On the same day we learned that voters in Utah decisively shot down the nation’s first universal private-school voucher program, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney—who has significant ties to the state—reiterated today that he will promote school choice as part of his education agenda.
So where was Romney during the voucher fight in Utah? He pretty much kept quiet, despite pleas from voucher advocates to lend his political capital to the fight. Perhaps he saw the polls, which consistently indicated vouchers as a losing issue in Utah. Or, maybe he was busy in early primary states, such as South Carolina and New Hampshire.
Yet school choice, including vouchers and charter schools, has a prominent role in his education agenda. Today in South Carolina he discussed that agenda, which also includes other hot-button issues, such as merit-pay for teachers, tax credits for home-schooling families, and changing the No Child Left Behind Act to focus more on individual student progress rather than school progress.