On Wednesday, the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney delivered a speech at the Latino Coalition’s 2012 Small Business Summit Luncheon and didn’t mention the word immigration once but he did manage to talk explicitly about the failure of many U.S. schools with students of color. But while some have celebrated Romney for addressing the issue explicitly his comments are part of a larger movement to privatize schools.

“Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America’s minority children suffer the most. This is the civil-rights issue of our era. It’s the great challenge of our time,” Romney said in front of The Latino Coalition, a pro-business group led by President George W. Bush’s Small Business Administrator.

“As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it,” Romney went on to say about his controversial plans.

As the New York Times points out, when Romney called U.S. failing schools the “civil rights issue of our era’ he was echoing a mantra of the charter school movement.

Colorlines.com’s education reporter Julianne Hing has covered the issue extensively in her education reform series that explores how parent empowerment is being used to privatize public schools.

Last month the Wall Street Journal quoted Romney saying he actually has big cuts in mind for education:

On Sunday, Mr. Romney said he would look to the education department and HUD for potential cuts. “That might not be around later,” Mr. Romney said of HUD.

Mr. Romney said he would either consolidate the education department with another agency or make it “a heck of a lot smaller.” “I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” he said.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino voters released Wednesday found Obama holds a 34-point lead over Romney, 61 percent to 27 percent.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/05/mitt_romney_schools_failing_students_of_color_is_the_civil_rights_issue_of_our_era.html

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