Fact Check: Obama Ad Slams Romney's Education Plan

By Steve Kanigher

Published 09/25 2012 05:45PM

Updated 09/26 2012 11:41AM

Claim: An advertisement endorsed by President Barack Obama that is airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 begins with a husband, accompanied by his wife, who says: "Some of our children's greatest experiences have been in the smaller classrooms." Narrator: "But Mitt Romney says class sizes don't matter. And he supports Paul Ryan's budget, which could cut education by 20 percent." Husband: "You can't do this by shoving 30, 35 people in a class, just teaching to some test." Wife: "These are all issues that really he personally cannot relate to, to be able to afford an education, to want the very best public education system for your children."

Verdict: Partly true and partly misleading. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was quoted by The Washington Times on May 24 as telling teachers at a Philadelphia area charter school that experience taught him a good education isn't necessarily tied to class size, but rather to strong teachers, parental involvement and sound administrators. Reuters wrote on Aug. 18 that the federal budget proposed by Romney vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan, which passed the Republican-led House in March without Democratic support, called for reductions of roughly 20 percent in non-defense discretionary spending. Education is included in that category. But the ad makes a snap judgment about what Romney "personally cannot relate to" and leaves viewers with the impression that his only plan is to cut education spending and support large class sizes. Romney's plan, according to his campaign website, includes allowing low-income and special needs students to attend the school of their choice, building on the success of charter and digital schools, and giving states incentives to increase education choices for parents. He also proposes giving parents public report cards on their children's schools and empowering them to hold school districts and states responsible for the results. Romney also said he would attract and reward great teachers through increased flexibility and block grants, and eliminate "unnecessary certification requirements that discourage new teachers."

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