The next #DemDebate is scheduled for the important primary state of Iowa on November 14, 2015. It’ll be broadcast by CBS in partnership with the Des Moines Register.
Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig is leading the call for the families of 50 million students K-12 across the nation and the communities they live in to have their questions answered by all the Democratic candidates for president.
This is especially important when, as Dr. Heilig notes:
Perhaps the Democrats are not discussing education because they don’t want to be accused of plagiarism by the Republican Party.
If you look at George H.W. Bush’s education platform of 1992, you see that Republicans have been focused on maligning unions, promoting alternative certification for teachers via programs like Teach For America, and pushing an agenda of school choice, assessments, and one-size-fits-all standards.
The Democrats’ current approach to education policy, as practiced by President Barack Obama and his acolytes (including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel), appears to be the same. Obama did not create “change” in education. He pressed the educational policy status quo that the Republicans engineered in the 1990s. For most of Obama’s presidency, George W. Bush’s NCLB (directly imported from Texas in the 1990s) was left alone and even enhanced via “waivers” and Race to the Top.
It’s time for Democrats to set themselves apart from Republican rivals.
It’s time for Democrats to be Democrats — and stand up for fully-funded public education for a rising American majority of diverse, and integrated, students who are well-equipped to face our challenges in climate change and other realms of science and technology, are capable of inspiring and soaring through artistic vision, and able to fulfill the responsibilities and duties of a compassionate and engaged citizenry.
Senate and House Democrats have spent time trying to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act despite considerable GOP obstruction. That’s admirable and that work will continue. BUT — we need our presidential candidates to lay out a powerful vision of the place and importance of public education as a cornerstone of democracy and that goes beyond current limitations of ESEA or other existing laws.
Democrats, make your case on public education to the American people.
Brian Sather, President and General Manager of CBS/KCCI-TV, and David Chivers, Publisher and President of the Des Moines Register, we’re holding you accountable for asking probing questions on K-12 education policy.