What can we expect if Mitt Romney’s elected the next president? More school choice, absolutely no federal money devoted to helping implement the Common Core Standards, and an A to F grading system for all K-12 schools.
“Education is about teachers, great leadership, and parents.” the Republican presidential candidate told those gathered at NBC’s third annual Education Nation Summit in New York this week, which many say outlined his education policy for the campaign.
Romney proposed that the nation follow Florida’s lead by grading schools so that parents would have more choice for their kids. Moderator Brian Williams, who noted that the current tuition for Romney’s alma mater, Cranbrook School, an elite all-boys prep school in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is $38,900, and asked if every child deserved that kind of education. Romney said his support for a voucher system included using Title I funds to support school choice. When 17-year-old Nikhil Goyal, a senior from Syosset High School in New York, asked about standardized testing, Romney said he supported teaching to the test.
Many educators attending the event took interest in Romney’s opposition to a “national curriculum” and his stance against allocating federal dollars to support the Common Core State Standards.
“I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common core on various states,” he said. “It’s one thing to put it out as a model and let people adopt it as they will, but to financially reward states based upon accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake. And the reason I say that is that there may be a time when the government has an agenda that it wants to promote.”
The three-day event from September 23to 25 was hosted at the New York Public Library’s 42nd Street building and brought together NBC journalists Williams, Tom Brokaw, Rehema Ellis, and others along with governors, mayors, commissioners of education, and teachers to engage the public in a solution-focused discussion with the goal of improving education and preparing American students for jobs of the future.
The summit failed to mention the importance of libraries in education, and they weren’t even mentioned in a session called “Early Literacy Imperative: Central Falls (RI) Collaborates to Improve Reading,” which was moderated by Chelsea Clinton.
“Every classroom in our school has its own library, and those books travel home with students daily,” said Kath Connolly, spokesperson for the Learning Community,a featured charter school in an email to School Library Journal. “A central book room is constantly stocking and restocking those classroom libraries so that the content and the reading level remain engaging and challenging for students,”
Anthony Marx, New York Public Library’s president and CEO, welcomed everyone at a lunch where he emphasized the library’s goal to offer all children quality programming. The library system just went through a major reorganization, which eliminated the position of assistant director for public programs and lifelong learning for children, teen and families, which was held by Jack Martin, the current president of the Young Adult Library Services Association.
When questioned about the reorg, Marx stressed the library’s commitment to youth services and added that the library is currently recruiting a director of education programs, which will be a senior management position.
“Once that position is filled other positions will follow,” Marx told School Library Journal.
The summit presented 10 case studies and presented toolkits for educators. Zoran Popovic, director of the Center for Games Science at the University of Washington, used a crowd-sourcing exercise in which attendees helped to create a digital game called Wiznapped.