by Leigh Bravo 3/6/14
President Obama has claimed over and over again that his National imperative is to “prepare our kids for success” by “educating every American student to graduate from high school prepared for college and for a career!”
The official Democratic platform is as follows:
“Democrats share with all parents the commitment to prepare our children to lead lives of happiness and success. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring the next generation has access to a first-rate education and the tools to drive our economy forward.”
As a result, President Obama instituted “Race to the Top,” a revolutionary program designed to promote innovation and provide incentives for improvement in education.
But, are Democrats and the President following through by really backing first-rate education for all Americans? Is education really a top priority?
In order to answer these questions, let’s start by looking into campaign financing. In the 2008 election cycle, The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association contributed about $5.4 million dollars to Federal candidates, parties, and committees. Of these donations, 95% of their funds went to Democrats. In the 2012 election cycle, close to $20 million dollars was donated to campaigns, of which, 97% went to Democrats. According to the New York Times, Unions spent nearly $450 million in the 2008 elections backing Obama and Democrats. According to the Wall Street Journal, three of the top five spending political groups in the 2010 midterms were labor unions. In fact, Big Labor spent more in campaigns and elections than Big Business.
If Democrats claim to support a “first rate” education to all Americans, then why do they insist on eliminating the school voucher program for students, closing down Charter schools, and refusing to sell or lease failing public school properties to successful private sector educational institutions? Why would they not want to learn from these institutions in order to facilitate better education within the public system?
Today, in New York, Democratic Mayor deBlasio is moving to block three charter schools, The Success Academies, from using space inside public school buildings. His predecessor, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gave the charter schools free rent in the city-owned buildings. The schools were to open in the fall. They have already hired teachers and admitted students. Thousands have showed up to protest the closings of these schools and the city’s attempt to block 17 Charter schools from opening within the city.
Why would Mayor deBlasio want to close down these schools if he and the Democrats, led by President Obama, are committed to offering all kids a top-rate education? How does the Success Academies stack up to the Public school system in New York? They rank in the top 1% of all New York schools in Math with 82% of scholars passing the 2013 state exam. The Success Academy in the Bronx ranked #3 out of 3,528 New York State Schools in Math. Fifth graders in Success Academy in Harlem ranked #1 out of 2,254 schools in New York in math. They ranked in the top 7% of all New York schools in English, and performed 32% higher than public schools and a staggering 100% earned an advanced rating, the highest possible in Science. So what is the problem? Why aren’t Democrats singing their praises?
Why would President Obama and Eric Holder want to sue states around the Nation to force them to abandon the school voucher program? In Louisiana, 90% of voucher users are poverty-level Americans, and were stuck in “C” “D” or “F” rated schools. However, Obama and Holder were determined to stop these kids from going to better private schools instead of their public counterparts.Why?
Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, along with Michael Bond on the Milwaukee school board, refused to sell 15 empty buildings — which used to house failing public schools — to successful charter schools. Bond says “letting private education success stories to flourish would be like asking Coca-Cola to turn over it’s facilities to Pepsi.”
Can we conclude that Democrats are leading the charge against school vouchers and the attack on successful private and charter schools because of the money given to them by the unions? Are these attacks part of a payback? If the public school system fails and teachers loose their jobs, Unions lose their membership dues and Democrats no longer get the big bucks for elections.
Is a first-rate education policy a 2nd-rate proposition for the teachers or the students?
Leigh Bravo blogs at The Trumpet.