Romney's half-hearted education efforts
Monday, July 2, 2012
“Romney education record was mixed” reads the headline on today’s front-page Boston Globe story
. It’s a look at Mitt Romney
’s track record on education issues while Massachusetts governor, and the headline is probably more generous than the story, which generally pans Romney’s record from his four years in office.
Some Romney-backed policies clearly were an overhyped bust. The Adams Scholarship covers tuition at state colleges for high-performing Massachusetts students, but fees make-up 80 percent of student charges under our wacky state system. And Romney strongly supported a successful 2002 ballot question mandating English immersion for all non-native speakers, the implementation of which has been widely seen as an abysmal failure.
But in many ways the Romney report card is mixed because he advocated serious reform policies but didn’t seem serious about actually trying to get them adopted. With enough support in the Legislature, he managed to stave off an attempt to impose a moratorium on charter school growth. But much more sweeping proposals to hold teachers more accountable went nowhere. “His impact was inconsequential,” Glenn Koocher,
executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, sniffs to the Globe
’s Tracy Jan.
“People viewed his proposals as political talking points, and no one took Romney seriously.”
As the story recounts, Romney collided head-first with a Democratic Legislature and hostile teachers unions, which together formed an unshakable obstacle to his plans. Those plan were easily dismissed as the anti-labor bluster of a corporate Republican. A decade later, however, some of the same positions have become the talking points of liberal Democrats like Deval Patrick. Just days ago, Patrick signed legislation
that will elevate the role of teacher evaluations over seniority in staffing decisions.
Romney’s tenure as governor was often marked by an aloof style and seeming indifference toward others in government with whom he would need to work in order to get anything done. But it’s unfair to compare his inability to make progress on teacher reforms with the strides that are now being taken. The time is now ripe for the sort of changes Massachusetts is adopting -- and having a Democrat in the governor’s office saying so has been part of the reason. At the time Romney was in office, there was no broad-based support for such reforms.
Perhaps he was half-hearted in pushing such changes because, as the broader critique of his tenure has it, he always viewed the governor’s post as a stepping stone to be exploited on the way to a White House run. “He didn’t want to do the groundwork. He was here to look for his next job,” state Rep. Patricia Haddad
tells the Globe
But some of the school reform positions Romney supported were destined not to get much traction seven or eight years ago no matter what he did. In that way, Romney can say that at least some of the shortcomings of his education record are the mark of someone who was ahead of the curve. --MICHAEL JONAS BEACON HILL
Berkshires lawmakers put forward a revolving loan fund
proposal to repair hazardous dams, which they hope to get passed before the end of the session, the Berkshire Eagle reports.CASINOS
Caesars CEO Gary Loveman
, the pompous pitchman for a Suffolks Downs casino, tells the Globe
he foresees no competition for his company’s proposed partnership with local business moguls to capture the license designated for the Greater Boston area. MUNICIPAL MATTERS
A Scituate grandfather has launched a protest against the town’s ban on beach bonfires
for the Fourth of July
, painting patriotic slogans on the wooden pallets he had planned on burning.
Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan
, frustrated with the number of complaints he’s been getting about illegal signs posted around the city, hopped in his car and began removing some of them himself
Nine of the top 10 earners working for Bridgewater
last year were police officers, a direct result of staffing cuts that reduced the force by 25 percent
in the last decade, says the town’s police chief.
Neighbors of a toxic Attleboro
chrome-plating plant lobby
for Superfund status. ELECTION 2012 Boston.com
’s political editor Glen Johnson
and Jon Keller take a look at the Supreme Court’s health care decision
and its effect on Mitt Romney
’s campaign as well as how it will play in the Senate race. New York
something in the ruling for all sides to like. Republicans look to go on the offensive
against the country’s newest biggest tax.
Running against Bain Capital
is working out just fine
. Lake Winnipesaukee gets to know
the Secret Service. BUSINESS/ECONOMY
Forget Facebook. Two Massachusetts Internet companies are doing well
following recent IPOs.
Manufacturers in western Massachusetts are taking advantage of tax breaks
to finance expansions.
Can you resell music you buy in digital form? The question is now in federal court
, and a Massachusetts company, ReDigi
, is at the center of it.
Some financial companies are trying near-shoring
, the New York Times reports. The Washington Post
takes an in-depth look
at the flip side, offshoring.EDUCATION
Just as the UMass system
approved increases in student fees for the coming year, eight of the state’s nine public universities outside the UMass system are raising costs, with an average increase of 6 percent, reports
the Globe.HEALTH CARE
The biggest winners in the Supreme Court’s ruling
on health care may be uninsured seniors who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare
, mostly because the survival of the individual mandate that forces healthy younger people into the insurance pool will keep premiums down for the aging at-risk group.
Nonprofits and foundations that fought to maintain the health care reform now turn their attention to making the law work
, appearing yesterday on ABC’s This Week, urges the country
to accept the new health care law, which her late husband called the cause of his life, and work together toward its successful implementation. TRANSPORTATION
The MBTA fare increase
took effect yesterday, NECN reports
. Some riders mobilize
for a fare strike. The increase is hitting those who depend on The Ride particularly hard, the Globe reports
. If you have MBTA tokens
tucked away in a jar somewhere, you have until July 20
to redeem them. Meanwhile, The MetroWest Daily News
says no more bailouts
, let the adult conversation begin.
The T backs off plans to charge a $3 surcharge
for commuter rail tickets bought on board the trains, the Gloucester Times reports.
New Wonderland parking garage
opens in Revere in a bid to spur development, the Item reports
. The garage was featured in a CommonWealth report
on the state’s use of federal stimulus funds.Uber,
the app that lets you summon vehicles, is expanding its focus to hybrid taxis and even ice cream trucks in Boston, the New York Times reports.ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT
The state Department of Environmental Protection will undertake a noise study
of the new Freetown wind turbines to determine if the blades are creating problems for neighbors.CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The police chief in Washington, DC
, is changing the way crime is fought, Governing reports.
A teenage car passenger is shot in the arm on I-495, a victim of what police are calling a road rage shooting,
the Eagle-Tribune reports.MEDIA
A 22-year-old Associated Press intern
is found dead in Mexico City, the Washington Post reports.