Six Republican presidential candidates addressed an education forum hosted by a self-styled “reformer” in New Hampshire yesterday, and if you think they showed any respect to educators or promoted any proposal to actually help students in the classroom, you would be wrong.
Republicans were the only candidates who attended, and I am not sure any Democratic candidates were even invited. The result, anyway, was a day of bashing teacher unions, promoting privatization and releasing political hot air.
Some examples, as reported by the Washington Post:
# “I have no problem with saying that teachers’ unions deserve a political punch in the face, which they do.” – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
# “One of the things that I’d like to see is universal choice…even for parents that can afford it on their own.” – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, promoting tax-paid vouchers to help even rich parents send their kids to private school.
# Let’s “abolish all teachers’ lounges, where they sit together and worry about ‘Woe is us.’” – Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The candidates – who also included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former corporate executive Carly Fiorina – also wrung their hands over Common Core and took shots at the U.S. Department of Education.
The event, at which the candidates appeared separately, was hosted by former CNN reporter Campbell Brown, who has filed a lawsuit challenging teacher unions.
Incidentally, the last time I checked, not one of the Republican presidential candidates has responded to the National Education Association’s candidate vetting process. Three Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley – are participating.