Make no mistake about it, there is a full-blown war underway for public education funding.
Corporate reformers (who bill themselves as “education reformers”) are totally focused on their mission to access the over $600 Billion spent each year on educating America’s K-12 students. Forget about wanting improved outcomes for our students. The only improved outcomes corporate reformers are after is that of their profits and portfolios.
What public education advocates must realize is that this truly is a full-blown battle for the hearts and minds of parents and taxpayers. The corporate reformers have been clever. How else to describe their ability to sell “school choice” as something parents should want. Forget about expecting our state legislators to do their primary job of ensuring a quality public education for all. Forget about transparency, local control and concern for the common good. It’s survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, and every student for themselves. After all, as long as MY kid is taken care of, what does it matter?
Problem is, none of us lives in a bubble. We must rely on each other for a well-functioning, civil society. The purpose of education can’t be just to make a child college and career ready. Thomas Jefferson said: “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
So ultimately, this is more than a war to save public education. It is really a battle to save our Nation. No, I am not overstating this. If we really want to continue to be self-governing, where each of us has say as well as a shot at the American Dream, we must win this war.
The Corporate Reformers are right…this is the civil rights issue of our time. But, their definition of the “this” is tied to school choice and that is absolutely the wrong focus. The real civil rights issue of our time is whether or not we believe EVERY child has the right to equal opportunity to succeed or, if we are going to only focus on those with the resources to buy the opportunity to succeed.
A commitment to public education is what made America the greatest nation on earth. Yes, we must win the hearts and minds and we must win this war.