America's public school system is the foundation of our republic. We depend on our public schools to help our children grow into responsible and knowledgable citizens. The current administration and those of the recent past have shown that the two major parties have neither the desire nor the ability to run the nation's public school system. *Therefore, I hereby declare my intention to seek the office of President of the United States of America.
We need a President who attended public schools, who worked in public schools and whose children attended public schools -- ME!
1. Standardized tests will no longer be used for grading schools, teachers, or school districts. Teachers may use standardized tests to help them guide their teaching if they choose, however, teacher observation, documentation of student work, and performance based assessments should be the primary tools for assessing student achievement in a classroom.
2. Charter schools and vouchers for private schools do nothing to improve public education. Charter schools don't perform any better than regular public schools and vouchers for private schools drain much needed funds from the public schools. Public schools are fundamental to our democracy. The corporatization and privatization of America's schools must stop.
Charter schools are not, by definition, harmful to public education, however, the current administration is expanding the Charter school system at the expense of public schools. Schools which need improvement will NOT be closed and replaced with Charters. Rather, help and resources will be provided to schools so that they may improve. A Presidential Advisory Board for the Improvement of Public Education will be formed for this purpose.
3. Closing schools, firing staffs, state takeovers of schools and conversion to charters are not reforms. Proven reforms such as pre-K programs, full-day Kindergarten, smaller classes, parent involvement, experienced teachers, a well-rounded curriculum and evaluation systems that go beyond test scores will be used to help schools improve.
4. Schools need to be fully funded. The public education system in America is too valuable to be abandoned. Schools need to be supported, not closed. All schools need fully funded libraries.
5. Parents should be involved in their children's schools. Parents need a voice in local, district, state and national levels. All Education Roundtables must include parents of public school students, public school teachers, as well as members of the community.
6. Schools which serve students living in poverty have lower achievement. Public schools serving middle and upper middle class families achieve at rates which lead the world. Therefore poverty must end. The effects of student poverty will be addressed with adequate prenatal care, adequate childhood health care, food and nutritional support, job programs, and public services including libraries. The United States must never again be the leader in childhood poverty.
7. From this day forth the Secretary of Education of the United States will be someone who has been successful as a teacher in an actual public school classroom.
8. All public school teachers, after a probationary period, will be guaranteed due process.
The following people will be nominated for the Presidential Advisory Board for the Improvement of Public Education (in alphabetical order).
My administration will welcome reasonable suggestions. If you have any ideas for platform planks please feel free to suggest them.
It's time to elect an administration led by someone who understands public education. It's time to end the corporatization and privatization of our nation's school system.
**I have borrowed (and expanded) some of my platform points from Parents Across America.
*No, I'm not really running for president. It would be nice if we could get someone in office who could do all the things listed in the platform, above, but in order to do that we also would have to elect pro-public school candidates to local, state and national offices. A president can't do everything on his/her own, even if he/she wanted to. Please do not send campaign contributions. Support your local public schools, contribute to a local food bank, or support pro public education organizations instead.