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Mitt Romney flip flopping heads
The United States lost more than 100,000 teaching jobs between June 2011 and June 2012, part of the 300,000 teaching jobs lost since June 2008. But this summer, teacher hiring was at its strongest level since 2006, with 79,000 teaching jobs added. That's not enough to make up for the 300,000 lost, of course, and it doesn't keep up with growing numbers of students. But it's a start, and one that President Obama wants to continue with a jobs bill that would put teachers to work. Mitt Romney? That depends whether you believe what he said in the debate or what he's said before and since.

In May and June, Romney wanted to fire teachers he claimed we had and mocked President Obama for wanting to hire more. But at the debate, Romney said "I reject the idea that I don't believe in great teachers or more teachers" and "I’m not going to cut education funding." A week later, talking to the Des Moines Register editorial board:

[President Obama] wants to hire more school teachers. We all like school teachers. It’s a wonderful thing. Typically, school teachers are hired by states and localities, not by the federal government. But hiring school teachers is not going to raise the growth of the U.S. economy over the next three-to-four years.
As Sam Stein notes, that's not quite a direct contradiction of what Romney said in the debate. But it sure looks like, away from the spotlight of a nationally televised debate, Romney is tilting back toward his view that teacher jobs are pointless and unhelpful to the economy and generally dispensable. Which, even if he doesn't believe that teachers are a good investment in an educated population, is a pile of horseshit. Public sector job losses, including teachers, have weighed down the economy, slowing the recovery and boosting unemployment. Under President Obama there's been, just barely, net positive job creation. Imagine if the 680,000 public sector jobs that have been lost had not been lost. Imagine even if the 300,000 teaching jobs had not been lost. Or get really wild and crazy and imagine this:
If public sector jobs grew at the rate seen in the Presidencies of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, we would have somewhere around 7.0% unemployment, if not lower.
Romney wants us to believe that teaching jobs have nothing to do with economic recovery. But in reality the loss of teaching jobs has demonstrably slowed the recovery. On top of that Romney is trying to claim he values education even as he argues—implicitly at times, explicitly at other times—that we have too many teachers and don't need more, that ever-more kids can just be crammed into classrooms with fewer and fewer teachers. Does this sound like someone who would, as president, invest in quality education for all our kids?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 07:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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