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In my third installment in what may be a series of posts on how to help undecided voters .. I discuss Romney's view of teachers, students, his MA record and his plans if elected (if those really are plans).

Below the fold is my response to my cousin-in-law who is sort of Middle of the Road, while my cousin is a right winger.

So the question really is what did Romney do for MA schools while governor? That is,  hat is his record, of which we hear so little about. From what I could tell, he did a whole lot of nothing.

MA has some of the best schools in the nation, this is true. But the MA scholastic record  improved largely due to the 1993 MA Education Reform Law education reform law that put billions into the schools, set academic standards and started standardized testing. The state didn't become so great because of anything Romney did. This Boston Globe article from July talks more in detail about his time as governor and what he did for education.

I think Glen Koocher in that article says it all ... "his impact was inconsequential."  There is a graph in the article that shows the English and Math MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) scores. For the first three years, there appears to be very little change .. but in the last year there is a bit of a jump (+3 for English from 06 ot 07, and +6 for Math). The article doesn't describe if something changed in the laws between those years.

One thing that I found really troubling about his view on education was his support for a bill in 2002 that led to English only classes. According to this article, for 31 years MA had a bilingual education law in which students learned academic subjects in their native language. In 2002 (the same election that Romney became governor and he openly supported), MA voters turned over that law. The new law then put these students into predominantly English spoken classes for a year before the student was moved into the regular classroom. Sadly, this new law hurt students more than helped (see the top part of the figure in the article). Romney, however, has claimed that this was a success during the GOP primary debates.

This article states

"In 2006, three years after the law Romney campaigned for went into effect, new state tests showed that 83 percent of students learning English as a second language in the third through twelfth grades could not read, write, speak or understand English well enough for regular classes after their first year in Massachusetts schools. Of those enrolled in state schools for at least three years, more than half still were not fluent."
This article also talks about a scholarship program that Romney introduced for the best students in the MA high schools to attend MA public colleges. While the scholarship covered tuition, more than 80% of the yearly cost comes from fees. As an example of some of the fee from my personal experience (and likely yours), I remember spending between $300 and $500 a semester for text books at BU and that was in the late 90s. If you were lucky, we were able to find some used text books .. but those were very limited and not all that much of a discount from a new book.

The cost of higher education in MA rose dramatically while Romney was governor .. tuition and fees jumped 63 from 2003 to 2007 after he cut state funding to a total of $140 million, or 14% in four years according this this other Boston Globe article. This rise in tuition and fees is greater than the national average of 40% over the same time period. That is according to the graph in the graph in this NY Times article.

The Paul Ryan's budget (which Romney had endorsed) will further hurt college students because their plan is to cut Pell grants (a program that now helps more students since Obama took office). This would hit more than 1 million students and probably the poorest students as well according to this Huffington Post article As for Romney's view before his choice of Ryan as VP, his plan has been called "a bit vague on specifics" accoding to this US News article.

None of this sounds like a formula of supporting teachers or students.

Now, on to your other questions.

You ask if I'm willing to pay more in taxes for schools .. in short Yes. In long .. absolutely. In my district (Jefferson County) there is yet another ballot measure to help fund the schools in our county. They need more money to get updated text books and better technology for the class rooms. They asked for something similar in 2008, which failed. I think they've asked in past elections before I came to CO and failed then as well. Sadly, I think they will fail again. Why do I support the measure? Because education is a fundamental for a healthy society which wants to grow toward the
future.

Is the government responsible to offset costs that the district can not afford. Which level of government are you talking about .. state or federal. If a school has a legitimate need for additional funds (they need to build a new wing, expand the library .. even save their art, music and gym programs) then yes .. the school should be able to go to the state, and then if needed the federal government. And these bodies (state and government) should feel responsible because 1) they are providing a service to their people and 2) like I said earlier, an educated society is a fundamental to a healthy one.

What do you mean that educating low-income students is a social issue? Are you saying there are some people (like myself) who thinks everyone should have an opportunity to get an education no matter their economic situation and there are those who think you only get the education that you can afford? That would be like picking winners and losers. No one is knowingly or willingly born into a rich or poor family. It is the one thing is life we can't choose. And if someone has a very unstable home life situation, school should be a place a child should be able find stability.

Tax payers do pay the salaries of professors. In the last few years, Arizona State University, Univ. of Arizona and Norther Arizona Univ. all had a number of furlough days because the state (or the wonderful Gov. Janet Brewer) would not give them the money they had budgeted for. I think they had something like 5 or 10 days like this, and tried to distribute them through the year. Similar things happened in CA, but I am not as familiar with the situation there as I am with what happened in Arizona. Outside of the state funds, and tuition, federal taxes are also used to pay professors (and myself) via grant money.

I think that teachers are mostly over worked as opposed to just doing the minimum and are generally underpaid. We both know that teachers work many hours outside of the classroom, before and after the start of school vacations (like summer). And if the class is large, then a teachers attention will be divided that many more ways and more students with education deficiencies are likely to slip through unnoticed.

Originally posted to AstroCook on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Change the world. Ask questions.

    by AstroCook on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:31:43 PM PDT

  •  When Romney was my Governor (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, BRog, jofr, JanL

    I was younger and my politics were slightly closer to the middle. I had liked Gov. Weld quite a bit and Romney ran as if he were a typical MA REpublican...who are RINOs in the best sense of the word--fiscally moderate to conservative but socially leaning liberal. I considered voting for him...very briefly.

    I was so glad I didn't. He ran as a moderate pro Choice person but GOVERNED as a conservative, most of the people around me thought so at the time. Thought he'd been dishonest and had misrepresented himself particularly around Gay rights.

