K-12 Education: Democrats Must Choose Between Plans Of Biden and Sanders

Two plans about how to improve K-12 are before us. Which one are the Democrats to choose: Bernie Sanders’ plan or Joe Biden’s plan?

Both candidates presented their plans as centerpieces of their campaigns, Sanders announcing his on the 65thanniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the landmark case making school segregation unlawful, and Biden making his plan the first policy rollout of his 2020 campaign. The differences in the plans tell us about both candidates and give the Democratic Party a choice about where to make its stand about K-12 education.

Difference #1: Biden and Sanders give two different views about teachers.                

Joe Biden sees teachers as suffering financially, stating incorrectly that “public school teachers’ average weekly wage hasn’t increased since 1996” and calling for using Title I funds (federal money targeted for at-risk schools) to increase their pay. Biden’s pledge is to “support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve”.  It is not just pay he wants to give teachers but also dignity.

Sanders seeks a different way to fund the same need for increased teacher pay. He advocates working with states to set a starting salary for teachers at no less than $60,000, tied to cost of living, years of service, and other qualifications; he also advocates protecting collective bargaining.  Sanders’ plan addresses more than salary increases; he addresses the professional excellence of teachers as he pledges to “give teachers a much deserved raise and empower them to teach”.

Biden, throughout his plan, has a condescending tone and portrays teachers as being without “dignity”, as victims. Sanders’ plan has a different tone in which the dignity of teachers is not in question. Sanders’ plan refers to the high professionalism of teachers. Biden, referring to teachers’ lack of dignity, treats teachers as “less than”. He fails to recognize that dignity is not something that can be given to another – although respect is.

Difference #2: Biden and Sanders both articulate the need for underserved children of color to have teachers of color but differ about how to recruit those teachers.

Biden advocates a fast track: providing training in non-university programs that have no professors, no classes, and no research-base to the practices they advocate and offer little chance of “graduates” passing state certification exams, such as a program that calls itself the Relay Graduate School of Education. Without certification, those trained in non-university programs are ineligible to teach in public schools but can find jobs in charter schools because those schools hire uncertified teachers.

Sanders, on the other hand, advocates the establishment of a dedicated fund to create and expand teacher education programs at historically black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities so that those already qualified and accepted at institutions of higher learning will be attracted to the teaching profession and prepared to enter it.

Sanders’ plan ensures the quality of teachers far better than Biden’s plan. Sanders calls for teachers who are “the best and the brightest educational professionals”. Biden calls for teachers who are under-qualified and get into classrooms by the fastest route.  With Biden’s plan, needy students who would benefit the most from their teachers being “the best and the brightest” will get teachers who are not qualified but quick.

Difference #3: Biden and Sanders have two different views about racial inequities as a leading cause of poor student achievement.

 Biden refers in his plan only obliquely to the fact that no one should be denied opportunities and resources for learning due to being a student of color. Sanders, on the other hand, identifies segregation and racial inequities as being a leading cause of poor student achievement. He specifically calls for providing federal funds to increase community-driven strategies for de-segregating schools especially at-risk schools, to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to address disciplinary practices in schools that disproportionately affect students of color, to fund school transportation that increases integration, and to increase funding for magnet schools as a means of increasing integration.

Sanders’ plan recognizes poverty and racism as central factors in poor student achievement. He does not follow past administrations which held teachers and schools accountable for raising standardized test scores without addressing the underlying causes of racial inequities and poverty.

Difference #4: Biden and Sanders differ about what they mean by safe schools.  

Biden plans to defeat the NRA and champion legislation to ban assault weapons.

Sanders, similarly, plans to enact comprehensive gun violence prevention laws. In addition, Sanders plans to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act into law to protect the rights of LGBTQ students, enforce Title IX which assures gender equity, and ensure that immigrant children are free from harassment and surveillance at school, regardless of their immigration status. Certainly guns have no place in schools; neither does bullying or harassment. Sanders view of a safe school is far more expansive than what Biden offers. Sanders addresses the day to day safety of every student in every school.

