K-12 education has not been a topic in the democratic primaries, leaving public school educators and parents wondering who would be most likely to scale down federal and state education “reform.”
So why should public school teachers, opt-out parents and anyone who believes in public education support Bernie Sanders?
Here are 6 reasons.
- Sanders voted against No Child Left Behind, the grandfather of Ed reform. .
- Sanders is skeptical of “alternative routes” to certification: ex: TFA, Relay, Teacher U= replacing lifetime educators with short lived script followers.
- He said this: “Something is very wrong when, last year, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned more than the combined income of 425,000 public school teachers. We have to get our priorities right.” He also has talked about investing more $ in public schools and replacing the use of property taxes to raise money for schools because of the inequality that system creates.
- Vermont is one of the few states that does not allow charter schools. Rather they allow for school choice within the public school system. This brings a valuable perspective to the table.
- Sanders is the only real pro-labor major candidate in recent history. If anyone is going to support unionized teachers- at public schools or unionized charters, it is Bernie.
- Neoliberalism has been very bad for education. Hillary is the quintessential neoliberal. Think the punitive test and punish/ test and underfund of Race to the Top, think school closures, think corporate consultants invading schools, think Bill Gates and his campaign for testing and the common core, think the de-professionalization of teaching and the feds buddying up to tech companies and big business to “reform” schools. Think about what has been like to be a teacher for the last 8 years- punishingly demoralizing and frustrating. While Hillary has managed to make statements both for and against public schools, and for and against unions, it is likely she’ll ride the Obama/ Duncan/ King train to fully “reformed” schools. We don’t want that.
- And finally- Reformers would have you believe that education is in crisis because of teachers and their unions, but want to know the real crisis in education today? POVERTY. Bernie Sanders has been fighting for equality and against corporate greed for his entire life, and is the only candidate truly seeking to address the rapidly increasing inequality in this country. If we really want to do what’s right for children, we’ll choose the candidate who is fighting for their futures and their families- free college tuition, a living wage, affordable housing and free healthcare.
Forget the NEA, AFT endorsements. Bernie Sanders is a better bet for teachers.