Jan Resseger worked as a social justice leader for the United Church of Christ until her retirement. She is an ardent supporter of public education and lives in Cleveland. In this post, she eloquently describes the education platform that Democrats should adopt. No advocacy for “high quality charters” or “high academic standards,” but advocacy for children, for democracy, and for a better education for all.

This is how she begins:

Introduction A comprehensive system of public education, that serves all children and is democratically governed, publicly funded, universally accessible, and accountable to the public, is central to the common good. Historically it has been the role of the 50 states to establish and implement a fair system of funding and regulating public education; of local school districts to share the responsibility for funding and to administer the schools in their localities; and of the federal government to protect the civil rights of our nation’s children by ensuring that schools serve all groups of children—children of every race, ethnicity, economic level—and ensuring that schools serve children with special needs— children with disabilities and children learning English.

A just and good society balances individualism with the needs of the community. Likewise public schools are intended to serve the needs of particular children and at the same time to serve our society by preparing citizens to participate actively in our democracy. Today, our society has moved too far in the direction of promoting individual self-interest at the expense of community responsibility. The result has been the abandonment of the common good. While some may suggest that the sum total of individual choices will automatically constitute the needs of society, there is no evidence that individual choices based on self-interest will protect the vulnerable or provide the safeguards and services needed by the whole population. As a matter of justice, our society must strive always to expand the individual rights guaranteed by government for those who have lacked rights and recognize the important role of government for providing public services on behalf of the community.