A new Congress and a new presidential administration mean a new set of priorities for education policy. Our advocacy team provides an introduction to the biggest players in the federal education scene in Advocacy Agenda—and NASSP stands ready to work with any one of those public officials who shares our commitment to the bedrock value of public education. In fact, public education can be successful only when that commitment is aligned from the federal level all the way down to the local level of policymaking.
That is why I find so disturbing the prospects of privatization that have dominated education discussions since Election Day. The case against vouchers and for-profit charters is well established, and we can expect to hear the main points in various forms in the coming months: They serve primarily to enrich private industry at the expense of kids. They have an unfortunate history of failure. They selectively admit students and relegate neighborhood schools to “schools of last resort.” And on and on.
Those points are true. Yet even more fundamental is that privatization betrays the very purpose for which public education was imagined. Our founders envisioned public education not as an individual benefit, but as a common good. Its goal is to prepare all young people—regardless of demographics, developmental challenges, or even language—for active and constructive participation in American democracy. As such, all of us—regardless of whether my child is in a public school—are invested in the success of our public schools.
Public schools gladly receive every student, and we accept the accountability for teaching them to their best potential. We simply ask our public officials to share that commitment with us. And they can expect that NASSP will vigorously oppose any effort to do otherwise.
Executive Director, NASSP