Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna was not abandoning his support of local control with his criticism of President Obama's failure to "speak out" against the strike by Chicago public school teachers, his spokeswoman says.
Rather, says Melissa McGrath, Luna is urging to President Obama "to make his support for Chicago's students and for education reform as a whole known across the country."
Late Monday, the Mitt Romney presidential campaign issued a statement from Luna, who advises Romney on education issues.
Said Luna: “President Obama’s refusal to speak out against the teachers union strike in Chicago represents an abdication of leadership. The President frequently talks about the need for education reform which will give every child the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century and a chance at the American Dream. But his silence inhibits those very things and yields to the whims of special interests at the cost of students. We need a president who will stand up for the students of Chicago and across the country. Mitt Romney will not put politics over principle. He will lead.”
After I wrote about Luna's statement here Tuesday, almost three dozen comments were posted, including several raising questions about Luna's consistency on local control.
Wrote CoolHandLuke: "I guess Luna thinks the President should be taking a stance on every state/local issue? I thought Republicans didn't like federal intervention on state and local issues?"
Late Tuesday, I asked McGrath whether Luna supported presidential involvement in labor disputes in school districts across the country. Her reply came after close of business. Here it is in full:
"Superintendent Luna is a proponent of local control. He is not advocating for the President to step in and intervene in a local issue but for the President to make his support for Chicago's students and for education reform as a whole known across the country. Instead, the President has remained silent. The strike in Chicago shows that it doesn't matter whether you go to Illinois, Wisconsin or Idaho. It's clear there is one opponent to education reform and that's the leaders of the teachers' union. In the past, President Obama has expressed support for education reform across the country and actually incentivized states and districts to implement reform but now he remains silent as states and districts battle to implement this reform."
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