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education and the election
Mitt Romney (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Mitt Romney spoke at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People annual convention this week, where he tried to make the case that he was the best presidential candidate for African Americans. He promised, among other things, to close the country’s achievement gap and touted his education record as governor of Massachusetts, where test scores rose for all demographics during his tenure, but particularly for minority students.

Romney also discussed working with the Black Legislative Caucus when he vetoed a bill that would have capped the number of charter schools in the state.

“Charter schools are so successful that almost every politician can find something good to say about them,” Romney said. Indeed, the charter school movement has found supporters on both sides of the aisle – including President Obama. But research on how well they work is not conclusive; some studies indicate they do no better than traditional public schools.

And, although Massachusetts indisputably improved its academic performance under Romney, some argue that he was unable to form the partnerships to make major policy changes.

“There is a core movement in Massachusetts around accountability and responsibility, and Mitt Romney was a vocal advocate for that,” Hardin Coleman, dean of the School of Education at Boston University, told the Washington Times, in an article that looks at Romney’s education successes and failures as governor. “But he certainly wasn’t new in that field. He spoke to those issues as governor, but what is commonly understood here in Massachusetts is that he was not effective in building coalitions in bringing [his policy objectives] to bear.”

Michelle Obama in Pueblo, Colorado (Photo by Christopher Dilts for Obama for America/via Flickr)

First Lady Michelle Obama came under fire this week for plans to hold a campaign event at a Miami high school, where students are out for the summer. Two Republican school board members said holding a political event at a Barbara Goleman Senior High in Miami Lakes was “inappropriate,” according to The Miami Herald, and asked that the event be canceled.

“The use of public schools whose only focus should be to educate our children for political gain is downright wrong,” school board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla said in a statement. “Don’t these liberals have boundaries? Our schools are places for learning not places for politicking.”

The event was allowed to take place as planned, however. School board attorney Walter Harvey explained to the Herald that the Obama campaign was “essentially renting the facility” and that the district couldn’t discriminate against requests from political campaigns.

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Sarah Butrymowicz oversees and contributes to The Hechinger Report’s investigative and data work covering all levels of education, from early childhood to K-12 to higher education. She has worked at...

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