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Bertis Downs is a parent and public education activist who lives in Athens, Georgia. His daughters attended the public schools in Athens. Bertis is a board member of the Network for Public Education and of People for the American Way.
He posted a speech in Salon that he says will bring about sure victory for the candidate who delivers it.
He begins like this:
Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have decided to start talking about the state of K-12 public education in recent weeks. This is a very positive, if overdue, development, with both of them questioning the efficacy and priority of charter schools in the national dialogue on educating our children; and Sanders recently proposing a new, equity-focused approach to funding education in the United States.
Still, the candidates’ words don’t seem to resonate with many of the largely untapped public education parents and teachers who are in search of a candidate. Neither candidate really has a grasp on the varied and complex issues that have to be addressed when considering the changes and reforms our schools and children truly need. Let’s help their campaigns by outlining the speech that at least one of them ought to give — and soon.
Which campaign wants to lay claim to public schools supporters? Easy. Whoever embraces these ideas first. Just imagine:
Somewhere in New Hampshire:
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON A TRULY CHILD-CENTERED AND EFFECTIVE PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICY
Good morning. I want to spend a few minutes today considering the past, present and future of public education in our country— a topic too long ignored in this election year.
We know several things about public education. We know it is the road out of poverty for many children. We know many or most of our public schools are doing a fine job of educating our children. But we also know our nation still suffers from generations of neglect, discrimination and underfunding that drive unconscionable disparities in how we educate our privileged and our less affluent children. Clearly, education does not exist in a vacuum. We cannot expect schools or teachers alone to solve the immense problems many of our youngest children face in their home lives. Schools are expected to do more and more in an age when we are making it harder for them to do the basic job of educating their students. It seems that teachers have less control over what and how they teach, yet teachers are blamed more than ever for how their students perform on standardized tests. Is it any wonder we have an impending shortage of teachers? Even those who have long dreamed of being teachers may be hesitant to enter the profession as it is currently defined. Is that really what we want? Is that really what our children deserve?…..
We say we want good schools for each child. But the policies we have pursued at the federal and most state levels have not produced that result— not even close. Mine will be the first administration in a long time that not only makes speeches about strengthening and improving our public schools, but actually adopts policies that will strengthen and improve our public schools. To those of you who have said my campaign hasn’t emphasized public education enough: you are right. Admittedly, I am looking at this with new eyes as I consider the education of my own grandchildren. How we educate them, and the millions of peers coming up alongside them, is one of the nation’s greatest responsibilities. I, for one, am ready to do my part.
Read the rest of the speech that is guaranteed to elect the next President of these United States.