Difference #5:  Biden and Sanders define a successful high school differently.

Biden’s plan states that the primary function of middle schools and high schools is to prepare students for jobs.  He plans to replace high school courses with courses that will give students industry credentials, actual licenses in the trades, gained by graduation from high school so they will exit high school directly to jobs.  Biden also advocates that high school students take courses at community colleges that can count for credit in both high school and college; thereby, requiring students to take fewer courses and learning less but moving through their education faster.

Sanders, in the other hand, states that, in the 21st century, a rigorous and comprehensive high school education is just the beginning of what students need and, by itself, is not enough. He says that education beyond high school is necessary for all young people and advocates tuition-free public colleges and universities.

With Biden’s plan, a successful high school is one that gives students the quickest path to jobs, even earning industry credentials in high school. Sanders looks at the workforce needs of the 21st century as more complex and requiring a solid high school education, followed by further education in a trade or in colleges or universities.

Difference #6: Sanders takes a firm position in opposition to charter schools. Biden is silent about charter schools.

 Charter schools use taxpayer money for privately-managed schools that have no accountability for how that taxpayer money is spent. Charter schools have greater segregation than public schools. The NAACP has called for a moratorium on funding any new charter schools and accountability for existing charter schools because of their racial inequity and lack of financial transparency.  The charter school industry sets up an alternate school system, takes money from the public school system, and offers no greater student achievement.

Sanders supports the NAACP moratorium on public funds being used for charter school expansion until a national audit is completed and halting the use of public funds to underwrite new charter schools. Sanders states that the country does not need two parallel, taxpayer- funded school systems and insists that we invest in our public schools.

Sanders’ plan states that charter schools, since they use public, taxpayer funds, must:

  • Comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools.
  • Disclose student attrition rates, non-public funding sources, and financial interests.
  • Match employment practices with the local school district, including standards set by collective bargaining and restrictions on exorbitant CEO pay.
  • Allow teachers to unionize.

The words “charter schools” do not once appear in Biden’s plan for K-12 education. That is not acceptable. Those running for public office, most importantly for the Presidency, must take a stand on all charter schools, both the 95% that present themselves as non-profit and the 5% that present themselves as for-profit.  To object just to the 5% and not the other 95%, as some speculate Joe Biden may eventually do, is to give full approval and a green light to the other 95% of charter schools and accomplishes nothing.

Two candidates. Two different perspectives. Two different policy statements.

As an experienced educator of many years, having taught middle and high school English, been a central office administrator for curriculum and instruction, taught teacher preparation courses at universities, and been a consultant to schools at risk, I can tell you that the Bernie Sanders plan shows an understanding of what it means to learn and what it means to teach. Joe Biden’s plan does not.

With the goal of unseating Betsy DeVos and her boss in the White House, I hope that the Democratic Party heeds what Bernie Sanders is saying and makes his positions its own.

Charter Schools: A Promise Gone Bad

Bernie Sanders called for oversight and accountability for existing charter schools and a moratorium on opening any new charters until regulations are in place when he announced his plan last Saturday for K-12 education. The NAACP had already called for oversight and accountability for existing charter schools and a moratorium on opening any new charter schools. Now members of Congress, including Jahana Hayes from Connecticut, wrote to the Secretary of Education, pointing out the misuse of federal funds by the charter school industry and demanding accountability and regulation of charter schools.

Charter schools are a promise gone bad. The country is catching up to that fact. Members of Congress want to end the waste of money and the resulting damage to children, both those who are in charter schools and those who are in public schools that are minus teachers and resources because of the funds siphoned off and given to                   unaccountable and unreliable charter schools.

Please let the Members of Congress who are working to bring quality education to all children by supporting public schools and opposing the unregulated and unaccountable  charter school industry know of your appreciation by calling or writing to them.

