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What Democrats need to do on public education

by Dan Burns on April 3, 2018

abanschoolThis one is full of good – indeed, essential – advice.
 

While progressives lament their recent failure in an Illinois primary to knock out Dan Lipinski – a conservative, anti-abortion, Congressional Democrat who voted against the Affordable Care Act – they mostly fail to note where and how they won elsewhere in the state…
 
These victors had a number of things in common, including endorsements from labor unions and progressive advocacy organizations. But another startling commonality among at least three of the four candidates was a strong support for public schools – Ortiz, Ramirez, and Johnson all made increased funding for public schools key stances in their races. Ortiz and Johnson are public school teachers, and Ramirez pledged to “protect our public-school system from corporate interests which attack teachers and students to destabilize public neighborhood schools and profit from privatizing education.”
 
Contrast the victors’ strong stances for public schools to Lipinski’s failed challenger, Marie Newman, whose education platform was about “education that leads to real jobs” – a position suitable for a Republican candidate to run on.
(Jeff Bryant/OurFuture.org)

And plenty of GOPers seem to be going out of their way to make themselves vulnerable on this. That will likely also be the case here in Minnesota.
 

A little more than a year ago, Betsy DeVos assumed her post as secretary of education, eager to roll out the first-ever national school voucher program. But that was before reality came crashing in (March 23).
 
Congress, in its omnibus spending bill, rebuked the proposal by DeVos and President Trump to redirect scarce public dollars from public schools to private schools with a voucher scheme. Trump and DeVos pursued their voucher plan despite volumes of research that shows vouchers do not work, that they undermine accountability to parents and taxpayers, and that they have failed to provide opportunity to all of our students. Lawmakers did not include in the spending bill the $250 million private school voucher initiative the president and DeVos sought, as well as their $1 billion program designed to promote charters, on-line schools and home schooling.
 
That Trump and DeVos were unable to get their priority funded in a Republican-controlled Congress speaks to the distrust of the American public, 90 percent of whose children attend public schools…
 
The rejection of DeVos by Congress notwithstanding, there are several gubernatorial candidates who want to pursue her voucher agenda.
(Education Votes)

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