We now know where the proverbial “red line” falls for the Democratic presidential candidates and it’s not in Syria or Russia. It’s in Iowa and comes in the form of an
Education Summit to discuss K-12 education policy. They don’t quake in their boots over geopolitical risks; their fears bubble to the surface at the thought of sitting in a chair and speaking one on one with former journalist and education advocate Campbell Brown to talk about how best to educate America’s children. But they’re not afraid of Campbell Brown. They’re afraid of the unions who warned them not to attend the event. And with this decision to skip the Ed Summit, they’ve shown that the unions’ threats are more important to them, at least during a campaign, than the families whose children continue to fall through the cracks in systemic ways because of their family income and the color of their skin. Six Republican candidates attended
a version of the same forum hosted by The Seventy Four in New Hampshire this past August and I was there sitting 20 feet from them as they sat face to face with Brown for 45 uninterrupted minutes, each speaking candidly about their thoughts, plans, mistakes and philosophies around education policy. I may not have agreed with everything any of them said but I respected them for showing up and speaking their minds. As voters and members of the public, we now know where they stand. Jeb Bush and John Kasich knew they were entering a somewhat hostile situation as staunch supporters of the Common Core. They came anyway. Carly Fiorina knew she’s not particularly strong or up to speed on education policy. She came anyway. Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie and Scott Walker knew they’d be called out for flip flopping on Common Core. They came anyway. Democrats have a proclivity for calling themselves the party of the people, the only ones who care about the “little guy.” Well, lots of “little guys” need them to step up on education and talk about how they will work to fix a public educational system that is not working for a huge percentage of America’s children and families. Parents deserve to know if more school choices are likely to exist under a new president. They need to know if teachers in their kids’ schools are likely to be highly qualified or if the “best” teachers are reserved for those living in the “best” zip codes with higher incomes and whiter skin. It is nothing short of pathetic that the The Seventy Four has been forced to cancel its 2015 Iowa Education Summit because these presidential wannabes don’t have the guts to attend. It is even more pathetic that when asked about it, they are unwilling to go on the record as if somehow the event just vanished into thin air and as the saying goes, “there’s nothing to see here.” Well, they are right on that last part: There
is nothing to see here. No guts. No integrity. No decency. No regard for those whose votes they claim they want and are willing to earn. Well Dems, you may not be stepping up to the mic at the education forum in Iowa but we have heard you loud and clear.
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She has served on her local school board in Cumberland, Rhode Island, advocated for fair school funding at the state level, and worked on campaigns of candidates she considers to be champions for kids and true supporters of great schools. She is currently a Fordham senior visiting ...