During NBC's Education Nation summit this week in New York City, Mitt Romney spoke about his evolving views on class size and teacher quality. "I think we know the answer as to what it takes to fix out schools is to invest in great teachers. Teachers are the answer," Romney said.
Romney said he had previously advocated lowering class sizes, before viewing the 2007 McKinsey report on the world's best performing school systems.
The report identifies Finland, Singapore and South Korea as countries with top-performing education systems. In each of these countries teaching is seen as a high-status profession. Teachers in these systems are recruited from the best and brightest, and the starting salary for teachers is on par with starting salaries for other professions requiring a higher degree.
Romney specifically cited increasing starting salaries as a way to improve U.S. school systems, but he said if he were elected president, he would not increase federal education spending or attempt to address teacher salaries or recruitment at the federal level. Instead, his further comments focused on voucher programs and charter schools, despite evidence charter schools fail to outperform public schools on national tests.
Gretchen Krebs has taught general and special education in New York and Utah. She is passionate about finding innovative approaches to meet the needs of all students. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org