Read about those Members of Congress below and read their letter by clicking the link at the end of the brief article.

 

Congressional Leaders Take DeVos to Task and Demand Answers

by dianeravitch

A group of leaders in Congress wrote to Betsy DeVos to complain about her Department’s failure to demand accountability from the Charter Schools that win federal funding. She has $440 million to hand out to charters, and she has chosen to shower millions on corporate charter chains like IDEA, KIPP, and Success Academy. All of these chains are super rich. They don’t need federal aid.

The charter industry is angry because the House Appropriations Committee cut Betsy DeVos’s request from $500 million to $400 million. Tough. She uses the Charter School Program as her personal slush fund.

The fact is that the charter industry wants to play a game of pretending to be progressive while sleeping with Trump and DeVos. Sorry, that doesn’t make sense. You can’t be funded by rightwing ideologues and still be “liberal.” You can’t take Walton money and pretend to be progressive. You can’t be anti-union, pro-segregation and claim to be progressive. Nope.

As the charter industry grows more defensive, watch them cry  “racism.” Please note that many of the signatories of this letter are Black and Hispanic. Note that one of them is Jahana Hayes, the Connecticut Teacher of the Year who was elected in 2018.

The letter can be found here.

K-12 Public Education: Front and Center in the 2020 Election

At last!  At last!  At last!  A candidate for President of the United States has recognized that the bedrock institution of our democracy is in peril, and the same forces of greed and racism that are working to destroy other elements of our society also threaten the very foundation of our society: K-12 public education.

That presidential candidate is Bernie Sanders.

Honoring the 65th anniversary of Brown vs. The Board of Education, the Supreme Court case which outlawed segregation in public schools, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled his education plan, a comprehensive 10-point agenda, called The Thurgood Marshall Plan for A Quality Education for All.

The bold assertion that Senator Sanders’ plan makes is that every child has the right to a quality education.

In his plan, Senator Sanders endorses the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools.  The NAACP calls for that moratorium because it has determined that:

  1. Charter schools have failed in fulfilling their original purpose to innovate and infuse new ideas into traditional public schools. There has been no carryover from charter schools to traditional public schools. Charter schools have not, in any way, been learning labs which try out new ideas that benefit the larger population of students in public schools.
  2. The education that charter schools provide is questionable. The large scale study of student data from the Center for Research Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute found that 17% of charter schools produced academic gains better than traditional public schools, 37% of charter schools performed worse than their traditional public schools counterparts serving similar students, 46% of the schools showed no difference.  Reducing class size, not charter schools, the NAACP states, is how to improve student achievement.
  3. Charter schools take public tax money but are privately managed and do not tell the public how they spend the public’s money.
  4. Charter schools do not accept their share of children with learning issues or who do not speak English as their first language.
  5.  Charter schools “counsel out” students who will not be successful on measures such as standardized tests or graduation rates.
  6. Charter schools have mostly inexperienced, short-term, uncertified teachers.
  7. Charter schools suspend and expel students for behavioral issues at a much higher rate than traditional public schools.

The NAACP opposes charter schools because it insists that children of color have the same rights as white suburban children to a quality education. Similarly, Bernie Sanders’ plan for K-12 education insists on the same fundamental right to a quality education for all children. Sanders’ plan points out that the proliferation of charter schools has disproportionately affected communities of color and increased school segregation– 17 percent of charter schools are 99 percent minority, compared to 4 percent of traditional public schools.  Charter schools stand in opposition to the chief tenet of Brown vs.The Board of Education: A separate education is NOT an equal education.

In addition to issues of racial equity, Senator Sanders’ plan addresses the funding of charter schools.

First of all, billionaires like DeVos and the Waltons (Walmart) together with private equity and hedge fund executives, have bankrolled charter schools and poured tens of millionst into school board and other local elections in order to privatize public schools, and, therefore, control how children are educated and make profits for themselves, such as by buying buildings and then renting out those buildings to charter schools.

