"The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I'm not going to get rid of it entirely," Romney said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers' unions. Romney added that he learned in his 1994 campaign for Senate that proposing to eliminate the agency was politically volatile.Once bitten by Sen. Ted Kennedy's 1994 ad reminding people that they like the Education Department, that it does good things for their kids, two decades shy of proposing to outright eliminate it, apparently. Unfortunately for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it wasn't an issue in Romney's 1994 election, so it would be fully on the chopping block in a Romney presidency.
Teachers unions, obviously, are not amused:
"If all he wants to do is use the Department of Education to go after unions -- then he’s clearly not interested in using it to help kids," Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers said in a statement. "How does it help kids when Romney wants to use the federal government to undermine teachers and their unions? Romney is out of touch. He doesn't get it."