The Obama campaign fired back at Mitt Romney’s speech Wednesday on education, in which Romney put forward school choice proposals, holding a conference call with reporters in which they tied “Romney economics,” of short-term gains, to their opponent’s positions on education.
“Mitt Romney might not want to talk about his lackluster record in Massachusetts, but it’s an important window into what he would do as president,” said Obama campaign national press secretary Ben LaBolt, criticizing Romney for having sought cuts to early literacy programs, and for sharp increases in public college tuition during his term as governor.
LaBolt also pointed to Romney’s comments at a closed-door fundraiser in April, where he said he would cut the size of the Department of Education.
Obama campaign policy director James Kvaal also rebutted Romney’s call for expanded school-choice, by pointing to the Obama administration’s own reform efforts on teacher pay and performance, and reforming the No Child Left Behind Act. “President Obama has also worked to expand school choice, in public schools — in fact, Race to the Top encouraged states to lift caps on charter schools, and increased the number of charter schools.”
Kvaal also explained the campaign’s opposition to private-school voucher systems: “We know from experience that private school vouchers have failed to raise achievement, and they drain resources from public school children.”
Romney, in his speech, attacked Obama for inequalities in American education: “Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America’s minority children suffer the most. This is the civil-rights issue of our era. It’s the great challenge of our time.”
In response, Kvaal told TPM on the call that Obama agrees with the need to invest in education in order to build the economy.
“[Obama] is tremendously proud of his record on education, and rightly so,” said Kvaal. “And in contrast, the answers that Governor Romney is apparently offering, which include deep cuts to education funding, and backing away from what has been a national commitment for decades — to intervene in failing schools. I think voters that are interested in education have a clear choice.”