Ohio’s Educators Expect Education Policy Answers from Presidential Debate

[September 28] As presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump prepare to face off on the debate stage in Cleveland Tuesday, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) is preparing to host a virtual watch party for Ohio’s educators and facilitate local watch parties across the state. Ohio’s teachers, education support professionals, students, and families deserve concrete answers about critical education policy questions that will likely come up during the debate.

“The president can greatly shape the direction of education policy for the nation, directing national policies for everything from whether to provide schools with crucial COVID-19 relief funding to whether to hold for-profit charter schools to the same level of accountability as America’s public schools,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “Ohioans have a right to know where each candidate stands on the educational issues before they cast their ballots in this election.”

Early in his campaign, Joe Biden released a comprehensive plan for K-12 and higher education in the United States, pledging to invest in universal pre-kindergarten, triple the funds for Title I schools to ensure resources go to low-income communities where the need is highest, address racial injustice, and expand community schools. Biden also supports small class sizes and free tuition at community colleges, as well as at public colleges and universities for families making less than $125,000 a year. Throughout his career, Biden has championed America’s educators, including his wife, Jill, and has promised to appoint a teacher to serve as Secretary of Education, if he’s elected.

“Donald Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has no experience in a classroom and no plans for America’s public schools, other than continuing to funnel federal funding to private and for-profit charter schools, which perform poorly in comparison with local public schools serving similar students,” DiMauro said. “President Trump and Betsy DeVos have continued to push for so-called ‘school choice’ on principle, without any consideration for the actual educational outcomes or the damage these voucher programs cause in low-income and communities of color, especially.” Detailed analyses of the disastrous results of Ohio’s voucher program can be found here and here.

Ohioans are also anticipating a robust discussion on Trump’s latest ideological overreach: his proposal for a ‘1776 Commission’ to shove a federally controlled curriculum down our kids’ throats. “Shaping curriculum content is not a federal responsibility; it has always been a state’s right. One would think that Trump and his allies would have remembered parents’ outrage over the Common Core before backing this even greater federal government overreach. It would strip American school districts of their legally-enshrined local control, which is, in itself, concerning. The truly propogandist nature of the Commission’s curriculum is downright alarming, It’s what China does and the Soviet Union used to do, never the United States. Until this President,” DiMauro said.

“As a Social Studies teacher, this attack on public education is personal,” DiMauro added. “I became an educator 30 years ago to provide students the critical thinking and decision-making skills they need to be successful citizens in our democratic society. These skills can only be learned through a well-rounded and robust curriculum that neither hides nor celebrates all chapters of American history. Silencing educators with executive orders that create heavy-handed national commissions and threatening to withhold critical federal funding from schools that don’t fall in line with federal dictates is wrong in every way.”

President DiMauro and several educators across Ohio will be available after Tuesday’s debate to offer their perspectives on education issues raised by the candidates. Please contact OEA Media Relations Consultant Katie Olmsted to arrange interviews.


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