Last Friday, Eduwonk.com posted the blog “Romney Campaign: Restoring the Promise of American K-12 Education”. The promise that all children have the opportunity to get an education is a “fundamental American value and essential for lasting economic prosperity”. Unfortunately, disadvantaged children are not receiving effective schooling and they are not being given the opportunities promised. In response to this problem, Governor Romney proposes a “renewed commitment to choice and innovation”. He plans to take twenty five billion dollars in federal funds to spend on low-income and special education students and to help eligible students attended any district or charter school, or to enroll them in a tutoring program or take online courses. The blog points out that this choice is “only valuable if good choices exist”. Romney would require schools accepting federal funding to improve digital education to promote high-quality schools and technological innovation. Funding would also be used to help poor children have the opportunity to attend private schools, something President Obama has repeatedly tried to eliminate.
Governor Romney plans to reform No Child Left Behind to focus on getting information about schools’ performances out clearly and effectively. Schools will be given report cards which will show how they compare nationally and include information on spending. Because of this increased “transparency” states would be granted increased flexibility in intervening in low-performing schools. Lastly, the blog states that high-quality schools exist because of effective teachers. Governor Romney believes that state and local governments should take control of this. He plans to eliminate the “highly qualified teacher” provision of No Child Left Behind and to consolidate money into block grants for states that have adopted new teacher evaluation systems.
Governor Romney has said “is not just a matter of test scores and international rankings. It’s the frustration of a sixth grader who wants to learn more, but is stuck in a class that’s moving too slowly. It’s the embarrassment of a 10th grader who knows he can’t read the books he’s assigned. It’s the shame of a 12th grader who’s supposed to be ready to graduate, but hasn’t mastered the skills he or she needs to succeed in life.” Hearing that makes me so sad. To me, receiving a quality education is nonnegotiable. I believe that education is essential to success and it isn’t fair to set kids at such a disadvantage from the beginning and there’s nothing they can do about it. I can completely agree that the government needs to figure out a way to give all students a quality education regardless of their socioeconomic status.
There are a few areas which I’m uncertain about in regards to Governor Romney’s plan however. If we are allowing poor students at low-quality schools to attend whichever school they would like, then how do we keep high-quality schools from being over capacity? And what happens to the low-quality schools? Obviously, students would choose a high-quality school over a low-quality school. What will happen to the teachers and facilities of low-quality schools when they no longer have attendance necessary to stay open? Transportation will also be a problem in this plan. How do we get students in the low-quality areas to the high-quality schools? I don’t really understand how these challenges will be handled. To me, it seems like a better solution to spend the federal money improving these low quality schools and training teachers. I think that it would be better to fix what’s broken than to just throw it away.