Secondly, the Sanders plan points out that charter schools are led by private entities that take substantial tax money but owe no accountability as to how that money is spent. One example of unregulated and unaccountable funding in Connecticut is that heads of charter schools gave themselves salaries in excess of superintendents’ salaries in much larger public school districts and districts in wealthy communities. Tax filings for 2014 show that the two chief executive officers of Achievement First Public Charter Schools each made just over $260,000 and the executive director of Domus, which oversees two charter schools in Stamford, was paid $325,000 while tax filings from 2013 show that the school district superintendent in wealthy Greenwich was paid  $235,00, and the superintendent in Hartford, a school district with 20,000 students, five times the enrollment of the Achievement First schools in Connecticut, was paid $194,000. With no oversight or accountability to taxpayers, charter school administrators are free to determine what to pay themselves.

Thirdly, the Sanders plan highlights how charter schools drain funds from public schools. Charter schools are given the per pupil funds that would have been allotted to the public schools and keep that funding even if students leave or are dismissed from the charter schools and return to traditional public schools.  The public schools, of course, are minus the per pupil funding that accompanied the children who enrolled in charter schools.

Charter schools have been able to function in impoverished communities in ways that more affluent and politically savvy communities would not tolerate. Who in more affluent communities would allow their children to go to schools in which there is no accountability for how the taxpayer money is spent, inexperienced teachers who turn over every two years, racial segregation, disregard of the needs of special education learners, and students being dismissed from school or held back a grade in order to boost the school’s test scores or graduation rates?  The answer is no one.

So how will Bernie Sanders stop the damage to communities caused by unregulated charter school growth? His plan states that, as President, Bernie Sanders will fight to:

  • Ban for-profit charter schools and support the NAACP’s moratorium on public funds for charter school expansion until a national audit has been completed to determine the impact of charter growth in each state. That means halting the use of public funds to underwrite new charter schools.
  • Invest in our public schools system. We do not need two schools systems. That said, existing charter schools must be made accountable by:

– Mandating that charter schools comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools.

– Mandating that at least half of all charter school boards are teachers and parents.

– Disclosing student attrition rates, non-public funding sources, and financial interests.

– Matching employment practices at charters with neighboring district schools, including standards set by collective bargaining agreements and restrictions on exorbitant CEO pay.

–   Supporting the efforts of charter school teachers to unionize and negotiate contracts.

Bernie Sanders has done his homework. He gets it. He knows how to move education in this country forward by enforcing the perspective of those who founded our democracy. He understands what John Adams wrote:

“The Whole People must take upon themselves the Education of the Whole People and must be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one Mile Square without a school in it, not founded by a Charitable individual but maintained at the expense of the People themselves.”

Like John Adams, Bernie Sanders advocates a strong public school system as the foundation of our democracy. The charter school industry has taken us off course; we must invest in our public schools so that our democracy thrives.

And Bernie Sanders is showing us the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Time To Talk To Your Superdelegates

If you are concerned about education in this country, the fate of the nation, or the survival of the planet, here is a sample letter that you may use to send to your superdelegates. The list of 2016 Democratic superdelegates is included.  Please use this sample letter or write your own letter or call your superdelegates. It’s all we can do now.

It just might be up to us. 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dear Superdelegate:

We cannot have Donald Trump as our President. You are one of the only people in the country who can keep that from happening. Please change your vote to the Democrat who can win.

I know that a year ago you decided to cast your vote for Hillary Clinton at the Convention, but so much has happened in that year. You could not have foreseen then where we, as a country, would be now. No one could have.

Hillary looked then like the only game in town. She didn’t appear to have a substantial Democratic opponent, and Donald Trump wasn’t being taken seriously as a possible Republican nominee. All that has changed. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton has become unelectable.

