Mitt Romney announces education policy team

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Mitt Romney on Tuesday announced an extensive list of education policy advisers, further adding to the growing roster of voices helping the presumptive Republican presidential nominee flesh out his policies on major national issues.

The policy group includes several top officials from the administration of President George W. Bush, including former education secretary Rod Paige. It also includes several who advised Romney while he was Massachusetts governor, including Robert Costrell and Jim Peyser.

“I am proud to announce the support of this impressive group of policy leaders who are devoted to expanding educational opportunities for students,” Romney said in a statement. “Our education system is failing too many of our kids, and I look forward to working closely with these leaders to chart a new course that emphasizes school choice and accountability, the importance of great teachers, and access to quality, affordable higher education.”

Peyser, who also advised Romney predecessors William F. Weld and Jane Swift, was involved in several key decisions in Massachusetts education reform, including the birth of charter schools and keeping support intact for the MCAS graduation requirement for high school students. He left his post with Romney fairly early in his four-year term to become a partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that gives money to projects aimed at improving public education, including charter schools.

“It is an honor to work with Governor Romney and his team to help develop innovative solutions to our nation’s education challenges,” said Nina Rees, a group co-chair for K-12 education. “He established an extraordinary track record of results during his time as governor of Massachusetts, and I am confident that with his leadership and his focus on achievement we can ensure that all students have access to the education they deserve.”

Romney has not made education a core part of his campaign, mentioning struggles that students may have finding jobs or paying off college loans but rarely wading into education policy. But that could change with the announcmenet of his new team of advisers.

Here’s the complete list, as announced by the Romney campaign:


K-12 education co-chairs

* Nina S. Rees: senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Knowledge Universe; Assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement at the US Department of Education (2002-06).

* Dr. Martin R. West: assistant professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; executive editor, Education Next.


Higher education co-chairs

* Phil Handy: chief executive officer of Strategic Industries; chairman of the Florida State Board of Education (2001-07); twice appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Board of Education Sciences, served as vice chairman; member of the Florida Governor’s Council of 100 (1987-present), Board of Directors, and Chair, preK-14 Education Committee; Director, Foundation for Educational Excellence.

* Bill Hansen: chairman and CEO of Madison Education Group; chairman and president of Scantron/Global Scholar (2009-11); deputy secretary of education (2001-03); president of the Education Finance Council (1993-2001); assistant secretary of education for management and budget and CFO (1991-92); serves on numerous corporate, university, and philanthropic boards.


Workforce training co-chairs

*  Carol D’Amico: vice president of Project Lead the Way; assistant secretary for vocational and adult education at the US Department of Education (2001); chair of National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity (2004-07); board member, Institute for Education Sciences (2003-07); director, Center on Workforce Development, Hudson Institute, and co-author of Workforce 2020, Published Hudson Institute (1997); executive vice president, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (2004-07).

* Emily Stover DeRocco: president of the Washington, D.C.-based Manufacturing Institute (2008-present); assistant secretary for employment and training at the US Department of Labor (2001-08); senior advisor to secretaries of energy and the interior (1981-88); holds two eUniversity Board of Trustees positions.


Special Advisor

Rod Paige: US secretary of education (2001-05); dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University, established the university’s Center for Excellence in Urban Education; superintendent of the Houston Independent School District; 2001 National Superintendent of the Year; public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.



* John Bailey: White House Domestic Policy Council; deputy policy director to the secretary of commerce; director of educational technology for the US Department of Education; currently works with education entrepreneurs, philanthropies, and private sector investors.

*  Robert M. Costrell: professor of education reform and economics, endowed chair in education accountability, University of Arkansas; chief economist, Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2003-06); education adviser to Governor Mitt Romney (2005-06).

* Christina Culver: president of CH Global Strategies; acting assistant eecretary and deputy assistant secretary of intergovernmental and interagency affairs at the US Department of Education (2003-06); co-author, “Virtual Schooling: a Guide to Optimizing Your Child’s Education.”

* John E. Chubb: interim chief executive officer, Education Sector; distinguished visiting fellow, Hoover Institution.

* Bill Evers: research fellow, Hoover Institution; assistant secretary for policy at the US Department of Education (2007-09); senior adviser for education, Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq (2003); National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board (2001-02).

* Scott Fleming: president and vice chairman of Madison Education Group; former senior vice president at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Scantron; senior education policy advisor and professional staff to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (2002-06).

* Julio A. Fuentes: president and CEO of Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (Hispanic CREO). Hispanic CREO’s mission is to improve educational outcomes for Hispanic children by empowering families through parental choice in education.

* Tom Luna: Idaho superintendent of public instruction (2007-present); president of Council of Chief State School Officers (2011-present); senior adviser to US Secretary of Education Rod Paige (2003-05); chair of Idaho’s Assessment and Accountability Commission (2000-02); chair of Nampa School Board (1997-2000).

* Paul E. Peterson: Henry Lee Shattuck professor of government, Harvard University; senior fellow, Hoover Institution; editor-in-chief, Education Next; member, Independent Review Panel, No Child Left Behind, US Department of Education (2002-06).

* Jim Peyser: managing partner with New Schools Venture Fund and chairman of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers; former chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education (1996-2003); former executive director of Pioneer Institute (1993-2000).

*  Herbert Walberg: distinguished visiting fellow, Hoover Institution.

*  Grover (Russ) Whitehurst: senior fellow and director of the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy; director of the US Institute of Education Sciences (2002-08); assistant secretary for educational research and improvement at the US Department of Education (2001-02); board of directors of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2004-07).