If you’re interested in learning more about Governor Romney’s education proposals, take a look at this thoughtful analysis by Michael Petrilli, the director of the Fordham Institute.
Governor Mitt Romney’s long-awaited education address happened on Wednesday, but the most telling news broke Tuesday, when we learned that Margaret Spellings is no longer one of his education advisors. She quit on principle, I assume, because Romney decided to turn the page on No Child Left Behind. As his campaign’s education “talking points” read, “Governor Romney’s plan reforms [NCLB] by emphasizing transparency and responsibility for results. Rather than federally-mandated school interventions, states would have incentives to create straightforward public report cards that evaluate each school on its contribution to student learning.” (Read his thirty-four-page education policy white paper here.)
Today, there’s not a single Republican in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, or running for president willing to defend federal accountability mandates. The GOP conversation has shifted to transparency, in line with what we’ve called Reform Realism. What a difference a decade makes.
The thrust of Romney’s speech, however, wasn’t his fresh view of accountability, but a major proposal on school choice. Romney wants to make Title I and IDEA dollars portable—a form of “backpack funding” from the federal level. (This one’s very much in line with what the Hoover Institution’s K-12 Education Task Force proposed in February. It’s also close kin to what Ronald Reagan and Bill Bennett proposed for Title I back in the late 1980s.)