Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is talking about education–just after a recent survey found that it’s a top issue for Latino voters. He addressed the topic Wednesday in an appearance before a meeting of the Latino Coalition at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Romney spoke broadly about education issues, rather than identifying specific challenges for Hispanic students. He declared a “national education emergency” in the speech and said many kids are getting a “Third World education.” He promoted school choice and criticized teachers unions.
“This is the civil-rights issue of our era,” his speech noted. “It’s the greatest challenge of our time.”
But he avoided talking about immigration or the Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants raised in the United States who attend college or join the military. Romney has said previously that he would veto the legislation.
The Atlantic reported that Lucia Allain, an undocumented immigrant and activist, began talking during the speech but was ushered out. “My main point was to ask him: You’re talking about dreams, the American dream, how every student deserves opportunity in this country. Why can’t I continue my dream?”
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Obama leads Romney at 71 percent to 27 percent among Latinos.
Reuters notes that some are wondering if Romney will consider softening his stance on the Dream Act and adopt a proposal from Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio’s proposal would grant visas to young people rather than provide a way to earn citizenship.