WASHINGTON - Seeking to mobilize support for the November election, Vice President Joe Bidentoday warned the nation’s public school teachers that they are “under full blown assault” from Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.
“Gov. Romney and his allies in the Congress, their plan for public education in America is to let the states use Title One dollars to boost enrollment in private schools,” Biden told a crowd of more than 15,000 delegates at the National Education Association convention in Washington.
“I’m not looking for boos,” he told the crowd, which was reacting to mention of Romney. “I think we should just have a straight honest to God talk about the difference between… how President Obamaand I view education and how our Republican colleagues today view it.”
The NEA, one of the nation’s largest public sector unions, endorsed a second Obama term one year ago and is considered a key player in Democratic organizing efforts in swing states. Membership has slumped over the past two years - down 100,000 alone since 2010, according to the group - meaning potentially fewer bodies on the ground and money for advertising. But the group’s enthusiasm for Obama appears not to have waned.
In May, Romney revealed his plan to overhaul the nation’s public education system, which would promote school choice. He would allocate federal education funds by student, allowing parents to pick where to send their child to school, including online institutions.
Romney opposes additional federal aid to states to boost jobs for teachers and first responders, and he has argued that smaller class sizes (and more teachers to run them) should not be necessarily be a policy goal. “All the talk about we need smaller classroom size … that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers,” he said at a GOP primary debate in Orlando last September.
At a campaign stop in Iowa last month, Romney criticized the Obama-Biden plan to promote teacher hiring on the state level.