By: Jeffrey Klein
Political Buzz Examiner
Yesterday, during his speech at the annual NAACP National Conference in Houston, Gov. Mitt Romney surprised everyone with his novel approach to education funding, which not only makes ‘good walking around sense’ but, also drew concerted agreement from one of the primary ‘constituents’ of the conferees–poor, urban black students.
The National Center for Education Statistics data shows that in 2009, the average reading score of African-American fourth-graders was 26 points lower than Caucasian fourth-graders, while White high school seniors scored 30 points higher in math than their black counterparts, according to reporting in Casey Stegall’s FOXNews article today.
There are many theories to explain the disparity in these numbers, but the one getting the most attention is economic status–as there are more under-performing schools in poor neighborhoods than there are in middle-class areas.
And, thirty-seven percent of black school-age children come from households living below the poverty line–compared to 12 percent of white children.
The Obama approach?
Using the American Recovery and Investment Act (“Stimulus”), President Obama spent an additional $13 billion on K-12 public school systems, under the Title 1 program, which is part of the “Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” passed by Congress in 1965, that provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers of children from low-income families.
This is also known as “insanity,” to mindlessly spend more taxpayer money–on the same system that has failed to fix the same problem for 47 years.
The NAACP’s reaction?
National NAACP leaders, like Howard Johnson, support this idea but–only if the money is used to help turn around under-performing schools, instead of just sending kids away.
We’re getting these minority students out of the bad schools and putting them over here [in an alternate school] and giving them an education. So you get 10 out, but leave 100 in the same condition? Don’t move them. Fix it!
The Romney solution?
For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.
Romney recommends a market-based approach to education, where schools essentially compete for students, believing that it will incentivize educators to get under-performing schools turned around–or closed–instead of throwing more money at the problem.
Stegall visited the KIPP Charter School in Houston and spoke to minority parents who praise the idea of having options, which is what brought them to KIPP Charter Schools in the first place.
What do student’s parents think?
Parent Lisa Johnson says her two children are doing exceptionally well since switching to KIPP Charter School.
They have learned so much and they want to go to school … my kids wake up with an I’m-ready-to-go attitude!
Chris Gonzalez, of KIPP, states they have 125 schools in 20 states, serving more than 39,000 students, and added:
Ninety percent of our kids are low income, but 90 percent of my eighth-graders have historically gone on to college … I’m focused on college for every kid.
What do former students think?
Ana Lucero Camacho-Duran, a former KIPP student, explained that college wouldn’t have been an option for she and her siblings, had they attended her broken public school.
As a minority, living in a not-so-education-oriented neighborhood, you are not given many options. Breaking the cycle is important because you realize you have a choice. You have options. You’re able to go to a better school, provide a better education for yourself and for your future generations.
Ana and all of her brothers and sisters are now college graduates. Amen, indeed.
How does the NAACP feel about Romney’s plan?
Changing schools is the not the answer, according to Howard Johnson:
If you have a school over here with kids getting scholarships and that school over there has nothing but drop-outs, the parents aren’t gonna want to send their children there. There is no choice. Fix their school and then give them a choice.
If education and advancement is such a hot topic for the NAACP, then why would they reject Romney’s plan, which by extension has been proven to work, for so many children, over a long period of time–in favor of Obama’s approach, which has obviously not worked at all in over 47 years, wasting trillions of dollars?
For the NAACP the reason is simple–once there is no one left to “advance,” then the very reason for their existence would cease.
For Democrats in general, Romney’s plan would necessarily eliminate education labor unions, because “competition” for students [taxpayer money] would result in the surreptitious firing of “incompetent” teachers and replacing expensive union workers with fewer, market-priced non-union workers.
For Barack Obama, it’s simple too–a Marxist does not really what to have an educated electorate, as then they would be able to detect the truth and it would set them free…from the Democrat party.
Nicely done, Mitt.