I did not remain glued to the screen when the debate was on last night, so when I stepped away, maybe it was then that they mentioned education and public schools.
I must have missed it.
Yes. I’m sure that was it. My guess is that they thoroughly discussed, at some point, the backbone of this nation—the preparation of our young people, our next generation, and the current state of how we are forming our country’s future.
I’m sure I just happened to miss when they seriously explored the following topics:
Common Core. I did hear Donald Trump briefly snipe at Gov. Jeb Bush about Common Core. But I must have missed when they delved into this topic more completely…whether or not Common Core State Standards are national standards usurping the power of the state and local governments. Little stuff like that.
High-Stakes Testing. Testing is such a serious issue with many parents in both parties. Surely the candidates touched upon it at least for a few minutes out of the three hours.
Vouchers. Jeb Bush did mention a Christian voucher school, but I missed any in-depth discussion about vouchers. Many Republicans likely support vouchers, but surely they discussed what their strategy is to replace public schools with them. I’m sure they are at least up front about their plans.
Charter schools. Did I miss the discussion about the call to make charter schools more transparent? Like vouchers, charter schools are embraced by many Republicans (and Democrats), but they are controversial because they are not really showing better results, and we don’t always know how they are using our tax dollars. I really wanted to hear them address this and am sorry I missed it.
Local Control of Schools. Darn. This was the topic I really wanted to hear them discuss. How to maintain local control of schools when you give the schools away to outside chain charter school operators. The Republicans I used to know always loved to discuss local control of schools, didn’t they? What did they say about the future of school boards?
College Debt. Certainly the Republican candidates mentioned college debt last night because many Republican parents, like their friends in the Democratic Party, have this problem. I am sure I missed this one. Oh! It was brought to my attention that Gov. Christie said something regarding how the poor working person could fund their child’s education. Unfortunately, since he is always snapping at teachers I usually zone out when he is speaking.
Careers and Job Outlook. How is the job outlook these days for college graduates and those looking for work who may not have attended college? Will students who graduate with a degree wind up selling coffee? I would like to hear an update on this serious issue.
Special Education. You might suppose that Republicans don’t like special education because it costs money. But what do you do with the many Republican parents who have students with disabilities? And, or students who are gifted and talented? Surely this is a topic worth discussing for at least a few minutes. I heard them edge close to it when they mentioned autism and vaccines, but it must have been another time when they discussed special education more fully—including dyslexia. I think there are a lot of Republican parents concerned about dyslexia and autism and the increasing lack of services found in their public schools.
Preschool Education. How should we handle getting our youngest off to a good start? Should we bolster Head Start or privatize services? Politicians have been talking about preschool education for years. So what’s really on the agenda? What sort of services are out there now and are they working? What kinds of programs are the most nurturing for young children? How can we especially help the poor?
Zero Tolerance. Gosh I’m sorry I missed when the candidates discussed this issue including the school-to-prison pipeline. The Ahmed Mohamed clock incident, on the news yesterday, gave them the perfect opportunity. Wouldn’t this be a Republican issue? Oops. Maybe not.
Teacher Preparation. I wonder what they said about teacher preparation. Do they really think that less is more and that they can get rid of a true teacher profession? Do they think that training teachers to control students will bring out the best in our young people? Or did they discuss replacing teachers with technology? Surely, they are at least upfront about this serious topic.
Mental Health. I did hear the candidates discuss their concerns about drug addiction and gun violence, but did they ever mention mental health programs (special education again) in our public schools?
No Child Left Behind. NCLB originally had bipartisan support. Remember when Senator Ted Kennedy stood next to President George W. Bush as he signed it into law? So what did the Republican candidates say about the arguments surrounding the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? Isn’t there controversy? Did they have any thoughts on the proposals made to change the law? This will affect our public schools for years to come, so I am sure they at least mentioned it.
Teachers’ Unions. Alright, I know the Republicans don’t like the teachers’ unions, but they must have at least said something about their good friends, Randi and Lily. Where was I when that happened? Is it their intent not to have any teachers’ unions in the future, or unions that support their privatization plans?
Education in the World. Did they mention anything about the problems around the world and educating our young people? Whew! That probably covered a whole 15 minutes that I missed at least!
So what I heard of the Republican debate last night did not include any of the most serious issues in regard to children and their schooling. But, like I said, I stepped out of the room several times and I am sure I missed it.
And I look forward to the Democratic Party discussing education issues, because surely this will be a huge topic in the upcoming Presidential debates. Surely!