Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Romney Shuts Down Questioner Who Claimed Teachers Unions Are Popular: ‘I Don’t Believe It For A Second’

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romneysat down with NBC News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday at the NBC Education Nation summit in New York City. During a question and answer session, a parent and elected school board member who cited a poll which he claimed showed that the teachers union in New York City enjoyed broad popularity among parents. “I don’t believe it for a second,” Romney said, shutting down the premise of the town hall participant’s question.
During his appearance at the Education Nation event on Tuesday, Romney was asked how he would increase student choice options in schools for the majority and not just the “small minority” of NYC students who attend charter schools.
Romney replied that the state of Florida can serve as a model for the nation which allows students to choose which public schools they wish to attend.
“Fundamentally, choice is one of the ingredients of improving our schools, but the key is really the teachers in the schools we already have,” said Romney. He said that rewarding good teachers should be a priority, as well as “sometimes recognizing that the interests of the teachers unions may not be entirely coincident with the interests of the students.”
“In New York City, the parents here support the union to protect our kids, three to one, over the mayor and the chancellor,” the questioner replied. “That’s a recent poll. So, to say that the unions are holding back our kids, as a parent and as parents in polls said the opposite. They believe that, actually, the unions are fighting for our kids and that a lot of the reform has been holding back our kids and against our kids. This is not me, this is coming from a poll of parents. And the Chicago…”
“I don’t believe it for a second,” Romney said, cutting the questioner off. “I know something about polls and I know you can ask questions to get any answer you want.”
“Having looked at schools, I know that the teachers union has a responsibility to look out for the interests of the teachers,” Romney continued. “The head of the national teachers union said at one point, ‘we don’t care about kids, we care about teachers.’”
Jeb Bush stood up to the teachers unions in Florida, and that made a difference,” Romney concluded. “I also believe that Arne Duncan, by standing up for the kids, has made a difference. We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians, and then those politicians – when elected – stand across from them at the bargaining table supposedly to represent the interests of the kids. I think it’s a mistake.”
Watch the clip below via MSNBC:

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    KeevaS  8 hours ago

    Note to Mitt - I live in Florida and, while Jeb Bush might have tried to do good, the current governor - Rick Scott - has shredded the schools in the name of tax cuts and the routine denial of any federal money as long as Obama is president. Plus, the unions were not stood up to by Jeb Bush. The school boards and lobbyists were stood up to by Bush. It was a series of Democratic state attorneys rooting out the corruption in the unions. Bush also set a minimum class size, which effectively increased the cost of education. Romney interested in that?
    Oh, also, parents cannot simply "choose which public school," their kids attend. They can opt for a magnet school, which usually requires testing and a waiting list or sending their kids to a charter school, which is actually a sort of private school that receives public money on a per student basis.
    That said, Jeb did a great job here with education and most aspects of being governor. He did it by not kowtowing to the hard right and also by knowing the difference between budget cuts and punishing the poor.
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      MikeyArmstrong  6 hours ago  parent

      Jeb Bush is the one behind No Child Left Behind. He's dying to take school privatization nationally.
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        KeevaS  3 hours ago  parent

        True, but he gave that up here as governor and did a great job here. Some folks hate the FCAT (standardized testing) he introduced, but the idea is solid. The implementation has not been so good for a lot of reasons.
        Romney misses the point that there have now been 2 governors since Jeb and between them and former Florida House Speaker Rubio, they have undone most of what he did, made the test a basis for literally all funding and teacher evaluations, tried to evade the class size restriction and whacked education funding repeatedly.
        As far as school privatization, we have seen the failures here. More than one charter or private school has been caught padding the attendance and grades, not to mention the amazing level of conflict of interest.
        And the current governor (Scott) has implemented a requirement that every student have at least one online course. Needless to say, the selected provider cheated on the certified teacher requirement by having certified teachers sign off on students they never taught.
        The other point about Romney and public education is that he has zero personal experience with it. He went to all private schools as did his kids. Now, there is absolutely no problem with that, but he at least needs to point that out before he goes after public school teachers the way he has.
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          Gregory Williams  5 hours ago  parent

          So true and Rupert Murdoch is pushing it like crazy and claims that corporations are leaving $500,000,000,000.00 on the table by not forcing complete privatization of ALL schools and that they can force a TRIPLING of the money spent on education once they control it making a ONE TRILLION DOLLAR a year profit center for corporations.
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          SedanChair  21 minutes ago  parent

