Ann Romney told Good Housekeeping magazine that the campaign issue closest to her heart is taking on teachers unions and dismantling public education as we know it. In an interview, she told the publication:
I’ve been a First Lady of the State. I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.
This attack on public school teachers echoes one that has been frequently heard in her husband’s stump speeches and debates. In his Friday economic speech, he said “It matters for the child in a failing school, unable to go to the school of his parent’s choosing, because the teacher’s union that funds the President’s campaign opposes school choice.”
Both Romneys have it wrong. President Obama has also consistently supported charter schools as a supplement to traditional schools. In May, he declared in his “Charter School Week” proclamation, “charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country.” Obama has opposed, however, proposals to take taxpayer money out of public schools and to fund private and parochial schools that do not have to achieve the same standards. Romney has embraced a risky school voucher scheme. Studies have also shown that charter schools may not necessarily improve children’s education.
Unlike Mitt Romney, President Obama’s campaign has not taken a single contribution from political action committees — teachers’ unions or otherwise. The National Education Association’s super PAC, NEA Advocacy Fund, has not made a single expenditure on the presidential race. While some individuals employed by the union have donated to the Obama campaign out of their personal funds, those contributions amount to less than one 1/100th of a percent of his total contributions.
Mitt Romney has made the questionable boast that as governor of Massachusetts, he made the state’s public schools number one in the nation. Those schools — with great union teachers — show that standards and certification are part of the solution, not the problem.