Archives for category: Clinton

I watched it all, with a growing sense of dismay. Once again, Trump was rude, abrasive, and couldn’t stop sniffing. When Clinton was speaking, he got up from his chair, lurked behind her, loomed over her, and it was incredibly distracting. He changed the subject and deflected as usual. His attacks on Bill Clinton were disgusting. Bill Clinton is not on the ballot. For a man who is a serial sexual abuser, a man who boasts of his sexual assaults, to complain about another man’s infidelity is a high level of hypocrisy. What I found so depressing was the small amount of time devoted to discussing actual issues that confront the nation. Trump talks in slogans; he will kill Obamacare and that will fix all the problems with spiraling costs. He will crush ISIS. He will do this and do that, but forget the details. He knows nothing about foreign issues and it is embarrassing to listen to him blabber on about Russia or Syria or anywhere outside of his social media orbit.

But, for me personally, the worst moment of the debate occurred when he said that if he were President, Hillary Clinton would be in jail. That sounded like the kind of threat or behavior that one expects to hear from a dictator. In democracies, winners are gracious in victory and form a government. They don’t pursue their opponents and threaten to jail them. This man is a psychopath. He is unfit to be anywhere near the Presidency.

He played to his hard-core white nationalist base. He gave them the Red Meat they love. He was the bully we have come to know and loathe.

As for the infamous sex tapes, where he bragged about grabbing women by their genitalia, he again said it was “locker room banter,” the kind of thing that men say to one another whenever they are together. If he attempted to apologize for his remarks, it was clear that he was not sincere. He still does not understand why women and men too would find his vulgar remarks offensive. But his debate coaches told him to be contrite, so he pretended. But it wasn’t a good pretense.

The idea that this man is the candidate of the Republican party is a stain on the party. It once claimed to be the party of “family values.” No more. If ever. If they accept this man afflicted with satyriasis as their leader, they lose all pretense of caring about family values, morality, decency, or respect for women.

Yuck! The level of discourse in this campaign has been driven down to potty talk and worse by the most unqualified candidate for the Presidency in modern times, maybe ever.

The Network for Public Education Action Fund was divided during the presidential primaries and made no endorsement. It is divided no more. In a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, our choice is clear. We support Hillary Clinton.

NPE Action Endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for President

The Network for Public Education Action (NPE Action) endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States. NPE Action is not aligned with Ms. Clinton on all educational issues, however, all members of the NPE Action Board strongly agree that the election of Donald Trump would have disastrous consequences for public education.

“Although we did not endorse a candidate during the primary season, we are united in our belief that Ms. Clinton is a far better choice for President than Mr. Trump,” stated NPE Action Executive Director, Carol Burris. “By his choice of education advisors, as well as his continued reference to public schools as “government schools,” there is no doubt that Trump would attempt to privatize our nation’s public education system. Ms. Clinton, in contrast, speaks of the importance of a strong and vibrant public school system. While we may disagree with some of her positions on how to improve public schools, unlike Mr. Trump, the destruction of public education is not her objective.”

NPE Action President and co-founder, education historian, Diane Ravitch, agrees. “I enthusiastically support Hillary Clinton because she is the most experienced and most knowledgeable candidate; the alternative is unthinkable. Donald Trump would destroy public education, one of the essential institutions of our democracy. With Hillary as President, we can hope for the best; with Trump, we can expect the worst.“

Prior to the conventions, NPE Action submitted a position paper to both the Republican and Democratic platform committees. The Board of NPE Action was heartened to see many of those ideas incorporated into the final draft of the Democratic platform. If Ms. Clinton is elected, NPE Action will lobby for an end to high-stakes testing, a moratorium on new charters, and for regulations to end charter abuses and ensure transparency. We will also demand a commitment to community schools that are democratically governed so that parents—especially parents of color—have voice in how their children are educated.

Co-founder and treasurer of the organization, Anthony Cody, summed up NPE Action’s endorsement of Clinton this way. “Supporters of public education have a clear choice in November, between a candidate sworn to destroy it, and one whom we may pressure to do right by our schools. I hope others will join us in supporting Hillary Clinton. Just as important, we need to continue to build the grassroots movement for democratically controlled, equitable and excellent schools for all our children.”

