• Gov. Mitt Romney
Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts put his school improvement plan front and center during his Jan. 18 State of the State Address.
The Republican, who took office in 2003 and has announced he won’t seek re-election this year, testified earlier this month before a joint legislative committee on his school package, which he outlined again in his speech.
Improvement Plan: That proposal calls for cash bonuses of up to $15,000 to science and mathematics teachers, Advanced Placement teachers, and the top third of a school’s most successful teachers as judged mostly by a combination of student performance, peer evaluations, and reviews by principals.
Gov. Romney also wants to pump more money into teacher training, and to recruit 1,000 highly qualified math and science teachers as part of a new Commonwealth Teaching Corps, whose members would be eligible for $5,000 bonuses.
His plan also calls for faster intervention in failing schools and giving principals more authority in running their schools.
The governor also reiterated his proposal to give every middle and high school student a laptop computer. “Our kids won’t keep pace with the world of tomorrow if they learn with the technology of yesterday,” he said.
Parenting Classes: Citing a need to back up teachers’ efforts, Mr. Romney proposed mandatory parental-preparation classes for parents of children in failing schools. He was unable to get the Democratic-controlled legislature to back the same idea, which would provide parents with instruction on how they can support their child’s education.
“Education is a partnership between teachers and parents—teachers can’t do the job alone,” he said. “Teachers need and deserve the support of involved parents, and that will only happen if we take action.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2006 edition of Education Week