Thursday, June 29, 2017

In Virginia primary, Democrats get a lesson: Being progressive means supporting public schools

When I started my PhD program three years ago, I thought I would go on blogging and writing as I had been.  However, I found it was not easy to continue the role of education blogger and activist while learning a new role as an apprentice education scholar, so for a while I didn't even try.

More recently, I have felt comfortable enough with both roles that I have returned to doing some more non-academic education writing and blogging again. I am now much more cautious about the claims I make in my non-academic writing but I also am able to write the non-academic pieces much more easily than I used to, meaning when I blog or do non-academic writing, I care more about the claims I am making but less about the style I am employing, especially since academic writing is so . . . formulaic.

Speaking of which, a recent piece of mine about the role of the issue of public education in the Virginia gubernatorial Democratic primary was published in The Progressive Magazine. Here's a piece of it but please read the whole thing:
Perhaps like so many Democrats, Perriello hasn’t spent much time getting to know the issue. I doubt he understood the damage the neo-liberal reform policies of the last decade have done to public schools or how anti-populist and anti-labor they were. His loss reflects a disconnect between public education defenders and otherwise-progressive politicians who have not yet gotten the memo that defending public schools is a key value for progressive voters. 
Public education got so burned during the Obama administration that far from being an asset, Obama crew’s coming out for Perriello made public school supporters recoil. We haven’t spent the past several years working to preserve public education in Virginia only to have some Democrat who didn’t know any better waltz in with his out-of-state hedge fund manager buddies and undo it.

Not only did Northam win, but a strong network of and support for public schools in Virginia combined with wariness of market-based education reforms meant that both Democratic candidates labored to distance themselves from any perceived support for charter schools.

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