So, Betsy Devos got confirmed. It's a sad day for public education. Ms Devos comes into office with absolutely no experience in public schools and a lifetime of advocating for them. From a personal standpoint, seeing my Senator Johnny Isakson vote for her might have been the saddest part. I worked as an intern for Senator Isakson, and I was hoping he would be willing to stand up for the right thing in education, rather than the party thing.
Through Senator Isakson, I saw one of the biggest issues in public education: politics. All too often we are letting members of both the Federal and State Congresses make education decisions based on what their party says. It does not matter if it's a poor decision for kids.
I have seen some say that Ms. Devos will get the federal government out of the education system and return local control to the states. If that were the case I might be more for her, but for those that think that I ask, "How do you figure?" Ms. Devos has spent her life working on education from a government level. Now she sits in a seat of power to push that policy through. If anything, my guess is we are for more politics in education.
As I have contemplated the reasons behind some of our Republican Senators votes, I have come to the conclusion that the voice of teachers was just plain not loud enough. Teachers are just not heard. Yes, there are teachers union groups in Washington to lobby, but they have been delegitimized over and over again. At this point, no matter what good they do, they can't help.
We need a grassroots organization made of educators that can be mobilized to lobby for education policy. From the little bit I have seen, this group does not exist. I, of course, may be wrong, and I would love to help if it does.
Again, this group should not be a teachers union. To keep it legitimized they should focus completely on the policy that affects kids, and they should ignore the things that focus on things like teachers job benefits. As soon as a group moves to discussing shared benefits, there is a certain group of the country that does not listen.
With an advocacy group like this, all of the educators putting their views out on Social Media could have had a unified front. A group like this can also make powerful statements with Marches on Washington and State Capitols. It could be a powerful way to say we won't settle for the status quo of politics entangling education.
Not matter what party you associate with, I think you can agree that teachers really don't have a say in education policy. Education advocacy is fragmented, and teachers unions hold no weight with a certain group of politicians. It's time we change that. Who's with me?