In a quick-paced address to the American Enterprise Institute today, Mitch Daniels showcased his wonk side and talked about the educational reforms he had succeeded in passing during Indiana’s just completed legislative session.
Daniels tried to downplay the talk, joking that “some pajama-clad blogger turned it into a major policy address.” But it was clear that if he runs for president, he can now point to an impressive education reform record.
His reforms include vouchers for low-income and lower middle class students; tying teacher pay and retention to classroom results; limiting teachers’ collective bargaining to wages and benefits (which means they can’t bargain on matters such as class size or whether teacher evaluations can exist); and making it easier for charter schools to start and expand.
With most of his talk centered on Indiana, there was little discussion of federal education policy. Daniels praised President Obama and secretary of education Arne Duncan for showing a “lot of leadership” on education in the Q & A after the talk, but added that he would have pushed things father. He said that he supports national education standards, and viewed the Department of Education as too large. “It’s like the rest of the federal budget, it’s ballooned up so much in the past two or three years,” Daniels said, suggesting that the education budget could be cut.