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NEA President Statement on Mitt Romney’s remarks at Education Nation

Remarks at nationally televised forum prove he’s out of touch with parents and educators

WASHINGTON - September 25, 2012 -

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel reacts to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s comments on education at NBC Universal’s Education Nation.

“Today, Mitt Romney reminded those of us who advocate for students and public education that there’s only one clear choice in this election. His remarks further demonstrate that he is either oblivious to what is good for our nation’s students, or he simply does not care about their futures or America’s future.

During the nationally televised education forum, Romney cited Finland as an example about what’s right for public education. Unfortunately, he ignores the essential elements of that country’s success: ensuring every public school is a great public school, fostering strong collaboration between unions and schools, and emphasizing the professionalization of teachers. His ideas for improving America’s public schools fly in the face of what actually works in Finland.

Romney also proved he’s completely out of touch with parents and educators. He continues to insist that class size doesn’t matter and he disclosed that he has no plan for early childhood education. Study after study affirms that quality early childhood education is critical to student success. The Romney-Ryan budget would gut public education—funds for early education and funds that actually would keep class sizes manageable.

Romney says he fundamentally believes in parental involvement, but when a New York City parent tried to say that in fact, recent polling shows that parents across the city of one of the nation’s largest public school systems, support teachers and their unions by a ratio of 3 to 1, Romney rudely cut him off, refusing to listen to facts. This was a disrespectful act unbecoming of someone seeking the highest office in the land. Parents deserve more respect.

The more we hear from Mitt Romney, the more convinced we are as educators and working Americans that he and Paul Ryan would take the country in the wrong direction—exacerbating inequity in our educational system—all in pursuit of his vision where everybody gets as much education as they can afford.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,