March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Romney Doesn’t Support Fed Dollars for Common Core

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.

NBC’s Brian Williams (left) with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“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.

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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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  1. Susan Johnson says:

    I would agree with Romney that students’ education is the responsibility of the states, not of the federal government. Perhaps not all librarians share your view and wouldn’t it be refreshing to read headlines that are not so overtly “Democratic Party” biased?

    • The fact that he said he didn’t support the Common Core is a “Democratic Party” bias? I read the headline and thought, “wow, some people will be pretty happy about that” and I’m a Democrat.

      • I have not heard one comment on Romneys plan to grade schools. I found it to be obscene how he stated that parents can just take their kids to the school with the highest grade. Where I’m from families on the west side of town can’t just enroll their kids on the east side. and even if they could families on the west side most likely walk their kids a mile or two cause they don’t have a CAR! Their not rich they just can’t put their kids where ever they want. Hello Romney do you understand. So even if some could put their kids in the better school are you just going to leave 47% of them at the failing school and not worry about them! How come nobody talked about this statement?

    • Have to agree with Susan. This seems politically motivated.

      Why not . . .
      Romney supports school choice
      Romney supports school vouchers
      Summit fails to mention the importance of libraries in education

      which would be the cogent piece of information to the targeted audience of the magazine . . . librarians

  2. I’m sorry but forcing states to a curriculum standard is not wrong in this day and age where students bounce around from school to school and from state to state. During my school years I lived in 4 different states and having a core curriculum to follow would have made it much easier ajdjusting when I transferred mid year and the classes were never at the same level I had just been at. I’m not saying every single class should be an exact copy across the nation, but there should be some expectations of what the student will come away with at the end of the school year. I fell that this “standard” should apply to all students when it comes to the core classes – public, private, or home-schooled.

    Voucher systems are not a viable option. Many private religious schools won’t accept “government hand-outs” and many areas don’t have the quality schools that are needed to provide kids with the education that they need to compete in today’s environment.

    Teachers aren’t provided the support that they need and many kids just don’t care so that those that have the will and desire to excel are held back. But teachers should not feel that they have to get through at a certain pace so that the students are railroaded through a class just to “hit” the mark. Whatever we decide to do to bring our quality of education up will not be easy and there are sure to be bumps along the way, but we must bring it up if we plan on our country remaining viable in the coming generations.

    We need to inspire kids to want to excel in school. Athletics, though important, should not be the standard on which schools, parents and the media extol accolades. Knowledge is the key to unlocking our country’s potential so that we all will succeed.

  3. I’m sorry, Susan, but the headline of the article states a fact. That you choose to consider it “Democratic Party biased” demonstrates your own prejudice. Surely there are Republicans who believe differently than Mr. Romney on this point, and I’m sure there are Democrats who feel the same way as Romney. The reason nothing is getting done in this country has everything to do with people sitting right and left who refuse to find common ground. And education surely should be that.

  4. The common core is really more of a guideline of skills that students should gain from their education, rather than a curriculum guide. It’s hard to argue that not all states should teach students the difference between primary and secondary resoruces, or how to read charts and graphs. For students with aspirations of attending college or even just living and working in a different state from where they grow up, it would be helpful to be on the same page skills-wise.