Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Why DFER is the most important advocacy group in the US

Tom Vander Ark with a nice shout-out for DFER, saying it "may be the most important advocacy group in America":

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) may be the most important advocacy group in America.

In the long run, education is the issue that will most determine this country's role in the world.

In the long run, it will be the position of the leaders of the Democratic party, state by state and in congress, that will determine the quality of education in America.  Democrats have historically supported increased spending but not always measures that increase quality.  DFER makes the case in its statement of  principles:

A first-rate system of public education is the cornerstone of a prosperous, free and just society, yet millions of American children today – particularly low-income and children of color – are trapped in persistently failing schools that are part of deeply dysfunctional school systems. These systems, once viewed romantically as avenues of opportunity for all, have become captive to powerful, entrenched interests that too often put the demands of adults before the educational needs of children. This perverse hierarchy of priorities is political, and thus requires a political response.

Both political parties have failed to address the tragic decline of our system of public education, but it is the Democratic Party – our party – which must question how we allowed ourselves to drift so far from our mission. Fighting on behalf of our nation's most vulnerable individuals is what our party is supposed to stand for.

Democrats for Education Reform aims to return the Democratic Party to its rightful place as a champion of children, first and foremost, in America's public education systems.

We support leaders in our party who have the courage to challenge a failing status quo and who believe that the severity of our nation's educational crisis demands that we tackle this problem using every possible tool at our disposal.

We believe that reforming broken public school systems cannot be accomplished by tinkering at the margins, but rather through bold and revolutionary leadership.  This requires opening up the traditional top-down monopoly of most school systems and empowering all parents to access great schools for their children.

Like a few other groups, DFER supports high standards, strong accountability, and public school choice.  DFER is unique because it specifically supports courageous Democrats willing to challenge traditional alliances.  President Obama and Secretary Duncan have bravely supported DFER positions in most of their educational decisions.


Why DFER is the most important advocacy group in the US

by Tom Vander Ark

May 31, 2011


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