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Education politics

Education factions battle at the DNC

The battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, at least in the area of public education policy, was on full display yesterday at two panel discussions organized by Democrats for Education Reform. (Full disclosure:  I am DFER’s Florida coordinator.) The first panel consisted of Democratic state legislators from Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina and Ohio discussing their legislative efforts to improve public education by changing teacher evaluation, tenure and compensation systems. These initiatives, generally opposed by teachers unions, are designed to make the current factory model of public education more effective and efficient by giving management more control...

Deval Patrick: With Obama, students ‘have a champion in the White House’

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick made the most extensive remarks about K-12 education on the DNC stage last night. He didn't explicitly mention Race to the Top, expansion of charter schools or a push for better teacher evaluation systems (all Obama administration priorities) but he did reference more accountability, higher teaching standards and longer school days. His suggestion of lower student achievement during Gov. Romney's tenure  was wrong; Massachusetts is and has been an academic leader. In a nod to teachers unions, he described making ed reform in Massachusetts "with labor at the table." Here's the kicker to his speech, which highlighted change at a...

Can a school-voucher Democrat become president?

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a star in the Democratic Party, is already considered a future presidential candidate. But he is also an unflinching supporter of private school vouchers. In a rousing speech at the DNC tonight, he moved delegates with his lines on education: "You should be able to afford health care for your family. You should be able to retire with dignity and respect. And you should be able to give your children the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger, go even farther and accomplish even more than you could ever imagine." Booker didn't even hint at vouchers...

Democratic tensions over school choice, parent trigger in Charlotte

Like the Democratic Party platform on education, this is no surprise: Democratic tension over school choice and parental empowerment is on display at in Charlotte. But some of the developments and statements are still worth logging in. StudentsFirst co-sponsored a special screening of the new movie “Won’t Back Down” at the DNC yesterday, just as it did at the RNC in Tampa last week. And in the panel discussion that followed, Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution, told the audience that the parent trigger law – upon which the movie is loosely based – is a progressive idea aimed at giving...

Here’s the 2012 Democratic Party platform on education

This will surprise no one, but the 2012 Democratic Party platform, released yesterday, includes charter schools in the one sentence that offers a nod to school choice but does not include private learning options: "We will continue to strengthen all our schools and work to expand public school options for low-income youth, including magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools, and career academies." Here's the education portion of the platform (by contrast, see the 2012 Republican platform on education here): An Economy that Out-Educates the World and Offers Greater Access to Higher Education and Technical Training. Democrats believe that getting an education...

The redefinED podcast — An interview with Ben Austin of the Parent Revolution

"We're living in a revolutionary moment," says Ben Austin, executive director of the Parent Revolution, as we begin our interview for redefinED's inaugural podcast. And the moment to which he refers has been marked by California's "parent trigger," a law that has upended the status quo at one Compton school in a way that few education measures can do with such sweep. A majority of parents at McKinley Elementary wanted a charter operator to come and take over their struggling school, just as the parent-trigger law allows, and what Austin and the Parent Revolution fought for, and the Compton...