          Mitt doesn't believe your note for a second.
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            shonangreg  3 hours ago  parent

            KeevaS, I think you meant, "Bush also set a MAXimum class size, which effectively increased the cost of education." Setting a minimum size of 25 students would mean all classes had to have 25 OR MORE students. That would lower the cost of education but make it less effective.
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            Repubtallygirl  7 hours ago  parent

            He added a billion dollars last year to education, how is that 'shredding'?
            The Democrat union teachers union boss in Miami just got indicted for embezzlement. and its his fault? Please.
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              Esteban Rey  7 hours ago  parent

              The evidence I see suggests that you are lying. Where are you pulling this billion dollar figure from?
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              KeevaS  7 hours ago  parent

              He only added the billion dollars back after he cut $1.3 billion the prior year. That is shredding. The massive cuts the first year caused huge problems and Scott only added it back for PR reasons. He also redid the state's standard tests and when the scores were too low he lowered the curve.
              The union official is indeed in jail. I never implied or mentioned that this was Scott's fault. What I said was it was a Dem prosecutor that charged him. I Never blamed Scott for union corruption.
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            47Percent  8 hours ago

            Romney has a history of being extremely rude to people that he thinks are beneath him, i.e., most of America. Of course he is talking out of both sides of his mouth, he says he wants to treat teachers like professionals but doesn't want to give them any bargaining rights to ensure that they earn a living wage.
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              sanford1941  7 hours ago

              This poor guy just doesn't know how to keep himself out of trouble. He makes some valid points but just makes himself look like a fool in the process. How can he criticize unions contributing to politicians when all politicians campaigns are based on taking money from industries that expect favors in return.
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                valkyrie101  7 hours ago  parent

                Yep. But Mitt himself is not too savvy. He says what his base wants to hear. Indeed, Mitt is determined to lock up that 40% of his base - even if it means alienating the other 60%.
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              SourceCode  8 hours ago

              Unions are what give employees power. Mitt Romney is an employer - of course unions aren't popular with the people he knows. The people he knows are the damn slave keepers. They think their slaves are content because they put them in a position where if they spoke out their livelihood would be at risk.
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                Clovis4  7 hours ago

                The teachers unions in this country have done a pretty good job of proving kids do not come first, and the politicians who support them go along for the ride. I am all for people
                trying to unionize in the private sector, businesses can deal with that as they see fit, but public unions should not be in place. When a legislator has no accountability when
                they make huge tax giveaways to unions, and the teachers unions are the biggest
                pigs, and can only gain in campaign funds, the tax payer gets left with the tab. When a union contract in negotiated between a private company and union, the company has an obligation to protect its viability and ability to stay in business, there is not such obligation for politicians. Their obligation is only to their political survival, and they are actually rewarded for giving the unions what they want.
                I realize this is not something many of my more progressive friends don't agree with, but time and again the system has not only failed the children, but also any test in fiduciary responsibility on the politician’s part.
                California is the wh%^& and john poster child of politicians and public unions. The fact
                that they forecasted the DOW to be at 25,000, and left the tax payer on the hook in the event their asinine forecast was wrong, is a prime example of this corruption. Why these legislators have not been charged with a conspiracy to defraud the state is sickening.
                “When CalPERS pitched that idea in ’99, Crane noted, it never noted that the state would be responsible for any shortfall in investment returns, that its assumed investment returns required “the Dow Jones to reach roughly 25,000 by 2009 and 28,000,0000 by 2099,” that the state had no cap on potential taxpayer liabilities, that its own employees would directly benefit from the pension increases, and that CalPERS’ board members “had received campaign contributions from beneficiaries of the legislation.”
                “Union representatives insisted over and again that any pension matters should be handled at the negotiating table, even though such negotiations have resulted in the current fiscal train wreck. Unions are at their strongest at the bargaining table, especially when we considers that the government staff who supposedly represent the taxpayers also benefit from any gains the unions achieve, which in part explains such little resistance to the retroactive “3 percent at 50” deals approved in 1999 that have put California in its current bind. That formula allows public safety employees – police, fire, prison guards, etc. – to retire at age 50 with 90 percent of their final year’s pay guaranteed for their lives and the lives of their spouses. That percentage goes even high when various pension-spiking gimmicks are included.”
                And BTW, Waiting for Superman is a movie that people should watch if they are interested in this issue.
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                  wygit  7 hours ago