Mike Klonsky has been a radical for many decades. Back in the 1960s, he was a key figure in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

He offers sage advice to his fellow lefties on the current election:

He writes:

Students from Johnson C. Smith University at a rally for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte, North Carolina. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
Sorry to say, rapacious capitalism will still be here in November. Not only that, but I doubt it will ever be simply voted out. Even if a “socialist” like Bernie were to someday be elected (I wish). But maybe that’s just old-school me.

Whatever the case, come the first of the year, either Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, will be our next president and Jill Stein and Gary Johnson will have taken their campaign funds and gone home, a la Ralph Nader and the rest of those perennial presidential spoiler candidates

That’s when the real movement for social justice, peace and racial equality needs to kick into gear again — after the election, no matter who is elected.

NYT columnist Charles Blow, speaking to Morgan State Univ. students, tries to break through the reported millennial political malaise and encourage a large youth turnout for Clinton.

“First — and this cannot be said enough — Clinton and Trump are not equally bad candidates. One is a conventional politician who has a long record of public service full of pros and cons. The other is a demagogic bigot with a puddle-deep understanding of national and international issues, who openly courts white nationalism, is hostile to women, Mexicans and Muslims, and is callously using black people as pawns in a Donnie-come-lately kinder-gentler campaign.”

As an educator, I would also include Trump’s pledge to do away with public education or what he calls, the “government monopoly” of public schools. And here I thought Trump loved to play Monopoly.

Blow continues…

“That person will appoint someone to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court (assuming that the Senate doesn’t find religion and move on Merrick Garland before the new president takes office) and that person will also appoint federal judges to fill the 88 district court and court of appeals vacancies that now exist (there are 51 nominees pending for these seats).”

And more…

“You can’t have taken part in a march for Eric Garner, chanting “I can’t breathe,” and risk the ascendance of a man who has as one of his chief advisers Rudy Giuliani, the grandfather of the very “broken windows” policing strategy that sent officers after low-level offenders like Garner.

“You can’t detest racial-dragnet-policy stop-and-frisk policing as not only morally abhorrent but thoroughly unconstitutional and risk the ascendance of a man who on Wednesday reportedly suggested that he would consider using stop-and-frisk more across the nation.
Makes sense. As Bernie Sanders himself said last week: “This is not the time for a protest vote.”

As one of the leaders of the “vote in the streets” 60’s youth revolt and someone who has often cast protest votes or gone fishing on meaningless election days, I couldn’t agree more.

Peter Greene reflects here on the likely outcome of this election for the nation’s public schools, which enroll nearly 50 million children.

If Trump is elected, we know what to expect:

Trump’s burning dumpster of a campaign has finally managed to toss out a few words about public education, but we saw the writing on the wall when he selected Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence’s position on public education has always been clear: bust it up, sell the parts, and let some corporate types make a bundle “educating” a select few students while the rest go searching the rubble of the crushed public education system for some possible piece of their future. Oh, and get rid of teachers and their damned unions.

Trump’s education proposal is short but simple:

More school choice (a.k.a. “open the corporate charter floodgates”).

Merit pay for teachers (a.k.a. “we’ll pay them just what we think they’re worth and they’ll like it”).

End tenure (a.k.a. “You’re fired whenever the mood hits me”).

If Hillary is elected, we can expect more of the Obama style of reform. He deduces this from the advisors who are close to her, mostly from the Center for American Progress.

Bottom line: Trump will run over the schools like a steamroller, flattening them along with their teachers. He endorses vouchers, charters, online charters, anything goes.

Clinton is likely to be akin to Obama/Duncan in advancing charter schools and testing.

The good news, he says, is that the action is now at the state level:

First, remember that the new version of Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law governing education in this country, throws much of the power back to the state level. The U.S. Department of Education and Congress are still arguing about it, which means there is ample opportunity for states to enter that spirited discussion. Now is an excellent time for folks to get involved on the state level, to provide encouragement to our state leaders to do at least some of the right thing.

We can pay attention to the state-level elections, and get organized right now to find and support people who will help stand up for public education in every state.

In 2008, we just couldn’t wait to see what President Obama would do about public education. In 2016, there is no real question about what our next President is going to do. The question that matters this time is: What we are going to do about it?

