"I also believe parents who are teaching their kids at home, home-schoolers, deserve a break, and I've asked for a tax credit to help parents in their homes with the cost of being an at-home teacher," he said.
Mr. Romney supports giving parents more educational options, through charter schools or vouchers, but he said legislation should be done on a state level.
"I really hesitate to have the federal government become too involved in local schools," he said.
Mr. Romney also said teachers are underpaid, and better teachers should be rewarded with more money.
"I'd like to see there be a relationship between the pay of the teacher and their performance, their career track, their ability to mentor other students," Mr. Romney told more than 100 people at a children's museum in this early voting state. "We need to treat teachers like the professionals they are and not like people manufacturing widgets on an assembly line."
Mr. Romney downplayed the news that rival Rudy Giuliani had won the endorsement of televangelist Pat Robertson, touting his own endorsement from conservative leader Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones University chancellor Bob Jones III instead. The Christian fundamentalist school is located in conservative northwest South Carolina.
"I can't get all the social conservatives to endorse my candidacy," Mr. Romney said. "I'm really pleased with the support I've got. The people who have the ultimate say are the voters."