November 9, 2016 7:25 pm

Reflections on the election and the road ahead

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We at the Network for Public Education share your worry and dismay over last night’s presidential and congressional elections. The new president and the Republican platform support privatization in the form of charters, both for-profit and not for-profit, as well as vouchers. The platform supports the misguided philosophy that the forces of the marketplace should govern education.   Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to public schools as “government schools.”

It will be up to us in the years ahead to stand strong in our support of public schools. We must ensure that they survive what surely will be challenging times. We must fight because our public schools are the pillar of our democracy, even when the democratic process results in a choice we do not like.

We will grow in strength, number and resolve.  We will protect our immigrant students, Islamic students and students of color from frightening rhetoric and  xenophobic policies.

Last night there were some bright spots for public education, which we will report on in the coming days. Voters rejected “lifting the cap” on charters in Massachusetts. In Georgia, voters rejected Amendment 1, which sought to turn “failing schools” into charters controlled by the governor, not communities. And the Gates effort to tilt the Washington State Supreme Court towards charter schools was defeated.

We must now extend and build on that positive momentum across our 50 states in the face of what will be a concerted effort to privatize our schools, state by state.

Reflecting on the post-election challenges ahead, NPE President Diane Ravitch wrote, “We will win some, we will lose some, but we won’t give up. We will do what is right for children. We will defend teachers and the teaching profession. We will defend democratically-controlled public education. We will protect the public good.”

We all must be ready to continue to resist efforts to decimate the inclusive system of public education that built our country, our economy and our civil society.

Commit today to stand with us. We will stand with all of you.

Carol Burris

Executive Director of the Network for Public Education