As readers know, I met Hillary Clinton at a fund-raiser on August 28. It was not the in-depth meeting I had hoped for, but it was better than nothing.

I endorsed Hillary after she secured the Democratic nomination. I assured you that I would support the winner of the Democratic nomination. I consider Trump to be an ignorant buffoon and a danger to our nation and the world. I wrote an even stronger endorsement in July.

As I watch this bizarre campaign unfold, I feel even stronger about the importance of stopping Donald Trump. His admiration for Putin, who murders journalists, stifles a free press, harasses homosexuals, invades another nation, and is re-establishing a dictatorship–makes me feel that what Trump admires in leadership is a disrespect for human rights, a commanding style that censors opposition: in short, dictatorship. Nothing in Trump’s background is reassuring. He should return to reality television to rant and boast.

So, I reiterate, on every issue that matters, I’m with her. Given Trump’s desire to turn $20 billion of federal spending into support for school choice, I now am certain that she will be far better than he on education, even if she doesn’t stand up to fight all forms of privatization

Valerie Strauss invited me to elaborate on my brief meeting with Hillary, which I did here.

As the response from the campaign makes clear, she is walking a fine line between major donors who support charters and the teachers’ unions, which know that the charter movement is meant to demolish them (90% or more of the nation’s charters are non-union).

As I have said to readers on many occasions in the comments, I don’t know what Hillary will do on education, although after Trump revealed his full-throated support for school choice, I am sure that Trump will be a wrecking ball for public education. She said that she would stop federal funding for for-profit charter schools, and that would be a big step forward.

But on every other issue, from climate change to gun control to civil rights to Supteme Court appointments to international relations, I support her enthusiastically and without reservation.

Take 8 minutes and watch Senator Bernie Sanders explain on NBC’s “Meet the Press” what is happening to his movement now and what comes next.

Watch here.

Kevin Drum writes here in Mother Jones about the celebrated Hillary Clinton emails.

Unlike most of us, he actually read the full report.

He identifies the most interesting of the emails. One of them is an email to Colin Powell on her second day in office as Secretary of State, where she asks him about using his personal email for State Department business. He responds and warns her to be careful and not to talk about it.

Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became “public” that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to “do business,” her e-mails could become “official record[s] and subject to the law.” Powell further advised Clinton, “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.”

[Drum writes:] This is important. First, it makes clear that Hillary conversed with Colin Powell two days after becoming Secretary of State, not “a year later,” as Powell has claimed. Second, Powell essentially told her that he had just gone ahead and broken the law by “not using systems that captured the data.” Hillary, by contrast, chose instead to retain everything as the law required.

Drum concludes there is nothing in the report to warrant the wild claims made by Trump and the rightwing talkshow hosts.

On Sunday, I attended a fund-raising event for Hillary Clinton.

I have met her on several occasions in the past, beginning in 1984, when I stayed overnight at the Governor’s mansion in Little Rock while visiting the state to give a lecture. Although she has met many tens or hundreds of thousands of people over the years, she always remembers me (as does Bill).

I had a few minutes to talk to her privately. I gave her my “elevator speech” about the disaster of the privatization and testing policies of the past 15 years, and the need for a revival of support for public schools.

If you look at the photos, you will see the progression of our meeting. She recognizes me; we hug; I give her my views. And then the great shot, all taken from my cell phone by one of her staff.

After she did the meet and greet, she spoke for about 25 minutes to the 50 or so people there.

She spoke about the importance of working across party lines to get important work done that benefits all Americans. She talked about building better relationships with our allies. She said that she would work closely with Senator Sanders to develop a realistic plan to make college tuition-free for those below a certain income level and to reduce the cost of public college overall. She spoke of the need to elect Democrats to the Senate and the House and to reverse the Citizens United decision. She spoke of defeating the gun lobby, which represents not gun owners but gun manufacturers. She was especially eloquent on the subject of guns. She said that hunters should keep their guns; collectors should keep their guns. But there should be careful screening of all gun purchasers. The fact that Congress refuses to ban sales of guns to people on the terrorist watch list is madness. When asked what she would do about the millions of guns already in circulation, she said she was not sure, but would look into the gun buyback program that Australia used. She spoke eloquently about protecting and bettering the lives of all Americans.

