Mitt Romney changed the debate today and focused on education, offering a position, but little details, on how his administration would handle education. He supports a voucher system that would allow parents to unshackle their children from a failed government education system and give them the freedom to choose where their child gets an education:
The plan will allow low-income and disabled students use federal funding to attend public schools, public charter schools and, in some cases, private schools. Federal funds could also be applied to tutors or digital courses.
The plan is in line with GOP reforms aimed at giving students more educational choices. But it’s unclear how schools in areas that depend on the federal funding would fare.
The proposal is not expected to include any new federal money for education.
I’m conflicted on this. I like seeing a candidate come out in support of school choice, but I don’t like the GOP candidate proposing a federal education policy that doesn’t include removing the federal government from the education system.
And Romney has “evolved” on his position regarding the Department of Education:
Romney’s positions on education have evolved over time. He once supported abolishing the Education Department but reversed that position as a presidential candidate in 2007. At the time, he said he came to see the value of the federal government in “holding down the interests of the teachers’ unions” and putting kids and parents first.
I wish he could see the value of not having the federal government operate outside the parameters established in the Constitution.
While I like Romney’s position, it would fit better on a governor’s agenda. The GOP candidate should be about limited government, including reining the government back in where it has strayed in the past. Politically, Romney would have gained points by channeling Reagan, calling for the abolition of the Department of Education and explaining the benefits of leaving education to the states. (However, some suggestion federalism is a second language to Romney, limiting his ability to explain it effectively.)
It would have motivated me a bit more to support Romney had he taken a firmer stance for federalism and education. How about you?