Hillary is unelectable because she is associated deeply with all that most voters find distasteful in a presidential candidate: courting big money donors, a sense of entitlement within the privileged establishment, and an inability to inspire and call us to greatness. The more the electorate has come to know Hillary in the past year, the less they like her. Hillary had approval ratings of 64% as Secretary of State, and earlier this month had approval ratings of just 34%. And that was before the Inspector General’s report.

The report of the Inspector General of the U.S. State Department charged Hillary with breaking the rules of the U.S. State Department in how she used emails as Secretary of State. She did not ask permission to use a private server in her home for government business, and if she had, it would have been denied. She did not preserve and turn over her emails when she left office as required by the Federal Records Act. All prior secretaries of state, as well as John Kerry, were interviewed by the Inspector General for the State Department investigation, but Hillary Clinton refused to be interviewed and would not permit her staff to be interviewed either. She put herself above the law in so many ways. As TV political commentator Chuck Todd said, Hillary could not now be confirmed for a cabinet position with those actions as part of her history. All the more, she cannot be President.

Worse yet for her, she lied about her actions after the State Department report was made public. If she had told the truth at that time, perhaps her candidacy could have been saved. The public will not forgive her for looking straight at the camera and lying. It makes fools of anyone who tries to defend her. And no one wants to be thought of as a fool.

Even the Hillary-supporting MSNBC reporters were appalled at Hillary’s flagrant disregard of the rules of the State Department and her lies in covering it up. The Republicans and Donald Trump will be much more critical and more savage than the now skeptical MSNBC reporters.

For the sake of all that is good about us as a country and for the sake of the world that needs us to be our best selves as a nation, we cannot elect Donald Trump as President. Please prevent that disaster by casting your vote in Philadelphia for Bernie Sanders who will continue Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and work to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream come true. Because he has traditional Democratic values, Bernie Sanders inspires people. And Bernie Sanders can win in November.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Connecticut Will Not Vote For Hillary For President

Why?

We do not like being used, especially being used about a tragedy that broke our hearts: Sandy Hook.

Hillary Clinton recently said on MSNBC that it was “unimaginable” but true that Bernie Sanders was against the grieving Sandy Hook families. Hillary is also running ads featuring the daughter of the valiant principal who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School as she tried to protect the children in her school. The ad brings tears to our eyes as the daughter describes the devastating loss of her mother whom she describes as her “rock” and her “best friend”, right before she endorses Hillary as being just like her mother.

How are we being used by Hillary and her campaign?

  1. We are being told untruths. Hillary is making statements about her own positions and Bernie Sanders’ positions that are false.
  1. We are being given an emotional appeal about the one thing all residents in Connecticut agree: We mourn the loss of the little children and heroic educators of Sandy Hook.

Hillary knows the range of her own changing positions on gun control. In her 2008 bid for the Presidency, her opponent, Senator Obama, said that Hillary was such an advocate for the right of American citizens to own and use guns that she sounded like someone “packing a six shooter” and that she was portraying herself as Annie Oakley. At that time, Hillary criticized Barak Obama for being against gun owners and gun manufacturers. Now the political winds have changed, particularly in Connecticut, so Hillary is on the other side of the issue.

The ad says that Bernie is “in the pocket of the NRA”, but it is Hillary, not Bernie, who took money from NRA lobbyists who hosted a fundraiser for her during this 2016 campaign. Hillary knows very well that Bernie has a D- rating from the NRA and that he decries the gun violence at Sandy Hook and elsewhere. Hillary knows that Bernie voted for expanding federal background checks on gun purchases in order to prevent guns from being in the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. Hillary also knows that Bernie voted for federal legislation banning assault weapons. Once, he even lost a Vermont election because of his staunch opposition to assault weapons like those that killed the children and educators at Sandy Hook.

Hillary has now changed her 2008 position on the side of gun manufacturers and, in this campaign, is saying that gun manufacturers should be held liable when someone does harm with the weapons they manufactured. Bernie maintains that the gun manufacturers do not bear the responsibility for that harm because the government says it is legal for the manufacturers to make the guns. The question is a complex legal one and will be settled in court in 2018.

