Romney's Education Plan Courts Swing Voters

It's been about a month now since Romney firmed up his nomination enough to begin the much talked-about "pivot" from a primary candidate to a general election candidate. But if there were any lingering doubts, the education platform he released yesterday clearly demonstrates his shift to the middle.

There is no hint of slashing the Department of Education or dramatically overhauling current law -- ideas he flirted with earlier in the primaries to keep pace with his right-leaning opponents. Instead, he laid out what amounts to a traditional Republican line on education: expanding school choice and shifting more power to the states from the federal government. It would also allow parents more access to information on school performance and consolidating federal teacher quality programs into block grants to states

Our Education Policy Initiative's Maggie Severns points out that more just moving to the center, Romney is also trying to boost his standing with Latino voters whose support will be crucial in swing states. It may be a tougher than he hopes though. She writes:

Romney and Obama are competing for Latino voters, a group that values education among its top voting priorities, which makes it no surprise Romney chose [the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit] as the venue for a speech on education. He was silent about one part of his record that could be off-putting to the Latino community: In 2003, Romney ended bilingual education and instituted English-only instructional programs in Massachusetts schools.

Severns also points out that "Latino voters have demonstrated strong support for pre-K programs" and Romney did not discuss early education in the speech or platform paper.

Read her entire post here for more analysis and details about Romney's education platform.

Romney photo by Larry Downing / Reuters