In politically polarized, tribalistic America, education has become yet another binary issue. For some, you are either “for” traditional public schools or you are “against” them.
The Florida race for governor is typical of the divide. Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee, seeks to increase the state’s corporate income tax rate to raise $1 billion for traditional public schools. Republican Ron DeSantis has advocated for expanding education choice programs, such as the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and charter schools.
“Different than my opponent, I actually believe in education,” Gillum recently told a crowd in Sarasota.
Sigh. Sometimes it seems as if the Hatfields and McCoys shared more common ground.
Politics may be a zero-sum game – for every electoral winner there’s a loser – but that doesn’t apply to education. Or at least it wouldn’t if the focus were placed where it belongs — on the student.
“There’s a misconception that supporting school choice means opposing public schools,” writes Virginia Walden Ford, the founder and former executive director of DC Parents for School Choice and a co-founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. “That’s not true. School choice means extending educational opportunity to find the right school fit for every individual child.
“For me, it’s about parents and children – not politics.”