Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has said that he would make substantial cuts to the Department of Education if elected President.
"The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I'm not going to get rid of it entirely."
In 1994 during his unsuccessful Senate race versus Ted Kennedy Romney stated that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Education and the Kennedy campaign used this comment to portray Romney as someone who doesn't care about education. This time around Romney is moderating his language and being careful not to give the same impression, although the message is broadly similar: The Department of Education is bloated and needs reduction. Romney was clear that he wasn't singling out Education and that he believed many departments needed reduction or mergers.
The Department of Education is the smallest and most recent cabinet-level department, established under President Carter in 1980 and a perennial target of Republicans who argue that the federal government has no business being involved in education at all. However many commentators are dismissing the rhetoric and noting his U-turn over the abolition of the department in the wake of the policy proving a historical roadblock to electability and proving impossible to carry out even when elected. Reagan failed to abolish the department despite trying, and President GW Bush extended its influence with the creation of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Speaking at a fundraiser Romney also promised to take a hard line with teaching unions:
He also addressed teachers unions in his overheard remarks, promising his donors that he'd stand up to them. "The unions will put in hundreds of millions of dollars" to support President Obama's campaign, Romney said. "There's nothing like it on our side."
Romney also targeted the Hispanic vote by saying that the Republican Party needed to have its own version of the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal immigrant students to apply for legal status if they had grown up in the country and graduated from high school in the US.