Last night during the democratic debate, like always, there was no mention of K-12 education, so why did Sen. Bernie Sanders win the debate as the education candidate?
It’s simple. Sen. Sanders’ argument against the power and influence of big corporations has huge implications in regard to public schools.
It would be nice if he spoke more about K-12, but how could Sen. Sanders use such anti-corporate rhetoric for the basis of his campaign and not realize how corporations currently influence public schools?
Consider Teach for America, which, on their 25th anniversary is being excitedly praised at Education Week. This is the same news source for educators that receives grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
TFA has chipped away at the real teaching profession for years–since politicians and some corporate leaders decided public schools would be better run like a business. They create a group of faux teachers pitted against career teachers who get honest teaching degrees.
TFA recruits enter the classroom ill-prepared, receive the lowest teacher salary available, and usually leave teaching after 2-3 years—when the dream job they originally prepared for becomes available.
They rarely get higher salaries because they don’t teach long enough, and they work with the poorest of children, although they appear to be aiming for control of all teaching positions.
Or, TFA recruits leave the classroom and go into education administration where they are treated like heroes, even though they know little about education.
Though many of these young people are well-meaning, the organization itself has done a lot of harm to the teaching profession, and overall to education.
I don’t have to remind most who read this about TFA’s corporate connections, but here’s one example that I’m sure would be of interest to Sen. Sanders.
In 2008, The New York Times, in “2 School Entrepreneurs Lead the Way on Change,” describes how TFA founder Wendy Kopp and her husband, KIPP charter schools’ CEO Richard Barth, raised $5.5 million in one night bringing in corporate executives at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Limousines jammed Park Avenue for blocks, and the money raised boosted the $125 million already in the organization’s coffers at the time.
If you really want to learn about TFA’s corporate support, you only need to look at who they partner with and their huge list of donors. Under donors don’t forget to keep clicking as you scroll down the list. It goes on forever.
Think what it would have been like if these corporate individuals supported real career teachers. How would this have lifted the profession? How would it have helped students in America?
Perhaps Finland would now be looking at America as a school leader in innovation!
For far too long we have had Presidents who supported the corporatization of public schools. Sen. Sanders seems different.
If Sen. Bernie Sanders becomes President, I would find it hard to believe that he would keep his promises concerning corporate fairness, and still be thrilled with the corporate groups like Teach for America.