Hillary’s untruths about the record of Bernie Sanders and the distortion of her own history are bad enough, but for Hillary to communicate that message by playing on the grief in this state about the deaths at Sandy Hook is heartless and self-serving.

Those in the media are now asking if Bernie will tone down his criticism of Hillary in order to unify the Democratic Party. Fostering unity, however, is the primary responsibility of the frontrunner, the person getting ready to head the party. Those in the media are asking the wrong question. They should be asking why Hillary, at this time in the campaign, is taking the low road by impugning the character of Bernie Sanders. It is the responsibility of a frontrunner to take charge, end the attacks on an opponent, and lead by taking the high road in the name of party unity.

Connecticut wants a President who has deep and consistent integrity. Connecticut wants a leader who will inspire us as a nation to be our best selves – honest, compassionate, and smart.

That person is Bernie Sanders.

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Senator Sanders speaking in Hartford on the day before the Connecticut primary: No attacks on the character of his opponent.  No distortions of the facts.  Clearly addressing the real issues: financial fraud on Wall Street, climate change, the minimum wage, immigration, education, and economic inequities .  A leader.

Another Endorsement for Bernie Sanders

I recently posted my endorsement of Bernie Sanders  and then read Steven Singer’s explanation of why he too is voting for Bernie. He focuses brilliantly on the destruction that would be caused by the privatization of education if Bernie Sanders is not elected President. What the other candidates for President advocate for education is the same thing they advocate for our society at large:  Let those with money be in charge. Privatize. Do not rely on the will of the citizens.

In education, privatization has meant: Let those with money decide what is to be taught in our public schools by controlling the content of the national standards. Let those with money mandate how all children learn, except their own because they send their children to private schools which would never follow  the Common Core mandates.  Let those with money run public schools without taxpayer accountability. Let those with money control what the the media says about the worth of the standards and the schools. Let those with money decide who succeeds and fails in those schools. Let those  with money circumvent social progress, such as racial integration. Let those with money train teachers and school administrators. Let those with money financially support  educator publications and associations, including  the teachers’ unions.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate to suggest another way for our government and our society to function. Only Bernie Sanders stands against the control of big money.

We are moving, as a country, either to affirming and updating FDR’s New Deal or to  having the institutions of our society, such as public education,  be based  on competition  and profit through privatization. Steven Singer beautifully states the case against privatization.

Here is Steven Singer’s article. Read on…………….

https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-one-reason-bernie-sanders-is-the-best-mainstream-candidate-for-parents-and-teachers/

 

 

 

 

 

In The Name Of The Kids: Endorsing Bernie Sanders

I believe that how we educate our children in this country will influence greatly the scope and breadth of each child’s life and also will determine our fate as a nation. But, on the campaign trail, the candidates for President have not said much at all about K-12 education. So I decided to investigate their positions on it.

After fact checking the Republican and Democratic candidates for President to find out what they have said and what they have not said about K-12 education, I have reached a conclusion: The only candidate who exhibits any understanding of K-12 education and offers any hope for K-12 education being a building block for the future of our nation is Bernie Sanders.  

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate, Democratic or Republican, who has commented at all about the complexity of educating the economically diverse population in our country. According to differing definitions of poverty, either 1 in 5 or 1 in 3 children in the United States live in poverty. Bernie Sanders recognized that the country has a large disparity between the haves and the have-nots when he voted against No Child Left Behind in 2001. He said he objected to No Child Left Behind because it relied on standardized tests as the way to increase student achievement and “ignored other factors, such as the impact of poverty, the access to adequate health care, mental health, nutrition, and a wide variety of supports that children in poverty should have access to”. As a senator, Hillary Clinton voted for No Child Left Behind and continues to list on her website and to comment publicly that voting for No Child Left Behind was a noteworthy accomplishment of hers.

