Sunday, June 10, 2012

Does Mitt Romney Believe Downsizing Public Education is Good for Growth?

Pema Levy reports on what appears to be a real difference of opinion between President Obama and Mitt Romney (unless Romney flip flops on this issue too). First up this quote from Romney:
He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.
It has been widely reported that the fiscal contraction by our state and local governments is holding back our feeble recovery from the Great Recession. And yet the Republican Party is calling for even more austerity. I guess they are taking their cues from those European austerians. How well is that working out? Both parties agree in principle that we need to improve our education system as part of a strategy for long-term growth. But this is where Team Romney seems to have extremely bizarre reasoning:
The ex-governor has said smaller class sizes don’t necessarily improve education. On Sunday, now-surrogate Rick Santorum defended Romney’s opposition to hiring more teachers. “Teachers are great, we love teachers,” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But if anybody believes that hiring more teachers as we did over the many, many years in this country, under President Clinton, even President Bush and under the early part of President Obama’s administration, if that’s dramatically improved the quality of education, you got to show me the numbers because it’s not. … What we need to do is have education reform, not throw more money at teachers. And Mitt Romney understands that.”
Less spending on education and fewer teachers does not strike me as a recipe for improving education. But this has become a theme among Republicans of late. Update: The Romney Camp is saying President Obama is bragging about those reductions in government employment even though the facts are that the President has made proposals to reverse this trend with Congressional Republicans blocking these proposals. Not quite a blatant flip-flop but Romney’s dishonesty is certainly designed to muddy this issue.


Jack said...

The brilliance of Santorum's support of Romney's position, and that position itself, are found in their nearly total specious character. What does one say in retort? Reveiw the scientific literature of the past fifty years regarding the adverse effects of large class sizes on the individual student? On its face the Santorum/Romeny argument has no validity. What is the best size of a class? Can a teacher handle 25 students?, 30 students? Maybe if the room is large enoough a great teacher can handle 50 students. Where does one begin to debate an idiotic position? And then we can begin to argue the need for training a teacher. If the difficulty of the task doesn't matter why should the preparation of the teacher be a significant factor?

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