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Romney: Bar teachers unions from giving to political campaigns

This news story was published on September 25, 2012.
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By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times –

NEW YORK — Mitt Romney said Tuesday that teachers unions should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns, because their financial backing tips the negotiation process away from the interests of students.

“We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers’ unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interest of the kids. I think it’s a mistake,” Romney said during an appearance at NBC’s Education Nation. “I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers’ unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go.”

Romney said Democrats reap the benefit from these contributions, and children suffer because the unions represent the interests of teachers, not students. But Romney went on to praise President Barack Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, a Democrat.

“What I like about him is he said, look, I want to have this Race to the Top program which will give grants to states to encourage innovation and specifically that say we’re going to compensate teachers, based upon their performance, which I think is the right thing,” he said. “We’re going to insist on more school choice. I think that’s the right thing.”

He demurred when asked if he would retain Duncan in his Cabinet if elected.

Romney spoke for about 12 minutes to the crowd before taking questions from anchor Brian Williams and the crowd. He highlighted the quality of public schools in Massachusetts and the experience of taking part in his sons’ education, but did not mention that he sent the five to private school.

Romney said he learned during his tenure as governor that school funding and classroom size did not determine quality of education. He reiterated support for merit pay, using student performance to evaluate teachers, revising the tenure and seniority system, school choice, charter schools and retaining local control of education.

“I don’t want to step in and try to run schools for local school districts or for states. Education is largely run at the state level. But I do believe that there is action I can take at the federal level that will have an impact on improving the quality of education,” he said.

Romney said he does not believe there needs to be more federal funding of education, but would like federal dollars for poor and special-needs children to be attached to the student rather than sent to a specific school district, so that the children’s parents can decide where to go to school. And he would like to follow Florida’s lead in grading schools from A to F so that parents would clearly understand their children’s schools performance.

Williams contrasted Romney’s pricey private school education in Michigan, which would now cost nearly $39,000 a year, with a failing school in nearby Detroit where one-fifth of the students graduate to ask whether every child deserved the type of education that Romney received, and what could be done for the most vulnerable students.

Romney said that it would be possible to spend that much money on every child in the nation, but that spending did not determine whether a student would be successful, but the quality of their teachers and the amount of support they receive from home were the critical factors.

“So I reject the idea that everybody has to have a, if you will, a Harvard expense level degree in order to be successful. I find a lot of people have degrees from a lot of different places, public and private, that are highly successful,” Romney said.

The GOP nominee repeatedly stressed the importance of parental involvement, saying he unsuccessfully sought to create classes for soon-to-be parents while governor of Massachusetts.

“I got some resistance from folks who said, well, the poor don’t have time to go to your class,” he said. “I said I’ll hold them on Sundays, hold them on weekends. I want people to understand the importance of parental involvement.”

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8 Responses to Romney: Bar teachers unions from giving to political campaigns

  1. anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    So Romney admits that when politicians take money they do vote for legislation that the givers of that money want passed and not for the good of the country. Big surprise!!!

    • happyguy Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      What do you think he owes for all the PAC money he has taken? Bet he won’t be thinking about the 47% on many of his choices!!

      • maybe Reply Report comment

        September 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        Happyguy, your hatred for romney and republicans are very evident, Maybe you need to see a therapist.

      • happyguy Reply Report comment

        September 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

        Maybe, I don’t hate anyone. I dislike Romney and Teapublicans very much. I think they and there ideas are very bad for for America and Americans. You probably won’t believe this but most of my freinds are republicans, but they are not Teapublicans. The Teapublicans have taken the republican party way to far right. I don’t like their my way or the highway attitude. I don’t like the fact that they have put America in the back seat for the past 2 years, working only to unseat Pres. Obama. I don’t like the fact that they have all signed the pledge to Grover Norquist.

  2. bodacious Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

    If teachers have a vested interest in the elections and their PAC’s shouldn’t be allowed to contribute to political campaigns then neither should lobbyist groups such as the NRA. They too have a vested interest in the election.

  3. LVS Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Romney is exactly right on this issue. They do work for the taxpayer and should not be allowed to show favortism in politics.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Public employees do not work for the taxpayers anymore — We work for them !!!

  5. anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Get all money out of politics or none out you can’t have it both ways!