    THis matters. It is a prelude to the problem with Romney as President...he will say anything to get elected. Don't think the moderate somewhat reasonable stuff you heard at the debate is what he really thinks or what he will really do. We all know he through President Obama for a loop because he changed his positions (ie lied on what they had been or were the day before). You can't then trust

    Character matters. Brown in MA is trying to stick it to Warren around how she reported to race, calling it a character issue (false). THIS IS A CHARACTER ISSUE. where are the ads calling it like it is. Romney lies more than anyone I ever saw.

    And don't be lulled into any source of security that he might be a moderate "like he was in MA". He fooled us too. You can't trust him. He does not have strong far right core beliefs but he can be convinced if it serves him.  He does not have solid moderate convictions either and will be swayed by the far right forces governing his party as they are right now.

    •  sorry about the typos (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BRog

      I'm tired and missed them.

      The casually observing centrist who's angry with Obama for not fixing everything, or dissapointed...would love to have someone else who is moderate and viable to vote for. Romney showed them that person in the debate. Such people WANT TO BELIEVE that that is the REAL Romney. Even that Newsweek writer who is switching to Romney thinks it's the real Romney and it matches how he Governed in MA, so...

      it does not match. IT is how her RAN as Governor but then he went right on us. HE only compromised with Dems because our legislature is solidly Dem so he'd passed absolutely nothing if he did not.

      he is no moderate. He is not bipartisan. he is said to have governed like a CEO otherwise but he had to comprimise with Dems to get things done. If he is not forced to (ie Dem Senate, Dem House) he will happily accomplish his agenda without including Dems. I am certain of it.

  •  well try this i just heard romney either owns or (0+ / 0-)

    has a vested interest in bright horizons i know several people who have their children in one of those centers well people had better look into that they cost dearly and your money is going over seas                      
                                                                                                                                  10/09/12

    •  Bright Horizons? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semioticjim

      Is that a chain charter school? I wouldn't be surprised if it is that Romney supports it and makes money from it ... In MA he increased the number of charter schools from 46 to 59 in 4 years. He vetoed a bill to put a moratorium on new charter school.

      Change the world. Ask questions.

      by AstroCook on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 01:14:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a day care center chain (0+ / 0-)

        Bright Horizons mainly runs day care centers, often near or at work places ("employer solutions").  Bain Capital apparently owns it, taking them private in 2008.  They also own a few charter schools, but not in Massachusetts.

      •  Obama loves charters too... (0+ / 0-)

        ...there are many reasons to vote for President Obama, but education policy is not one of them....

        If you get right down to it, Obama and Romney have very similar education philosophies...so tell me why would a teacher be interested in working hard to re-elect the Prez?
        In my mind, if the President does poorly on election day, he should look at his RttT program and the fact that he threw teachers under the bus...thereby suppressing a huge number of activists who would readily work hard for him, in particular activating the ground game...instead he opted to hob knob with the likes of Gates and his corporate allies, instead of those who are on the front lines of American public education.

        Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

        by semioticjim on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 05:59:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Given this administration's record ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassidy3, JanL

    on education, I find it wiser to move the discussion to another topic.

    If pushed, I state that the Republican education policies would be worse than Duncan's. Of course that is a rather low bar.

    A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

    by slatsg on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 03:31:40 PM PDT

    •  How... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg

      Would RttT be any worse than what the R's could cook up?
      RttT is a bi-partisan program! RttT is NCLB on steroids....

      Obama has embraced corporate reform, and encourages so called "innovative" corporate approaches to education like sticking 100 kids in a classroom with computer screens attached to their faces and one teacher in the room to monitor digitized selected response assessments....forget about deep learning or multi sensory learning experience in these kinds of settings. Meanwhile the CEO's of these enterprises rake in the dough while teachers are paid a scant amount above minimum wage with few benefits.

      The human mind is viewed as an empty slate that can be the receptical of passive knowledge acquisition.
      Problem is, real learning does not occur here.

      A cacophony of stuff goes into one ear and out the other in these kinds of "innovative" learning situations...

      The expansion of charter schools? Obama has presided over the largest expansion of charter schools in our nations history.

      Obama screwed up when he chose Duncan over Linda Darling-Hammond. Duncan has never taught a day in a public school classroom in his life. He has zero credibility and is a corporate shill....

      Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

      by semioticjim on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 06:14:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No argument from me regarding (0+ / 0-)

        the President's record on education. It is abysmal.

        Living in Michigan and seeing the damage the Republicans can do when they control the executive and legislative branches demonstrates that as bad as Duncan is, it could be worse.

        Having said that, if I were strictly based on his education policies, he wouldn't get my vote. My reason for voting for the President is the transparent ugly racism of so many of those who are voting against him. This is especially true of many middle class and upper middle class people. Disgusting.

        A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

        by slatsg on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 08:14:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  He was an AWFUL governor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, Mary Mike

    I wasn't particularly concerned when he was elected, but the situation in the state deteriorated badly and quickly.  he would never have been reelected.  He left Mass. with his tail between his legs.  In fact, the Rep. woman who ran after him probably lost because of her continued support of him.

    Latest Mass. polling numbers:  63-39.  Says something when the people who know you best plan to vote against you in huge numbers.

    •  they will be 0 for 3 in the end. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL

      The Romney/Ryan ticket is losing in all of their home states ... MA, WI, and MI. You might also count CA (where the car elevator lives). I remember the Repugs made fun of Gore for losing TN, but they won't say a peep about R&R going 0 for 3.

      Change the world. Ask questions.

      by AstroCook on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:36:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Diary about Romney's Plan for Title I - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AstroCook, JanL, Mary Mike

    You might find this interesting as well

    What's Romney's Plan for Title I Students - Have the Nanny Take the Kids to School?

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Thanks,
    VACommonSense

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