Claim: A new advertisement endorsed by President Barack Obama that is airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 quotes Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as saying: "We all like school teachers. It's a wonderful thing. But hiring school teachers is not going to raise the growth of the U.S. economy." Narrator: "Mitt Romney on education." Romney: "All the talk about we need smaller classroom size. Look, that's promoted by the teachers' unions to hire more teachers."
Verdict: The ad is yet another example of both campaigns quoting their opponents out of context through selective editing. The first Romney quote was taken from an Oct. 9 meeting he had with the Des Moines Register editorial board. The context was Romney's objection over what he said was Obama's plan to pursue a second economic stimulus package. Romney said another stimulus would result in money going overwhelmingly to government but wouldn't help Iowa farms create more jobs. Then he said: "He wants to hire more school teachers. We all like school teachers. It's a wonderful thing. Typically, school teachers are hired by states and localities, not by the federal government. But hiring school teachers is not going to raise the growth of the U.S. economy over the next three to four years." Taken in this context, Romney is not saying he's against hiring more teachers. He just believes that role should be left to states and localities, not the federal government.
The second Romney quote came from the Republican presidential candidates' debate on Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. The candidates responded to a question about how they would improve education. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, called for getting the federal government out of education and remarked on class size and the teachers' unions. He then said: "We looked at what drives good education in our state. What we found is the best thing for education is great teachers. Hire the very best and brightest of these teachers, pay them properly, make sure you have school choice, test your kids to see if they're meeting the standards that need to be met, and make sure that you put the parents in charge. And as president I'll stand up to the national teachers' unions." Taken in this context, Romney explained why he doesn't believe smaller classroom size is the best option available to improve education.