James Kitfield writing in the National Journal takes this snippet from Mitt Romney’s interview with Bret Baier:
Romney reiterated his support for the testing requirements in the 2001 “No Child Left Behind Act,” but promised as president to push back against a federal teachers’ union that has too much power and often “overwhelms” states and local school districts.
Romney actually mentioned teacher unions twice in his comment on ed policy. So Mitt’s a testing guy, eh? No surprise there as one of his ed policy advisors is a Jeb Bush ally. Here’s a bit from something I wrote in December 2011:
Perhaps what Romney has in mind for education policy is revealed in whom he’s chosen as education policy advisors. (Education Week writer Alyson) Klein writes that they include Nina Rees, who served as assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement under President George W. Bush; Marty West, a Harvard professor, and F. Philip Handy, the former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education under former Gov. Jeb Bush. (Handy worked as an education adviser on Sen. John McCain of Arizona’s campaign back in 2008.)
It is the presence of Handy who should give public school advocates pause. The former Board of Education chairman is a on the board of directors of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future.
The Education Week reporter whom I cited in the post, Alyson Klein, went into Romney’s book to get a closer look at his philosophy on education. Klein wrote this about the likely GOP presidential nominee:
He’s a testing fan. He rejects the claim that No Child Left Behind advocates “teaching to the test”, which he attributes to teachers’ unions.
“‘Teaching to the test’ can only mean teaching the fundamentals fo math, algebra, geometry, calculus, reading comprehension, and English composition. If giving these students these skills is ‘teaching to the test’ then I’m all for it.”
I doubt that Romney will use “teaching to the test” anymore, but its clear his education vision is narrow and lacks the sort of thoughtfulness it requires. He’ll not move away from such divisive rhetoric with Bush people on his team either. Romney’s position is fact-check imperiled as the state he governed, Massachusetts, has a strong teachers union and delivered top NAEP scores – something that might prove tricky for him later.