As a instructor who believes that the United States public schooling system is the cornerstone of American democracy and financial mobility, frustration doesn’t even start to explain how I really feel that presidential candidates have mentioned practically nothing about Okay-12 schooling since I stepped foot in my first classroom within the fall of 2008. I’ve watched my very own college students’ lives fall into irrecoverable disrepair because of crude and research-dismissive insurance policies that deal with them like check scores as an alternative of human beings with dwelling lives, trauma and desires. The biggest academics I do know typically ask themselves why they’re paid so little to show to a check once they have sacrificed profession and private alternatives out of a way of accountability and love for kids. It is not any surprise that 48% of U.S. academics are “actively looking for a different job now or watching for opportunities.”
Almost 4 years earlier than anybody knew Betsy DeVos’s title, I used to be invited to the White House and sat down with President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to debate Universal Pre-Okay and schooling know-how, points which have a direct impression on American kids’s lives. Yet nobody else in that dialog, together with the Secretary of Education himself, had ever taught in an American public college constructing. Nearly everybody on the desk was a enterprise chief and stood to revenue from the affect that they had at that assembly. I used to be outraged.
But on Friday, one thing massive modified. A top-tier presidential candidate listened to a public college instructor (like, really somebody who has spent years educating kids in an American public college classroom) and launched a coverage primarily based on that instructor’s concepts.
And it seems that this instructor was me.
I’ve been writing about Okay-12 schooling matters for Forbes because the first few weeks of the Trump presidency and left the classroom within the spring of 2017 to run for United States Senate in Maine. I turned the Democratic nominee in 2018 and helped promulgate Medicare For All, Green New Deal, and different progressive reforms, however was involved that our motion might by no means actually stage the taking part in subject for my college students and their households with out meaningfully addressing Okay-12 schooling’s huge inequity issues. So, I crafted the “$60Okay Federal Minimum Teacher Salary,” an deliberately daring coverage mandating that each instructor earn no less than $60,000 in order that top-notch expertise will be employed and retained by faculties in all American communities. When Bernie Sanders introduced his 2020 marketing campaign I wrote an article entitled, “To Win, Bernie Sanders Needs To Do More For Teachers,” suggesting that he create an identical plan with the addition of restrictions on constitution faculties and higher safeguards for placing academics.
So, when Bernie Sanders outlined his detailed Okay-12 schooling plan, which prominently contains a $60,000 minimal wage for American academics in addition to limitations on constitution faculties and the growth of academics’ collective bargaining rights, I cried. Not one bit as a result of I used to be upset that nobody on his marketing campaign group known as to seek advice from me about my concept. Teachers aren’t used to getting a lot credit score.
I cried out of pleasure as a result of my coronary heart by no means left my classroom. I ran for main workplace to combat for my college students who nonetheless attend that very same public college the place I taught. Knowing top-tier presidential candidate who’s the modern-day trailblazer for progressive coverage endorsed a plan rooted in schooling analysis and instructor expertise which may give my college students and their households a greater shot on the American dream made each small sacrifice my household and I’ve made value it.
Bernie Sanders’ schooling plan is much from good. It ought to embrace extra planning time for academics, extra free play time for kids, a prohibition on the usage of standardized testing knowledge for instructor and college analysis, funding for varsity counselors and social staff, a mandate to decolonize school-bought curriculum, extra tangible targets for sophistication measurement discount, and an emphasis on the very fact the purpose of a faculty is to develop the entire youngster: cognitive, bodily, social and emotional well-being.
Bernie, I don’t want any credit score if you happen to use these concepts. I’ll simply be glad that no less than a presidential candidate is listening to an American public college instructor for as soon as.