                  Romney continued. “The head of the national teachers union said at one point, ‘we don’t care about kids, we care about teachers.’”
                  Does this guy do ANYTHING except blatantly lie?
                  The actual quote was, in answering why the NEA is effective representing teachers,
                  "It is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them."
                  And then FOX and Rush started blathering at the top of their lungs, "THEY SAID WE DON'T CARE ABOUT KIDS!"
                  And now Romney's repeating it.
                  Of course.
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                  Cindy Nowicki  7 hours ago  parent

                  I suggest you look at the special John Stossel did on the US education system, teachers, unions, etc.. In the video, the head of the teachers union said exactly what Romney stated was the remark. It's quite lengthy, but very enlightening!
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                    Gregory Williams  7 hours ago  parent

                    Stossel is an extreme conservative who has had to admit he faked a story to support a conservative POV and that FOX helped him to do one of his fake stories.
                    Your a continuous source of partisan stupidity and the fact you cite a man who is a known LIAR is proof that you do not EVER have an honest moment.
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                      Cindy Nowicki  6 hours ago  parent

                      Stossel IS a Libertarian who openly stated he is voting for Gary Johnson. Why don't you watch/listen to the video before condemning it!
                      He interviewed Michelle Rhee (Waiting For Superman) as well as teachers unions and principals. Words out of their mouths, NOT Stossel's!
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                        Gregory Williams  6 hours ago  parent

                        Cindy Nowicki: Rhee is a nut-bag partisan with crazy ass nice sounding theories that real experts have rejected because they do not work and they are nothing more than Union Busting in nature and do not actually improve educational results and harm the actual process of education in the class room, WHY do you think conservatives think she is some kind of hero? because she is one of them and that is all that matters to them and the fact that she is given any AIR on this issue is a sad commentary on what conservative priorities are.
                        Stossel fakes stories to fit conservative ONLY POVs and is what a partisan hack is defined as and that makes HIM a popular LIAR that the GOP and conservatives go to for their stupid lies and partisan fabrications.
                        Libertarians are useful fools that the GOP uses to win elections in spite of the fact that the GOP is against everything that REAL libertarians espouse and want. Gary Johnson was rejected by his own party so he went off in a huff and got a following in the Libertarians who have yet to support their own candidates and keep going to vote for republicans over libertarians.
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                    lede3957  3 hours ago  parent

                    Are you a teacher? Do you have a relationship with anyone who is a teacher? John Stossel does have a tendency to slant/embelish facts. Furthermore, he works for Fox News.....many to most of the folk who work for Fox News tend to not speak the truth or certainly to spin the truth.
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                    Debi Starks  7 hours ago  parent

                    That's exactly what he said... it's called paraphrasing. I heard it when the head of the NEA said it and my jaw dropped. This was during the time we kept hearing how protests were "for the children". If you think his rant was not a freudian slip & that it is not about power & money, you are a hideous fool.
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                      Susan Cregg  7 hours ago  parent

                      Paraphrasing is when you get the meaning of what the person said but put it in fewer words. Here the meaning in fewer words was "the reason the union has the power to make these demands is because teachers are willing to join us and trust us to effectively represent their interest."
                      Romney, on the other hand, is an expert in selective quotation. For example, when he ran an ad quoting Obama as saying "We can't win if we keep talking about the economy", when the actual quote was "John McCain's campaign said that 'we can't win if we keep talking about the economy.' They actually said that!" Notice the difference. Choosing particular words that sound bad out of context, but which ignore the entire meaning.
                      Then there is Faux news, which not only selectively quotes, but then changes the words of the selective quotation to make it sound like something it isn't. Selectively taking the words "It's not because we care about children." (where the "it's clearly refers to "the reason we have power is not because we care about children"), and then changing those words to make it sound like a stand alone statement-"we don't care about children". Something that was not only never said, but never implied. Romney then went and quoted the Faux news distortion. Whether he knew the true quote or not is up for debate, but given Faux's admitted propensity to do these distortions, he should have fact-checked.
                      If the Faux news "quotation" standard is going to be the new standard then we can really claim that just about anyone said just about anything. Search hard enough and you can always find some sentence that when manipulated and taking out of context sounds terribly damning. And as long as viewers are willing to believe that such manipulations are merely "paraphrasing", then the idea that news should be factual and politicians should be truthful goes straight out the window.
                      PS-"fraudian" slip, by definition, refers to a statement that is non-sexual where a word or phrase is misstated to give sexual innuendos, thus giving the listener inadvertent insight into the speaker's Id. Please get an education before using phrases you don't understand.

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