If you are a parent or an educator and expect to hear something about K-12 education out of any of the Presidential candidates in their debates or fireside chats you will be sorely disappointed.
How we school our children is one of the most important issues of our day, and yet when do we hear anything about our schools discussed?
Republicans don’t like Common Core State Standards. But there hasn’t been a thorough discussion about it. They are mostly for vouchers, which are controversial in many states. But I don’t hear them talking about them either—not in-depth.
I find Republicans always big on criticism of public schools, but they seem to have little discussion of substance when it comes to children and how they learn.
How do the Democrats do?
Hillary Clinton quickly endorsed Common Core when she first started running for President, but I haven’t heard her talk about the standards lately. Probably she knows a lot of Democrats are against them—just like Republicans.
Senator Bernie Sanders at least understands there is controversy, but it sounds like he thinks Common Core State Standards are O.K. too.
Union leaders jump up and down for Hillary Clinton, but the Clinton’s have been behind some big K-12 reforms—including their support for charter schools and Teach for America—and many say TeachStrong was devised for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, though I have yet to hear her speak of it. Why not speak of what this means to the future of public schools and teachers?
And quite a few teachers don’t understand their own unions these days.
Why on earth did the AFT and NEA sign on to TeachStrong? Here is the corporate list of the TeachStrong partners which include—Teach for America, Stand for Children, TNTP, Digital Learning and others who seek to dismantle public schools and the teaching profession. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Here are some educational issues that are front and center that absolutely should be discussed. There is plenty here.
- How will public schools in Flint and other areas affected by lead poisoning deliver special education in the future?
- What is the plan for crumbling Detroit school buildings and the school building infrastructure around the country?
- What about school vouchers in Nevada and the fact that many state legislators are signing on to them–like in Tennessee?
- The Every Student Succeeds Act, for many, is a continuance of NCLB. Why did you support it?
- What about Competency-Based Education? Will digital instruction replace teachers? Or will there be some formal restrictions?
- What about special education funding and the stripping of public schools of services for students with disabilities?
- What about dyslexia and schooling?
- What about the anti-drug programs in public schools? Are they not working?
- How should mental health be addressed in public schools? Should there be more counselors and school nurses?
- What should the role of the U.S. Department of Education be?
- Should there be regulations imposed upon charter schools?
- What about teacher preparation in the future?
- How should we handle the teacher shortage?
Senator Bernie Sanders, thus far, wins my vote, but only by default. As I have stated before, someone who stands against corporations might at least understand their troubling connection to public schools—if not now, maybe later.
To his credit he has also mentioned teachers and the high cost of high-stakes testing. And Sanders has spoken in favor of school equity. Of course, Hillary Clinton has spoken about this too.
But as far as mainstream media airtime—on it goes—never a serious debate about one of the most important issues of our time. What will we hear tonight with the debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?
And one day, no matter who is elected President, if democratic public schools aren’t discussed, it will be too late. It is just that serious.