We need a President who recognizes that no standards and no tests can raise achievement without the addressing of the physical, mental, and emotional effects of living in poverty.

Bernie Sanders also is the only candidate, Republican or Democratic, who has demonstrated an understanding of what real student achievement is. When No Child Left Behind came under review in 2015, he once again objected to standardized tests being the sole measure of achievement and authored a proposal to expand how achievement is measured. He recognized that “our 21st century economy requires skills that standardized tests cannot measure, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork”.

To assess those skills that students require for their future, Senator Sanders suggested “evaluating students based on their understanding of the curriculum and their ability to use what they have learned creatively”. He proposed innovative assessments that do not rely on standardized tests, such as students presenting a portfolio of their work or students demonstrating their skills through projects that they present to panels of reviewers. His proposal was adopted as part of the new bill that replaced No Child Left Behind called the Every Student Succeeds Act. Seven states are piloting the kind of authentic assessments that Senator Sanders wrote into the bill.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has said that she thinks that standardized tests should continue as the way to assess students. She has said, “A testing system, based on a core curriculum, helps you to organize your whole education system.” She advocates, therefore, that standardized tests drive what is taught.  

We need a President who will look at how to engage students in meaningful learning and how to assess that meaningful learning instead of a President wedded to the unsuccessful test-and-punish regimen of NCLB. That person is Bernie Sanders.

Moving beyond the classroom and into issues of school structure, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate, Democratic or Republican, who supports publicly run and publicly accountable schools for all and is opposed to charter schools that call themselves “public” because they take taxpayer money but are privately managed.  At a CNN town hall meeting in Cleveland on March 13, 2016, he stated that he would not support public charter schools that are privately managed. All the other candidates support the privatization of education in which charter schools are run for the profit of private individuals or corporations. Under existing laws, these charter schools are funded with taxpayer dollars but have little or no transparency or accountability over the use of those taxpayer dollars. Those charter schools take money from the traditional public schools with funding appropriated though state budgets to start and expand them and through the per pupil allotments from traditional public schools, which go with students to the charter schools. Hillary Clinton has let her major contributors, who are also proponents of charter schools, know she would continue to support the charter school industry as President.  

The money that is being made by those investing in the charter school industry points to the larger issue of whether private enterprise and competition will be the foundation of education in the United States or whether public K-12 education be democratically run with oversight by local school boards and state agencies.  All of the Republican candidates advocate for private enterprise and competition. Hillary Clinton has deep ties to the billionaires who are currently usurping the functions of public education in this country. For example, Bill and Melinda Gates who are the sole funders of the writing, promoting, and implementing of the Common Core Standards, which were not written not by educators and written without a research base, are major contributors to the Clinton Foundation. Also, Eli Broad, a major funder of the charter school industry, is a big contributor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In addition, Hillary Clinton has been a highly paid speaker at events of those championing the privatization of education.

A particularly troubling aspect of charter schools is their racial segregation. According to the UCLA Civil Rights Project, black students in charter schools are “far more likely than their traditional public school counterparts to be educated in intensely segregated settings”, and “some charter schools enrolled populations where 99% of the students were from underrepresented minority backgrounds”. Sixty-two years after Brown vs. the Board of Education, we have racial segregation returning in an intentional way due to the charter school movement. Among the candidates for President, Republican and Democratic, only Bernie Sanders has said, in that same March 16, 2016 televised town hall meeting, that he will not support charter schools that lack diversity.

Only Bernie Sanders stands separate from the private individuals and corporations that work to impose their will, instead of the will of citizens, parents, and educators, on public education in this country. Only Bernie Sanders has demonstrated that he knows that what kids learn and how they will be assessed on that learning needs to be improved. Only Bernie Sanders says that how schools are structured in this democratic society should be not be decided by billionaires whose only credential is that they have the deepest pockets. Only Bernie Sanders, among Democratic and Republican candidates, has gotten anything done to improve K-12 education in this country.

Therefore, Bernie Sanders has my vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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