Our friend and ally, Dr. Charles Foster Johnson, recently gave an interview in which he expressed his optimism about the incoming Biden administration. Dr. Johnson is leader of Pastors for Texas Children, which fights privatization and supports public schools. He has opened nine state affiliates, the latest one in Alabama. He is a champion of public schools and teachers and students. He understands that public schools need resources and community support, not competition and punishments.

Among his many insightful comments is this one:

Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pushed private school vouchers. That is unlikely from the Biden administration. What is more of a threat is continued expansion of charter schools that, basically, are publicly underwritten private schools due to their independent private ownership. Traditionally, vouchers are the privatization model of choice for Republicans (rural Republicans excepted) and charters are the privatization model of choice for Democrats.

Accordingly, the standardized testing racket so enshrined in No Child Left Behind and Race to The Top must be dismantled. Why do we have them when teachers, parents, community leaders and children all hate them? Here’s why: corporate backers of privatization want to measure poor children rather than treasure them. Let’s take the billions we are squandering on burdensome and punitive assessment and re-channel that money back into athletic, musical, artistic and vocational programs that have been so severely cut because of them in the first place.