Press Release

Romney: Sorry Kids, Attacking Unions Is Way More Important Than Your Education

For Release: 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Contact:

Carolyn Fiddler
202/393-6355
cfiddler@aft.org

 

 WASHINGTON—While addressing campaign contributors over the weekend, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney gave the clearest indication yet of his plans for public education. His scheme: Cut the Department of Education and use the government agency to fight teacher unions.

 " 'The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I'm not going to get rid of it entirely,' Romney said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers' unions." "Romney offers policy details at closed-door fundraiser," MSNBC.com, in Palm Beach, Fla., April 15, 2012]

 Gov. Romney claims that he would be a better steward of both the economy and the federal government's resources than President Obama. But his declared intentions to use a government agency and taxpayer dollars as tools to silence the voices of millions of educators rather than to help children belie those assertions. Once again, Gov. Romney has demonstrated how out of touch he is with the needs of hardworking American families.

 But this is only the latest in a long series of Gov. Romney's unfounded, factually inaccurate attacks on teachers and organized labor. His other greatest hits include:

  •  "But the role I see that ought to remain in the president's agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions. Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teachers unions behind." ["Fox News Sunday," March 18, 2012]

  •  "Let me tell you what I think I would do. One, education has to be held at the local and state level, not at the federal level. We need get the federal government out of education. And secondly, all the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that's promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers." [2011 GOP Google debate, Orlando, Fla., Sept. 22, 2011]
     
  •  "In using borrowed funds and taxpayer money to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, the Obama administration dispensed special favors to organized labor. Part of this entailed preferential treatment of the United Auto Workers (UAW), at the expense of other stakeholders and creditors—incredibly, the UAW was given a majority ownership stake in Chrysler." [Mitt Romney, No Apology]

  •  "Unfortunately, some union CEOs are less concerned about an industry's competitiveness than they are with how many of their union's jobs they can protect, how much they can increase wages, and how they can impose even more favorable work rules. In some cases, this mind-set has contributed to companies or to entire industries falling so badly behind their competition that they lose market share or fail altogether, resulting in even greater job losses." [Mitt Romney, No Apology]

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.