Party platforms in the United States don't mean that much but they do represent statements of goals.
The Democratic Platform being written now for 2016 apparently is being influenced by Hillary Clinton's friend AFT President Randi Weingarten in that it isn't that bad when it comes to education. Details are emerging on the Diane Ravitch blog.
Two dedicated pro-public education advocates, Chuck Pascal and Troy LaRaviere, wrote important amendments that were adopted and incorporated into the Democratic platform.
Because of them, with important support by Randi Weingarten, the platform now takes a stand against the high-stakes testing regime, opposes school closing shift based on test scores, opposes evaluating teachers by test scores, and emphasizes the importance of democratically-controlled public schools. The platform continues to support "high quality charter schools," without defining what that means: high test scores? Or something else?
I'm not with them on charter schools but overall this is a step in the right direction for sure.
Politico is reporting that the enemies of public schools are fuming. You have to read down a bit to get to the No Candidate Left Behind part but here is what it says:
But Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform, called the amendments an "unfortunate departure from President Obama's historic education legacy" and said that these changes came about because the platform drafting committee "inexplicably" allowed the process to be "hijacked."
There was a lengthy argument between two of us at the last ICE meeting over whether or not if given the power, Randi Weingarten would do right by public school educators. I argued that she would while the opposing position is that she is fundamentally a neo-liberal who favors competition even in education. I guess the platform gives us both something to use in our next discussion.