Romney believes that education is a central aspect of the American Dream. However, he believes that years of neglect by the federal government has rendered the national education system ineffective, broken even. He also believes that the continuing “flood of federal dollars” is driving up the cost of higher education.
He advocates wide-ranging reforms to the education system, and will take the unprecedented step of tying teachers’ compensations to their results instead of tenure. In addition, Romney will implement measures that will expand parental role in education.
“ … I came into a state where Republicans and Democrats had worked to, before I got there to make some very important changes. They said that they were going to test our kids every year. They said to graduate from high school, you're going to have to pass an exam in English and math. I was the first governor that had to enforce that provision. There were a lot of people that said, oh, no, no, no. Let people graduate even if they can't pass that exam. I enforced it. We fought it. It was hard to do. We added more school choice. My legislature tried to say no more charter schools. I vetoed that, we overturned that. February 22, 2012: CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate
With school choice, testing our kids, giving our best teachers opportunities for advancement, these kinds of principles drove our schools to be pretty successful. As a matter of fact, there are four measures on which the federal government looks at schools state by state, and my state's number one of all 50 stays in all four of those measures, fourth-and-eighth-graders in English and math. Those principles, testing our kids, excellent curriculum, superb teachers, and school choice, those are the answers to help our schools.“
“… education has to be held at the local and state level, not at the federal level. We need get the federal government out of education. And secondly, all the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that's promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers. We looked at what drives good education in our state, what we found is the best thing for education is great teachers, hire the very best and brightest to be teachers, pay them properly, make sure that you have school choice, test your kids to see if they are meeting the standards that need to be met, and make sure that you put the parents in charge. And as president I will stand up to the National Teachers Unions…September 22, 2011: Fox News/ Google Debate, Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida
… I think the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is doing a good thing by saying, you know what, we should insist that teachers get evaluated and that schools have the opportunity to see which teachers exceeding and which ones are failing and that teachers that are not successful are removed from the classroom. ..”
“… I have issues that take me in the same direction. One is No Child Left Behind. I've taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education. That was my position when I ran for Senate in 1994. That's very popular with the base. As I've been a governor and seen the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the teachers' unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference. So I supported No Child Left Behind. I still do. I know there are a lot in my party that don't like it, but I like testing in our schools. I think it allows us to get better schools, better teachers; allows us to let our kids have the kind of hope that they ought to have.”May 15, 2007: Republican presidential primary debate, University of South Carolina, Columbia
“… America's post-WWWII commitment to public higher education directly contributed to the burst of productivity that rocketed our economy beyond every other. But other nations have made as great or greater a commitment to higher education than we have, particularly in engineering, computer science, and information. 15 years ago, China and India awarded about half as many master's degrees in these fields as did the US. Today, they graduate more than two times the number of students in these fields as we do. While our annual number of degrees has hovered around 7,000 to 8,000, China's has risen from 1,784 to 12,130--50% greater than ours. This is a stunning reversal of global preeminence in the priority attached to the highest level of educational attainment. Not surprisingly, China, Japan, and Taiwan claim a growing share of the world's patents…”March 2, 2010: No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, a book by Romney