What parents want to hear from the candidates about K-12 education

Parents Across America agrees with recent articles (in Blooomberg Views here and the Nation here for example) that the lack of attention to K-12 education policy in the current election campaign is a major concern, especially given the disappointing results of recent independent national achievement tests which make it clear that years of corporate-driven education “reform” have failed our children.

The Nation interview with Jane Sanders, wife of candidate Bernie Sanders, touched on some of PAA’s major concerns. However, we are still waiting for public statements from the candidates themselves in order to evaluate whether or not they understand the need to move on from the accountability movement’s high-stakes tests and narrowed curriculum, and its war on teachers, neighborhood schools, and the very foundation of democratic public education.

Specifically, we’d like to hear candidates call for:

  • safeguards for our children’s health and privacy against the increasing intrusion of digital devices into schools;

  • less standardized testing, whether one-shot, benchmarked, or embedded;

  • more play-based learning in early childhood classrooms rather than test prep that undermines child development;

  • an end to discipline practices that criminalize youthful mistakes and discriminate against students of color;

  • limits on federal funding for charter schools with more accountability for the financial, discrimination, cheating and other scandals associated with this dangerously unregulated industry,

  • an end to federal funding for “fast track” teacher preparation programs;

  • extra resources for instead of closure of struggling schools;
  • more voice in public school policy for educators, parents, and others in the school community and less for billionaire philanthropists and multi-billion-dollar testing companies;

  • returning federal education law to its original purpose as an anti-poverty program designed to help level the playing field between the poorest and wealthiest communities – children’s zip codes should not limit their access to a well-resourced, high-quality education.

As the 2016 party platforms are finalized and the elections draw near, parents will be looking for candidates who are willing to speak out on behalf of our children’s education. For us, that is the most important issue, and we plan to vote!

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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