LatinaLista — Mitt Romney is doing his best these days to keep up with President Obama in reaching out to Latino voters. Obviously, someone on his campaign realized that Latino voters can be a deciding factor in who wins the election in November.
It was announced today that Romney accepted an invitation by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) to speak at their annual conference in June — a conference that will also host President Obama.
As a warm-up before his appearance next month at the NALEO conference, Romney spoke today before The Latino Coalition at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. It was an easy topic — education. He stayed on message and didn’t mention immigration once. Yet, though he said all the right things about educating Latino children — and how wrong can you go with education — there were some things he didn’t say that should tickle concern in Latino communities.
Romney started off strong by declaring, “I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school of their choice.”
He followed it with saying that he supported keeping federally-subsidized student-loan interest rates from doubling and expanding the availability of charter schools. Yet, his campaign made it clear that he also did not support any new money for federal education programs — something he didn’t say.
While it’s great news that low-income and special needs parents will now have a choice as to where to send their children, if programs are not in place to provide extra help and support to their students what good is it?
To basically infer that all federal education programs are worthless does a disservice to those students who need that kind of attention and help to progress academically. Rather than declare no new money will be given, wouldn’t the better approach be to evaluate each program, make the necessary changes, set new goals, procedures and accountability and save what works?
If a balanced approach towards educational programs aren’t taken that the Latino community may have a bigger problem down the road with school completion rates than what it has now — and what’s a community problem is a national one.