Ann Romney: `Throw Out’ Education System — Good Housekeeping

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Ann Romney, Mitt Romney and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondhi during a rally at Tradition Town Square in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Ann Romney wants to `throw out’ the education system.

At least, that’s what she says in an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine which, a little more than one week before the presidential election, is likely to get plenty of attention from Democratic activists in the swing states where Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are campaigning.

Or, it could prove to be another campaign “oops” moment on the question of education — (except Texas Gov. Rick Perry meant what he could remember).

“Can you tell me,” Good Housekeeping asks Romney in the interview posted online, “what campaign issue is closest to your heart?”

“I’ve been a first lady of the state,” the wife of the former Massachusetts governor replies. “I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.”

The partisan bloggers already are all over it, with one tweeter calling it “jaw-dropping.’

Now, the Republican presidential nominee does not propose to eliminate the Department of Education. He does propose more “school choice.”

“Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts the interests of parents and students ahead of special interests and provides a chance for every child,,” his campaign Web site explains. “He will take the unprecedented step of tying federal funds directly to dramatic reforms that expand parental choice, invest in innovation, and reward teachers for their results instead of their tenure. These policies will equip state leaders to achieve the change that can only come from commitment and action at the local level.”

To promote “choice and innovation,” he proposes “giving students trapped in bad schools a genuine alternative… (1) such alternatives must exist, (2) parents must receive clear information about the performance of their current school and of the alternatives, (3) students must be allowed to move to a new school, and (4) students must bring funding with them so that new schools can afford to serve them. ”

For that matter, the Obama administration’s Education Department has promoted local alternatives with federal subsidies for states proposing their own blueprints for education — Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s efforts supported by no less a Republican authority on education reform than former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

And neither Obama nor Romney wants what Perry thought he wanted, when asked during the Republican presidential primary debate which federal agencies he’d eliminate.

“I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said in that November debate in Minnesota. “The third agency of government I would — I would do away with, Education, the… Commerce and, let’s see… I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

The response to Good Housekeeping may prompt some corrective action as well.


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