My first impulse was not to write about the debate last night. But then a reader contacted me to ask why I hadn’t written anything. I oblige.
The debate was about foreign policy, supposedly, but the candidates still managed to restate their talking points about education.
I was hoping they wouldn’t mention education because neither of them says anything that is accurate. They are out of touch with what is happening in the schools and seem to have no clue about what is needed.
Mitt Romney still claims credit for the Massachusetts reforms, even though they were enacted 10 years before he was elected, and even though his own education platform today rejects the Massachusetts reform strategy of more funding, higher standards for teachers, and improved standards and assessments. His reform strategy today can be summed up in one word: privatization. Also, attack teachers unions and any certification for new teachers. And no new federal aid to reduce student debt in higher education. Also, he wants the banks to regain control of student loans because they were making huge profits before Obama took it away from them.
President Obama, thank God, did not mention the much-loathed Race to the Top, but he said that his policies were working, which is absurd. He talked about gains and results, and no one but Arne Duncan seems to know where those gains and results are. The biggest results of Race to the Top are the demoralization of the nation’s educators and the steady advance of privatization. The biggest result of the Common Core standards is an explosion of new testing, reaching all the way down to kindergarten and even younger. Our children shall eat, live and breathe tests, from birth to the end of their education, and the massive data warehouses will track their every move.
When educators vote, they will have to look at other issues, not the one they know best. Neither of the candidates has a realistic vision of the damage that their policies–actual and proposed–are doing to the nation’s schools and children.