Transcript: Republican National Convention platform statement on health, education & crime
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of Republican National Convention platform statement by Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction and Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Health, Education & Crime, on Aug. 21, 2012:
“We believe the American family is the foundation of our society and has been since the birth of our country.
“And we affirm our belief that government can never replace the family. That is why we insist that public policy be formulated with attention to the needs and strengths of the family and society.
“We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone even as we believe that marriage – the union of one man and one woman – must be upheld as a national standard.
“We believe that taking care of one’s health is an individual responsibility and that consumer choice is the most powerful factor in health care reform.
“We boldly state that Obamacare was never really about health care from the start; it was about power – the expansion of government control over one-sixth of our economy. So we enthusiastically embrace Mitt Romney’s commitment that on his first day in office, he will use his legitimate waiver authority under the law to halt its progress and then sign its repeal. Then the American people through its representatives can advance affordable and responsible health care reform that truly meets the needs and concerns of parents and providers.
“We believe a world-class education is essential to pursuing and attaining the American dream.
“We state clearly that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children and that parents are far better in determining the educational need of their children than any bureaucrat.
“Understanding that without choice in education, we will never truly have accountability in education. We therefore support home schooling, charter schools, open enrollment, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical ed programs, vouchers and/or tax credits.
“And we deplore the efforts by congressional Democrats and President [Barack] Obama to kill the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ union.
“We believe that a child’s ability to achieve in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not their zip code or economic status.
“And we believe that education is primarily a state and local issue and that federal overreach is a hindrance to innovation and improvement in student achievement.
“In this document, we also support the innovative education reform occurring across the country in many states, and we support the efforts around the country to expand the use of technology to better engage and teach 21st century learners and assure that all children have equal access and opportunity.
“In this document, we applaud America’s great teachers and believe that teachers are not the problem; they are the solution. Studies have shown that once a child enters a school, the most important factor in the child’s academic success is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. It’s not how much you spend or the number of students in the classroom – those are important – but by far the most important factor is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Therefore we believe that every child must have a highly effective teacher every year in every classroom. And so we call on removing the barriers to financially rewarding our great teachers through merit pay or pay for performance and we call on removing the barriers to dealing with ineffective through tenure reform and removing the archaic practice of last-hired-first-fired policies.
“In the world we live in today, we recognize that education beyond high school is essential. However, the cost of post-secondary education and federal aid is on an unsustainable trajectory and that student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt. And considering the fact that 50% of college graduates – recent college graduates are unemployed or under-employed, we call on policies to advance the affordability, innovation, and transparency needed to address these challenges.
“And last but certainly not least, we state that as Americans we will never be fully free to pursue the American dream without first being free from fear and intimidation from the effects of crime in our neighborhoods. In this document, we address the challenges and the solutions to obtaining safe neighborhoods built upon the principles of strong families and caring communities supported by excellent law enforcement.”