Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Education

Romney’s Comments About Parents, Early Ed Raise Eyebrows

By Alyson Klein — September 28, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Earlier this week, NBC’s Brian Williams asked Mitt Romney about his plans for early childhood education. Romney didn’t spell out any new initiatives; instead, he focused on the role of parents, saying that it can be “extraordinarily important” for one parent to stay home with their child during the early years. More here.

That answer may have made folks who think the federal government should use the bully pulpit to encourage parent responsibility very happy. But it also raised some eyebrows yesterday from panelists at a New America Foundation event in Washington exploring early childhood education and the presidential campaign. Watch it here.

Lisa Guernsey, the director of the early education initiative at the New America Foundation, wondered if Romney would pair his suggestion about parents staying home with a new policy that could make it easier for moms and dads to cover expenses, such as expanding paid family leave.

And Helen Blank, who works on child care issues for the National Women’s Law Center, said that many families simply can’t make the stay-at-home option work.

“We have a huge number of children growing up in single parent families,” she said. Even if the government were able to expand paid family leave, she said, those policies usually cover no more than three months of time off.

“We need high-quality early childhood options,” she said. “I still think it’s a major need, even with middle-class families. They’re buying the kind of childcare that, if they’re honest, they’re not really happy about.”

Folks who weren’t at the forum took note of the comment, too. Kevin Carey, the director of the Education Policy program at New America, noted that it could be tough to square Romney’s ideas about stay-at-home-parents with his strong support for including a work component in welfare programs.

So what do you think? Are parents the key to successful early childhood education, or should the feds, or other government forces, play a role? And is it best if one parent can stay home during the early years?

Here’s a fuller version of Romney’s comments on early childhood education to inform your answer. And you can also check out the full transcript here:

WILLIAMS: This is our third year outing, a third year a row for this conference. Early childhood education looms large as you might imagine in this conversation every year. And you know the stats about the achievement gap. You know all that can happen or doesn't happen in a child's life before kindergarten wraps their arms around the child, summer slide is a dynamic that puts kids behind. So, as a result, kids turn 6, 7 years old, they're already falling behind. Any initiatives you would bring to early childhood education? ROMNEY: Well, let me note something which I think almost goes without saying, but I will say it nonetheless, I remember being with a group of teachers again in Boston and I said, can you predict which students will stay in school and be successful and those that will drop out? And how early can you predict that? And the teachers all began nodding their heads. And I said, well, you know, tell me what you have to say. They said, well, I don't know that I want to have this on camera. We had a camera in the room at the time. So the camera left. And one said this, if a teacher/parent night, a parent/teacher night rather, if the parents show up, then the child will be just fine. If the parents don't show up night after night of parent/teacher conferences, that kid probably won't make it through high school. The involvement of parents, and particularly where there could be two parents, is an enormous advantage for the child. So both in terms of early education and continuing throughout their career having certainly an advantage to have two parents, but even then to have one parent that stays closely involved with the education of the child and can be at home in those early years of education can be extraordinarily important. I also do believe that there are many programs that have been highly effective in early education. Right here in New York City, Geoffrey Canada has a program in Harlem that's been just remarkably successful in helping bring young people to a posture where they're ready to learn by the time school starts. And those types of efforts I think should be evaluated one by one, and we should encourage and support those that are most effective.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Education FDA: ‘Very, Very Hopeful’ COVID Shots Will Be Ready for Younger Kids This Year
Dr. Peter Marks said he is hopeful that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner.
4 min read
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Marks urged parents to be patient, saying the agency will rapidly evaluate vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds as soon as it gets the needed data.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021.
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP