Election 2018: Time for Democrats to Support Public Schools if They Want to Win

8162932747_c950280054_k.0Mitchell Robinson, professor at Michigan State University, writes that Democrats must fully support public schools if they want to galvanize their base in November.

“If Democrats want to be successful in November they need to offer voters a true alternative to Republican and neo-liberal thinking on education policy. Sadly, we could add Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to the list above of Democrats who don’t “get it” when it comes to understanding the importance of public education.

“I still run in to far too many Democrats who make distinctions between “for profit” and non profit” charters, as if there’s a meaningful difference…or support candidates who claim this belief. Or point to states with “strong regulations” on charters, like Massachusetts, as some sort of model for other states to follow when it comes to charter school policies. This ignores the fundamental charter problem–the presence of charter schools hurts public schools, period. In an economy that seems not to have enough money to fund 1 set of schools, we are trying to fund both charters and traditional public schools, with reformers clamoring for vouchers that would fund a 3rd group of schools–religious and private non-sectarian schools.

“What we need are Democrats who support real public education, not faux public charter schools that are governed by private management corporations.

“The only thing public about charter schools are the tax dollars that fund them. It’s way beyond time to eliminate all charter schools, and fully fund public education.”


Mitchell Robinson is associate professor of music education, coordinator of the Music Student Teaching Program, and area chair of music education at the Michigan State University College of Music.

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