Santorum Questions Education System; Criticizes Obama, NYT, 2/18/12

posted Feb 19, 2012, 4:38 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Feb 19, 2012, 4:44 AM ]

New Hampshire's voucher sponsors are, intentionally or not, part of a coordinated national effort to dismantle the American public school system.  Presidential candidate Rick Santorum brought it to the surface more clearly that any other politician so far in a speech in Columbus, OH, reported by the New York Times.  Here is an excerpt (follow the link above for the full article)

.....But it was the latest in a series of comments by the former Pennsylvania senator — who is tied in polls in the critical Ohio and Michigan primary contests — suggesting that he takes a dim view of public schooling. He and his wife home-schooled their children.

For the first 150 years, most presidents home-schooled their children at the White House, he said. “Where did they come up that public education and bigger education bureaucracies was the rule in America? Parents educated their children, because it’s their responsibility to educate their children.”

“Yes the government can help,” Mr. Santorum added. “But the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home-school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories, so we built equal factories called public schools. And while those factories as we all know in Ohio and Pennsylvania have fundamentally changed, the factory school has not.”

Historically, state and local governments have been responsible for public schooling. According to the Department of Education, the federal government contributes almost 11 percent of the cost of elementary and secondary education, financing intended to compel districts to enforce standards to help disadvantaged children and ensure students with disabilities receive equal education. This year, Republican candidates have called for a cutback in this formula, which has had bipartisan support for decades, saying they would give block grants to states and local districts while repealing federal requirements.

A spokesman for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, Ben LaBolt, said that while the administration “has fought to strengthen our public schools and expand access to higher education, the Republican candidates are set on gutting education financing, and even, in Senator Santorum’s case, threatening to dismantle them outright.”