Educators look to raise their voice at Wednesday’s presidential education summit

by Félix Pérez

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Educators from New Hampshire, Connecticut and other northeastern states will inject their voice into the presidential campaign this Wednesday in Londonberry, NH, where a “non-partisan news site” run by an anti-teacher leader from the corporate education reform movement is hosting an education summit being attended by most of the leading Republican presidential candidates.

The first of two such presidential education forums — the second will be in Iowa in October with Democratic candidates — the event’s confirmed participants are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former business executive Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

campbell-brown-protesters-300x200Hosted by The Seventy Four, a self-described news site headed by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, the summit will have candidates engage with Brown “on a range of issues concerning American education.” Brown, who has financial and family ties with key corporate donors financing the privatization of public education, has made news in recent years for her anti-teacher agenda. Last summer, she filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn due process rights for teachers in New York.

The two summits are sponsored by the American Federation for Children, a leading advocacy group for private school vouchers. AFC lobbies elected officials to allow public school funding to be used for vouchers, online schools, home schools and charter schools.

Among the groups urging educators to “help reject the test, label, and punish ideas of so-called education reformers” headlining the event is the Connecticut Education Association:

Teachers need to send a message to anti-public education reformer Campbell Brown and the Republican presidential candidates speaking at the Ed Summit 2015, that we are tired of their failing vision. Help us lead and define a new vision for public education by joining our CEA and NEA colleagues from across New England in protesting the views of the candidates . . . who are scheduled to “perform.”

NEA-New Hampshire is also organizing its members to speak out at the event. “We know from experience that many of those invited to appear at the Summit are responsible for chronic under-funding of public education and systemic educator-bashing.”

Bush, Christie, Kasich and Walker each support diverting funding from public schools to use for private school vouchers. They also have well-estsblished records of going after teacher-led unions.

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