Home > Uncategorized > Valerie Strauss Connects Democratic Party “Reform” Agenda to DeVos’ Vouchers

Valerie Strauss Connects Democratic Party “Reform” Agenda to DeVos’ Vouchers

January 22, 2017

In an excellent Washington Post article that provides a synopsis of the so-called “reform” movement that began in the 1990s and is likely to culminate with the pending appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Valerie Strauss correctly connects the Democratic Party’s complicity in the “market based” movement that politicians on both sides of the aisle accept. Here are a couple of quotes that illustrate Ms. Strauss’ analysis:

Democrats have in recent years sounded — and acted — a lot like Republicans in advancing corporate education reform, which seeks to operate public schools as if they were businesses, not civic institutions. (This dynamic isn’t limited to education, but this post is.) By embracing many of the tenets of corporate reform — including the notion of “school choice” and the targeting of teachers and their unions as being blind to the needs of children — they helped make DeVos’s education views, once seen as extreme, seem less so…

Democratic support for market forces in public education reform softened the ground for programs, such as school vouchers. Obama and many other Democrats don’t support using public money for private and religious school tuition — but Obama’s opposition seemed like a policy asterisk compared to the Republican-sounding policy initiatives he did champion.

I got to Ms. Strauss’ article through a blog post by Diane Ravitch that concluded with this paragraph:

“Let’s see if Democrats rediscover the importance of public education, where all kids are welcome, no lottery, no exclusion of kids with disabilities. In public schools, not every child can get admission to every school, but every child must be served and enrolled. Not some, but all.”

This compelled me to leave this rejoinder:

And if they don’t… and a third party– say the Working Families Party or the Green Party— DOES, do readers of this blog and other public school advocates jump ship? How long can we be patient with a two party system where both parties favor “reform”?

How long CAN public school advocates be patient with the Democratic party? Maybe when the party sees how ESSA plays out in the 35 States controlled by Republicans they will wake up to the fact that schools are civic institutions and not businesses. I am working on two letters to oppose two appalling bills in the Republican controlled NH legislature… two bills that are likely to pass, be signed by the recently elected Republican governor, and implemented by his recently nominated Secretary of Education, a businessman who has no experience as an educator and homeschooled his seven children. I am fortunate that my local delegation “gets” what is going on… here’s hoping the rest of the state catches on quickly!

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