight-vote victory over Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses, has a long track record on education that includes standardized testing and accountability, charter schools and school vouchers.
Romney has a long record and a lot of ideas on education redesign. He’s a fan of standardized testing, and has credited the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 with providing a much-needed boost to accountability. In fact, he was one of the NCLB law’s biggest champions when he ran for president back in 2008. But this year, he has also emphasized the need to step up the state role when it comes to K-12.
The No Child Left Behind Act — signed into law in January 2002 by George W. Bush and supported by the Obama administration — mandated standardized testing that evaluates teachers by score results. In late 2011, the Obama administration offered states “waivers from the most onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind.”
Public school advocates who oppose mandatory standardized testing to determine teacher salaries and state and federal funding for public schools have called for a National Opt Out Day on Jan. 7.
Romney, according to Education Week, “also complimented President Barack Obama’s signature education reform program—Race to the Top—saying the program “had done some good things.”
Race to the Top, “a competitive grant program,” was launched by the Obama administration in 2009 to “encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform.”
The program provides funds to states that reform education in four areas: adopting standards and assessments that prepare students for work and college; building data systems that measure student growth and success; recruiting, training, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals; and turning around the lowest achieving schools.
Education Week adds that Romney has “called for getting rid of teacher salary schedules, but said he’d like to pay beginning teachers more. He also waded into the culture wars, saying he thinks students should be taught about the advantages of marriage.”
Education News reported last September that Romney also supports charters schools, school vouchers and “currently supports the federal government’s involvement in education and would keep in place the No Child Left Behind act created under President Bush in 2001.”