Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s top education adviser, Rod Paige, gave an interview to The Root this week. A former Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, Paige talked about the role of the federal government in education, school choice and teachers unions, but made it clear that he was not speaking for the campaign.
“I think that the teacher unions represent one of the most damaging burdens on reform initiatives to improve schools,” Paige told The Root. “There’s an important role for teachers unions, but they have grown to a point where they are too powerful. And that is a detriment to school reform. School reform is not going to happen, because they are not going to support anything that significantly changes the status quo. They are only going to support the marginal issues.”
In a week full of Supreme Court decisions, education was once again largely overlooked on the campaign trail. But that doesn’t mean schools won’t be affected by news from Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature legislation mandating all citizens get healthcare coverage or pay a fine, could be connected to educational outcomes, suggests an Education Week blog post that cites several studies.
Romney has vowed to repeal the healthcare law should he be elected.
Also this week, Congress reached an agreement to prevent the doubling of interest rates on student loans, from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. Both Romney and Obama have been vocal about the need to freeze those interest rates. The compromise is included in a transportation bill expected to pass both houses easily.
While interest rates would stay the same, limitations would be placed on how long students are eligible for subsidized loans—up to six years in a four-year degree program, or three years in a two-year program. Right now, eligibility is not based on how many years a student has been enrolled in a program.