Democratic education reformers, like many parents throughout the country, passionately believe that our public education system is struggling and needs to get better. But the DeVos appointment has left some of us in a state of confusion.
Some in the Democratic Party, with strong ties to the teachers unions, have outwardly blamed reform-minded Democrats for “helping pave the road for the DeVos nomination.” In addition, those who have advocated against a potentially extreme DeVos agenda believe the only way to fight her is through a traditionalist education agenda, based on the policies of special interests.
While many of us in the Democratic reform space share concerns regarding the DeVos appointment, such extreme tactics do not represent the will of parents. Up until recent years, working across the aisle to find common ground and bring compromise and develop needed results was once considered a patriotic endeavor. And it is clear that blindly following decades-old policy advocated by the teachers unions will certainly not address the current needs of our public school system.
Lost in this debate is the new opportunity provided to the Democratic party—to build on the Obama legacy and create a united, modern, “third-way” when it comes to the Democrat’s values on education.