From Twitter Sunday.
Is this a new Randi or should we be cynical?
I watched the Town Hall and was not impressed with Bernie's responses on education. Talked pre-k and college. Nothing much on k-12. I like many of Bernie's positions, particularly on labor, but on education he has been less than ideal. In 2016, he supported charter schools.
It was more encouraging that the Sanders campaign recently reached out to Diane Ravitch to discuss education. Perhaps his people will listen to Ravitch and move Sanders on the k-12 education issue.
Diane's report of the conversation:
She (Bernie's education advisor) called and conferenced in the campaign’s chief of staff.
Here is what happened.
I told them that I was upset that Democrats talk about pre-K and college costs—important but safe topics—and skip K-12, as though it doesn’t exist. Every poll I get from Democrats asks me which issues matter most but doesn’t mention K-12.
I expressed my hope that Bernie would recognize that charter schools are privately managed (in 2016, he said in a town hall that he supports “public charter schools but not private charter schools). No matter what they call themselves, they are not “public” schools. They are all privately managed. I recounted for them the sources of financial support for charters: Wall Street, hedge fund managers, billionaires, the DeVos family, the Waltons, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, ALEC, and of course, the federal government, which gave $440 million to charters this year, one-third of which will never open or close soon after opening. (See “Asleep At the Wheel: How Athens Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride,” Network for Public Education).
I proposed a way to encourage states to increase funding for teachers’ salaries. I won’t reveal it now. I think it is an amazingly innovative concept that offers money to states without mandates but assures that the end result would be significant investment by states in teacher compensation, across the board, untethered to test scores.
I recommended a repeal of the annual testing in grades 3-8, a leftover of George W. Bush’s failed No Child Left Behind. I pointed out to them that all the Democrats on the Education Committee in the Senate had voted for the Murphy Amendment (sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy of Ct), which would have preserved all the original punishments of NCLB but which was fortunately voted down by Republicans. I suggested that grade span testing is common in other developed countries, I.e., once in elementary school, once in middle school, once in high school.
We had a lively conversation. Our values are closely aligned.
They are in it to win it. I will watch to see if Bernie moves forward with a progressive K-12 plan. No one else has.
My options are open. My priorities are clear.
Let’s draw a line in the sand. We will not support any candidate for the Democratic nomination unless he or she comes out with strong policy proposals that strengthen public schools, protect the civil rights of all students, curb federal overreach into curriculum and assessment and teacher evaluation, and oppose DeVos-style privatization (vouchers, charters, cybercharters, for-profit charters, home schooling, for-profit higher education).
Silence is not a policy.
I agree 100% with everything Diane said.
Update from Bernie campaign via Diane:
"We must make sure that charter schools are truly serving the needs of disadvantaged children."
If that is as far as Bernie will go on charter schools, the main privatizing force, it is not promising.