In lieu of my column this week, I have decided to print a letter that I have signed as the Romney for President Chair at Case Western Reserve University. I am joined in signing by nine other Campus Chairs around the state. This letter is being published in The Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Cincinnati Enquirer, as well as campus newspapers, as a student reaction to Obama’s visit to the state this week. -Andrew Breland
At a campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio in 2008, Barack Obama promised to bring sweeping education reform to America. He argued for expanded choice and greater accountability. He said that it was “time to ask ourselves why other countries are outperforming us in education, because it’s not that their kids are smarter than ours; it’s that they’re being smarter about how to educate their kids.”
We couldn’t agree more.
When President Obama visits Bowling Green State University and Kent State University today, it’s disappointing that “vision” takes precedence over a substantive record on which to run. Young Ohioans bought into “vision” in 2008, we won’t do it again – both for his re-election prospects, and for our future.
What the President has called “our education deficit” compromises our country’s ability to compete in an increasingly global economy. As a nation, we have always prided ourselves on the way in which we can out-innovate and out-educate other countries. But how will this remain the case if we fail to bring our education system into the 21st century.
Indeed, there is a bipartisan consensus that we can ill afford the perpetual under-performance of our schools. And with skyrocketing tuition rates, it’s becoming increasingly clear that students can no longer afford it either. Instead of graduating to jobs and greater opportunities, college students are graduating to student loan debt and their parents’ homes. Half of newly minted graduates find themselves unemployed or underemployed. Even more concerning is that in too many corners of this country, children lack the basic skills they need for any sort of job, let alone to go to college. These are the facts, and they are unacceptable.
We need to change course. But unwisely pouring more money into the schools is not the answer. We are already a world leader in spending per student. The policies that got our schools into this mess will not lift them out of it. If government spending helped the situation, we would hear about a decline in the number of schools needing improvement.
Younger Americans urgently need new leadership with practical solutions in the White House. And that’s precisely the kind of leadership Mitt Romney will provide.
Governor Romney knows that the way to reform education in America is to increase parental choice and use the power of the free market to promote accountability and affordability. Drawing from his background as a businessman, he will enact common sense reforms to improve our schools. Romney’s plan will expand school choice, giving parents greater freedom to choose which school their child attends. He will work with the states to set high standards for schools and ensure that they are held accountable. His policies will focus on attracting the best teachers by eliminating barriers for unnecessary certification requirements, rewarding teachers based on merit, and removing ineffective teachers from the classroom.
Governor Romney knows that our failing schools and rising graduate debt are crippling the ability of our generation to achieve the American Dream and compete in the global economy in the years ahead. The longer we delay addressing the problems plaguing our educational system, the worse they will become.
Substance trumps style and “vision.” What young Ohioans are looking for are results, not a reset. After the past three and a half years, it’s in short supply with this President.