Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Democrat’s Ed Plank

The latest version of the 2008 Democratic National Platform is filled with the usual general platitudes so that different and often contending interest groups can read into it what they will. But its education plank, “A World Class Education For Every Child,” is pretty good. Thus, it can’t be making the voucher supporters at Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) very happy. Despite all the lobbying and bundling by these hedge fund Republicrats, the plank makes no mention of their favorite strategy-- vouchers.

Nevertheless, DFER’s Joe Williams is practically wetting himself over the words “promote public charter schools” found in this year’s plank as opposed to the phrase “support public charter schools” which was in the 2004 platform.

But still, the word change from support to promote still begs the question for Williams, so he simply adds the word “choice” into his own representation of the plank, on his blog—as in "support public school choice, including charter schools.”

But if you read the actual education plank in the 2008 platform, nowhere will you find the word, “choice.” Actually, choice is a perfectly fine word and is sprinkled generously throughout the platform, ie. in the health care plank, social security, etc… So its omission from the ed plank was obviously intentional--making clear once again that the Party and candidate Obama, while supporting (and promoting) PUBLIC charter schools that are accountable, aren’t voucherites.

All this leaves the disgruntled Williams with only one option. He skips over all the usual political wheeling and dealing and debate within the platform committee and adds he own language to fit Republicrat scenario. One can only wonder why he didn’t throw in the V-word as well?

For the most part, I like the Dems’ education plank. It is pro-teacher, critical of the failed policies of NCLB, and it promises, "an end the practice of labeling a school and its students as failures and then throwing our hands up and walking away from them without having provided the resources and supports these students need."

In this sense, it fits will with the Bolder, Broader policy group’s approach in not putting all the weight for reform on schools alone. Instead, the draft platform presents its ed plank in the context of a broad expansion of efforts to provide health care, fight poverty and work for equal rights.

My question for Democrats is—how can you offer all this and still support an escalation of the war in Afghanistan?

Ragging our book

Thanks to our friends at the Rag Blog for running Jill Davidson’s review of our book:

Documenting the ways that “the progressive grassroots educational reform movement for small schools has been hijacked by business groups, right-wing ideologues, and the ideology of the Ownership Society,” the Klonskys throw readers into the deep end of the small schools movement, the threats posed by corporate and governmental encroachment on public education, and the toxic ground on which privatization forces have co-opted small schools for corporate gain, both in the authors’ home turf of Chicago and elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Hey asshole, I didn't insert the word "choice," the 2004 platform committee did. You can't possibly be as dense as you pretend to be.


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