Ed in the Election: Romney’s student loan plan and Obama’s improv

Mitt Romney, if elected president, would once again shake up the student-loan market, according to The Washington Times. Since March 2010, under legislation pushed by the Obama administration, private-sector banks haven’t had a role in federal loans, which now come directly from the U.S. government.

While the Obama administration says the move saves students money, Romney advisors have argued that there are problems with it.

Romney “is not interested in re-creating the previous program,” Scott Fleming, a member of Romney’s education policy group, told The Times. “He is simply looking for affordable and efficient alternatives to replace a system that relies exclusively on Treasury borrowing that leaves American taxpayers at risk for an increasing default rate.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama veered off script this week when talking about education during his address to the National Urban League Convention in New Orleans. After hitting some of his usual talking points—how his administration has invested in early childhood programs, led lots of states to change policies around teacher effectiveness, and tried to make higher education more affordable through tax breaks and expanded Pell grants—Obama introduced the “first-ever White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.”

The initiative, officially established Thursday, will create a new office dedicated to coordinating community and federal work aimed at helping African-American students get through high school and on to college and careers.

“Of course, that means all of you all have got to hit the books,” Obama said, to laughter.

“I’m just saying. Don’t cheer and then you didn’t do your homework,” he continued, to applause and more laughter. “Because that’s part of the bargain, that’s part of the bargain—America says we will give you opportunity, but you’ve got to earn your success. You’re competing against young people in Beijing and Bangalore. They’re not hanging out. They’re not getting over. They’re not playing video games. They’re not watching Real Housewives. I’m just saying. It’s a two-way street. You’ve got to earn success.”

And then, to even more laughter and applause, Obama said: “That wasn’t in my prepared remarks. But I’m just saying.”

POSTED BY ON July 27, 2012