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What Public Education Advocates Want to See in Biden’s Pick to Succeed Betsy Devos

Historians in the News
tags: education, Joe Biden, public education, 2020 Election



Public education advocates are hoping that he picks someone who will bolster public schools, and move away from the past two decades of school policies that emphasized charter schools, standardized testing and operating schools through a business model.

They have been fiercely opposed to DeVos and her agenda to expand alternatives to the public education system, which she once called “a dead end.” Trump voters are likely to be as unhappy with Biden’s selection as public school advocates were with DeVos.

This post looks at what these public education advocates want, written by Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris.

Ravitch is the most prominent public education advocate of the past decade, a former U.S. assistant secretary of education in the administration of President George H.W. Bush who turned against the school reform movement after seeing its effects on teaching and learning. She is an education historian, author and co-founder of the Network for Public Education, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Another prominent public education advocate is Carol Burris, a former award-winning high school principal in New York who is executive director of the Network for Public Education, which opposes the expansion of alternatives to publicly funded and publicly operated schools and districts, including charter schools, which are privately operated but funded with taxpayer dollars.

 

By Carol Burris and Diane Ravitch

Betsy DeVos just got her pink slip. Throughout her four-year tenure, she did everything she could to undermine public education. Instead, she promoted the idea that schooling should be a competitive free-for-all in which parents shop for schools with tax dollars and then hope it all works out. Now it is time to end that war against public schools as she walks out the door. It is time to chart a course away from the failed reforms that began with George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB), accelerated with Barack Obama’s Race to the Top and brought us to the place we are today.

Although education has not been a major focus of this campaign, President-elect Joe Biden, unlike Obama, talked less about “reform” and more about increased support and funding for public schools — an acknowledgment of the critical role that money plays in achieving successful school outcomes. This is a turn from the Race to the Top era during which it was believed, without evidence, that “three great teachers in a row” and the forces of the marketplace could solve all of the problems that American students face.

 

Read entire article at Washington Post

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