Romney's Visit to Black Charter School a Flop

Getty Images
Getty Images

Mitt Romney visited an inner-city charter school in Philadelphia on Thursday to promote his new education agenda, venturing for the first time in his campaign into an impoverished black neighborhood to hear the concerns of local educators and community leaders.


But according to the Washington Post's coverage of the event — in which he focused on the importance of two-parent households, disagreed with everyone about the value of small class sizes and tapped his foot while kids performed to Kirk Franklin —  it seems to have been awkward at best, and a total flop at worst.

From the Washington Post:

Romney arrived at Universal Bluford Charter School aboard his logo-emblazoned campaign bus and began his morning visit by meeting school and civic leaders at a formal roundtable session. “I come to learn, obviously, from people who are having experiences that are unique and instructive,” he said …

He opted for a charter school that’s run by a Philadelphia-based non-profit and took over a troubled public school. But the charter school is on warning from the state because it hasn’t made academic progress in the first two years of its existence.

Meeting with a group of black education leaders and charter school administrators, Romney touted a three-prong approach to achieving better educational outcomes for disadvantaged students: better teachers, better administrators and two-parent homes.

Romney’s discussion of a two-parent home wasn’t something he emphasized when he spoke on Wednesday in Washington D.C. about his education platform. But it was a common theme on Thursday during his roundtable discussion …

But the venue didn’t offer the friendliest of receptions for the presumptive GOP nominee …


Outside, meanwhile, some brick row houses across from the school were boarded up. Police had cordoned off a full city block to protect Romney and his entourage …

Inside the school, Romney debated issues with educators and tried to connect with the students. When he visited a classroom where the kids in the elementary school choir were standing, swaying and clapping to the beat of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile,” Romney appeared charmed but did not dance with them. Rather, he tapped one of his toes slightly and bobbed his head, but did not catch the rhythm …


“You just sang a song about smiling,” Romney told the kids. “You’re all smiling right? Smile! Oh, that’s great.”

Read more at the Washington Post.