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Senate Hopeful Mitt Romney May Not Love Trump, But He’s Backed Up Betsy DeVos

By Andrew Ujifusa — February 16, 2018 1 min read

Mitt Romney has announced he’s running for the Utah Senate seat that will open up when GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch retires at the start of 2019. The 2012 Republican presidential nominee and ex-Massachusetts governor has said and done plenty when it comes to K-12. Need a refresher on his record? Here you go.

• Maybe the most relevant recent action Romney has taken in education is publicly expressing support for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. In an op-ed last January before DeVos’ confirmation hearing, Romney wrote: “Her key qualification is that she cares deeply about our children and will do everything in her power to offer them a brighter future.” He also cited her work at the American Federation for Children and other organizations in support of school choice.

We didn’t see Romney weigh in on DeVos’ controversial confirmation hearing, which took place after he wrote that op-ed. But his other reasons for supporting DeVos haven’t been rendered obsolete by events over the past year.

• Otherwise, Romney has long been a fan of market-driven and traditional conservative approaches to education policy. During the 2012 presidential campaign, for example, he pitched turning federal funding for low-income and special education students into vouchers they could take to the public and private schools of their choice. (President Donald Trump later floated something similar.) He also proposed expanding the Opportunity Scholarship program in the District of Columbia.

• As governor of Massachusetts, Romney championed tough academic standards, and pushed for the state to adopt a new test in science for accountability purposes. He also pushed for the state to be measured on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) alongside other countries—Massachusetts ended up looking relatively good. And he defended the Bay State’s high school exit exam. He also supported teacher merit pay and tying teacher evaluations in part to test scores.

• And remember when the Common Core State Standards were an issue in the 2012 presidential race? Back then, Romney said there shouldn’t be any federal support for it.

Photo: Mitt Romney speaks at the NBC Education Nation Summit in New York in 2012 during his presidential campaign. (Evan Vucci/AP)


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