Demanding End to 'Failed Billionaire-Backed' Policies, 200+ Teachers and Activists Urge Biden to Go Bold on Public EducationHistorians in the News
tags: education, Diane Ravitch, Joe Biden, 2020 Election, education history
A group of more than 200 teachers, academics, and activists on Tuesday published an open letter calling on presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to commit to a bold education platform that puts the needs of students first and breaks decisively from the decades-long bipartisan record of attacks on public schools.
"You have the power to fight for the public schools and colleges and universities that our students deserve," reads the letter, which was signed by New York University professor Diane Ravitch, Princeton University emeritus professor Cornel West, author and activist Jonathan Kozol, and 212 others. (See the full letter and list of signatories below.)
"Over the past decade, politicians on both sides of the aisle have made devastating cuts to public education, while privatizing public schools, scapegoating educators, and providing massive tax breaks to corporations and the rich," the letter continues. "These attacks have resulted in a national teacher shortage and reduced educational opportunities for many of our students—especially students of color, those from low-income households, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities."
The letter demands that Biden include in his platform a number of policies that have long been at the center of progressives' education agenda, including:
- Complete cancellation of all outstanding student loan debt and a cap on student loan interest rates in the future;
- Tuition-free public colleges, universities, and trade schools;
- A moratorium on public funds for charter school expansion until the completion of an audit "to determine the impact of charter growth in each state";
- A ban on for-profit charter schools and for-profit colleges and universities;
- Free and universal school meals; and
- A starting salary of no less than $60,000 per year for teachers and expansion of collective bargaining rights.
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