The Republican Party released its final draft of this year’s platform. The delegates assembling in Tampa, FL this week for the Republican National Convention will vote on it. I wanted to read what they had to say about education.
First you see an overall summary of where they’re headed a push for local control and school choice.
Today’s education reform movement calls for accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of State and local control of our schools, and it wisely sees consumer rights in education—choice—as the most important driving force for renewing our schools, (pg. 35).
They affirm education as a state issue again later on pg. 35.
We support the innovations in education reform occurring at the State level based upon proven results. Republican Governors have led in the effort to reform our country’s underperforming education system, and we applaud these advancements.
You also see this in a list of reforms they prefer in respect to the word advocate and addressing educational leadership at the local level.
We advocate the policies and methods that have proven effective: building on the basics, especially STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and phonics; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, proper implementation of technology is a key factor in providing every child equal access and opportunity, (pg. 35-36).
The language I was looking for, but had hoped they would have called out No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top by name:
We support its concept of block grants and the repeal of numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (pg. 36).
They get their school choice position straight from the Romney education agenda:
The bulk of the federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for disabled youngsters should follow the students to whatever school they choose so that eligible pupils, through open enrollment, can bring their share of the funding with them. The Republican-founded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program should be expanded as a model for the rest of the country. We deplore the efforts by Congressional Democrats and the current President to kill this successful program for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ unions. We support putting the needs of students before the special interests of unions when approaching elementary and secondary education reform, (pg. 36).
I had hoped that they would have repudiated the Common Core State Standards by name, but the call for education policy to go back to the states and local communities is a start.