She is knowledgable. She is experienced. She speaks with wisdom, judgment, and clarity. She has the stamina of a person of 30 (this was her fourth event of the day, and she never sat down, not once. And she had two more similar events to go that day.) Don’t believe the Trump nonsense about her health. She looked and sounded great. She is informed, and she is ready.


Michael Hansen of the Brookings Institution lists the five questions he thinks that the candidates should be asked about education. They are not the questions I would ask. (Hansen, by the way, has defended VAM, pooh-poohed parent concerns about overtesting, and defended the effectiveness of Teach for America.)

They are not bad questions (what kind of person would you choose for Secretary of Education? how can Title I be improved? Have the Obama administration policies for higher education helped students? Which federal education programs would you expand, which would you shrink? How much would you increase funding for education research?). I actually would like to see these questions asked, since I am willing to bet that Donald Trump has no idea what Title I is, what No Child Behind was, what the Obama administration policies in higher education are, or which federal education programs are worth expanding or eliminating. He is for charters. He is against Common Core. Other than that, there is no indication that he knows anything about education issues.

Here are questions I would ask:

1. Do you think the federal government should continue to support the privatization of public education? Does the federal government have a role in strengthening and protecting public schools that have democratic governance?

2. Would you expand or shrink the funds now dedicated to privately managed charter schools?

3. What is your view of vouchers that allow public dollars to be spent in religious schools?

4. How would you define the federal role in education?

5. What do you see as the federal role in increasing equitable resources among districts and schools?

6. Would you be willing to persuade Congress to reduce the burden of standardized testing? Specifically, how would you change the federal law to ease the federal pressure to test students annually, a practice unknown in high-performing countries?

7. Do you think that every child should be instructed by a professionally prepared and certified teacher? How can the federal government verify that states are hiring fully qualified teachers?

I am sure you have many more good questions. Please suggest them.

Ruth Conniff, editor-in-chief of The Progressive, was a passionate Bernie supporter. She attended the Democratic National Convention and was mostly disgusted by the proceedings.

Here is her report on the uneasy truce between the Clinton and Sanders forces.

She writes:

The purest expression of Clinton’s philosophy came when she described how she remembered her own mother, who was cruelly abandoned by her parents at a young age, and how she was reminded of her mother’s story when she met a little girl in Arkansas who sat on the porch all day in a wheelchair, desperately yearning to go to school. Clinton set about fighting for the rights of disabled children to get the same access to public education as their non-disabled peers.

“Simply caring is not enough,” Clinton stated, in what could be her credo. “To drive real change you have to understand both hearts and laws,”

“It’s a big idea, isn’t it?” She continued. “All children with disabilities deserve to go to school . . . How do you make it happen?” Answer: getting heavily involved in policy details.

This is Clinton’s core belief: Life is tough. You want to make things better? Don’t complain, get in the fray, fight, engage, compromise, persevere.

The Bernie delegates, God bless them, are not quite ready for Hillary or the pragmatic, compromising realpolitik she represents. And you can hardly blame them for feeling whipsawed by their experience at the Democratic convention.

On Thursday night, no sooner had the great Reverend William Barber finished his sermon, calling on everyone present to join together to revive the heart of America, and walking off stage to thunderous applause, than General John Allen and his military retinue marched in to declare: “America is the Greatest Nation on Earth.” General Allen endorsed U.S. military ventures around the globe. “We will oppose and resist tyranny and we will defeat evil,” he declared.

The Sanders campaign has already achieved a lot, she writes.

To win, Hillary Clinton needs the Sanders voters. And she knows it.

“Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition free,” Hillary declared in her address. “We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.”

The interesting question now is not whether Bernie Sanders voters will hold their noses and vote for Hillary. Most will.

The more interesting question is whether they will stick it out and stay involved in electoral politics.

“We all know that Donald Trump is a racist demagogue,” said Peter Rickman, a Bernie delegate from Wisconsin and the Working Families Party co-chair in the state….

If enough Bernie people are willing to work within the party, with the suits and the hacks and the phonies they detest, long enough and hard enough to take over the Democratic Party and force it to fulfill its progressive ideals, they could transform American politics.

And when they do, their movements against fracking and destructive trade deals and an end to U.S. military aggression abroad will be edited together with the heroes of the other great social movements of history into a sappy video montage at a future Democratic national convention.