Koonlaba: What will it take to make public education a key issue in this presidential election?

12026668_10207696034495715_258832376_nI don’t really have anything new to say about the presidential debates so far. The lack of discussion about public education is troubling. I worry about the fact that the nation’s two largest teachers unions have already gone “all-in” by endorsing Clinton. We should have been asking very hard, very public questions of these candidates before endorsing anyone. We should have made them work for our endorsements. We should have made them talk about the dark side of what is happening to public education in this country. Instead, we endorsed based on fluffy promises like universal pre-K and better schools. Everybody wants better schools. Even Chris Christie, who yells at teachers, says he wants better schools. We need to be talking about what that means. We need to be talking about corporate reform, charters that give public dollars to private entities with little accountability, and the de-professionalization of the teaching profession. We should be talking about the testing machine.

What is it going to take to get this discussion going? A lot of people are trying. I’ve rounded up some blog posts and such about the silence at last night’s debate for you to read.

Peter Greene of Curmudgucation writes

US public education, despite the assorted crises associated with it (both fictional and non-fictional) is shaping up to be a non-issue once again in Presidential politics.

BAT Blogger Steven Singer of Gadfly on the Wall calls universal pre-K the flavor of the month.

Julian Vasquez Heileg asked some very pointed questions.

The Badass Teachers Association launched a Twitter campaign asking questions (#BATsask).

The silence really is deafening, especially with so many citizens trying so hard to gain proper attention for public education. So, again I ask, what is it going to take to get this discussion going?

What do you think?


Amanda Koonlaba is an elementary art teacher in Tupelo, MS. She is a contributor to MSEdBlog. Her views are her own and do not represent the views of any other entity.

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