In an unexpected move, Democrats have revised the K-12 education section of their party’s 2016 platform in important ways, backing the right of parents to opt their children out of high-stakes standardized tests, qualifying support for charter schools, and opposing using test scores for high-stakes purposes to evaluate teachers and students. -- Washington Post
|Dem platform now supports Opt-Out|
For the first time, after intense internal debate between the Clinton and Sanders factions, the DNC's platform committee backed the unqualified inclusion of the $15 minimum wage as the official policy of the party. They also dropped their statement of support for TPP.
With education activists like Chicago's Troy LaRaviere leading the way, the Sanders forces wrung concessions from Clinton loyalists and came away with an education plank that broke from the current administration's outright support for privately-run charters and high-stakes testing. The party is now on record in its support for the opt-out movement of parents and students.
Also among the unity amendments was a Sanders-Clinton compromise on education that included free public higher education for families with income of up to $125,000 a year.
If you don't think that matters, check out the whiny responses from Arne Duncan's former deputy, Peter Cunningham, and from the hedge-fund school "reformers" from DFER.
Here's my brother Fred's response.
Democrats are now against “high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language learners as failing.” Peter hates that.
Cunningham even has reservations about the rather tame criticism of charter schools: He calls it “extreme” that the Democratic Party supports “high-quality public charter schools,” as long as they don’t, “replace or destabilize traditional public schools.”DFER's Shavar Jeffries claims that the original draft on education was “progressive and balanced.” but that the new language “threatens to roll back” President Obama’s education legacy. I hope so, considering that what Jeffries calls "Obama's education legacy" is actually George Bush's.
The platform shift marks a setback for these corporate reformers and their patrons--Gates, Walton, Broad, etc... I have suggested that Eli Broad should even demand his $12M back from Cunningham and Edu_post. They obviously have no juice.
Here's an example of the disrespect these guys have for the millions of Sanders supporters.
Looks like Sanders delegates plan to make a stink at the convention.https://t.co/epb52WyEmm— Peter Cunningham (@PCunningham57) July 12, 2016
I'm still waiting to see what Cunningham's former boss, Duncan, has to say on this.
There's much in the platform that progressives will dislike. Some things I personally find offensive. As the Nation notes:
After the amendment to secure the rights of Palestinians was voted down, the room unanimously supported a move to eradicate wildlife trafficking that would have helped save creatures like Cecil the lion.
Looking back, this is the kind of negotiation that should have taken place on the part of AFT and NEA leaders before their now discredited early and divisive Clinton endorsement.
I have no doubt that after the election, Clinton and the party leadership will try to backtrack on the education plank. But now at least, there's a document that activists, parents and teachers can use to hold her feet to the fire. Something that wasn't done during the Obama years.
Activists learned they could enter the lion's den and win some victories. Now the struggle moves back out in the streets, the communities and the schools.