From Investors Business Daily.
Romney knew he’d be booed when he said he’d get rid of ObamaCare, the job- and growth-killing behemoth that is the fruition of the cradle-to-grave nanny state on which many people have become increasingly dependent. He knew his accurate description of minority joblessness in this third recovery summer wouldn’t bring applause. He told the truth anyway, even if it didn’t get him one more black vote, and even if the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People attendees, for whom advancement has been replaced by dependence, couldn’t handle the truth.
“In June,” said Romney, “the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2%” — but the rate for blacks “actually went up, from 13.6% to 14.4%.”
He noted that black students account for 17% of students nationwide, with 42% of those trapped in failing schools. He spoke of “neighborhoods filled with violence and fear (and) empty of opportunity.”
And on a matter that separates most black church leaders from Obama, he pledged to defend traditional marriage as the president embraces the gay version.
Romney’s speech didn’t pander to anybody.
Nor was it demeaning or insensitive to his audience. He merely pointed out that Obama’s philosophy of dependence on government was not the answer to their need for jobs, education and stable communities.
“The president will say he will do those things, but he will not, he cannot, and his record of the last four years proves it,” Romney told the dubious crowd, adding: “If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you’re looking at him.”
Here’s an excerpt from the full text:
Finally, I will address the institutionalized inequality in our education system. And I know something about this from my time as governor.
In the years before I took office our state’s leaders had come together to pass bipartisan measures that were making a difference. In reading and in math, our students were already among the best in the nation — and during my term, they took over the top spot.
Those results revealed what good teachers can do if the system will only let them. The problem was, this success wasn’t shared. A significant achievement gap between students of different races remained. So we set out to close it.
I urged faster interventions in failing schools, and the funding to go along with it. I promoted math and science excellence in schools, and proposed paying bonuses to our best teachers.
I refused to weaken testing standards, and instead raised them. To graduate from high school, students had to pass an exam in math and English — I added a science requirement as well. And I put in place a merit scholarship for those students who excelled: the top 25 percent of students in each high school were awarded a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship — which meant four years tuition-free at any Massachusetts public institution of higher learning.
When I was governor, not only did test scores improve — we also narrowed the achievement gap.
The teachers unions were not happy with a number of these reforms. They especially did not like our emphasis on choice through charter schools, particularly for our inner city kids. Accordingly, the legislature passed a moratorium on any new charter schools.
As you know, in Boston, in Harlem, in Los Angeles, and all across the country, charter schools are giving children a chance, children that otherwise could be locked in failing schools. I was inspired just a few weeks ago by the students in one of Kenny Gamble’s charter schools in Philadelphia. Right here in Houston is another success story: the Knowledge Is Power Program, which has set the standard, thanks to the groundbreaking work of the late Harriet Ball.
These charter schools are doing a lot more than closing the achievement gap. They are bringing hope and opportunity to places where for years there has been none.
Charter schools are so successful that almost every politician can find something good to say about them. But, as we saw in Massachusetts, true reform requires more than talk. As Governor, I vetoed the bill blocking charter schools. But our legislature was 87 percent Democrat, and my veto could have been easily over-ridden. So I joined with the Black Legislative Caucus, and their votes helped preserve my veto, which meant that new charter schools, including some in urban neighborhoods, would be opened.
When it comes to education reform, candidates cannot have it both ways — talking up education reform, while indulging the same groups that are blocking reform. You can be the voice of disadvantaged public-school students, or you can be the protector of special interests like the teachers unions, but you can’t be both. I have made my choice: As president, I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won’t let any special interest get in the way.
I think he is right to emphasize the marriage issue, because 1300 black pastors recently expressed grave misgivings about Obama due to his support for gay marriage.