Opponents of Ed Reform Also Unhappy With Candidates’ Silence on Education
Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have already received countless advice, both solicited and unsolicited, on what they should say during tonight’s debate at Hofstra University. However, the Journey for Justice Alliance, a network of community groups skeptical of education reform, is now offering another piece of guidance that is frequently urged by reformers as well: to talk about education.
Tonight, the Alliance plans to march from a park in Uniondale, N.Y. to nearby Hofstra, demanding that the candidates address what they argue as subpar education opportunities provided to students of color. Jitu Brown, the Alliance national director, expressed his frustration at the silence of all the presidential candidates on the issue of public education. He questions why, despite massive student walkouts and thousands of people protesting for better schools, the candidates remain quiet.
To coincide with the march, the Alliance has released a seven-point education platform that they hope the next president will prioritize. Their platform includes a call for a halt in the growth of charter schools, an end to "zero tolerance" disciplinary policies, a decrease in standardized testing, and the elimination of state takeovers of struggling school districts. Furthermore, the Alliance supports increased funding for community schools and investments in diversifying the teaching workforce.
Melissa Figueroa, a board member for the Hempstead Union Free School District, criticized the significant disparities in the quality of education provided to students in various districts. She emphasized the seriousness of the crisis in Hempstead and demanded meaningful solutions and conversation from the candidates.
The Journey for Justice Alliance gained recognition through a 34-day hunger strike last year to protest the closure of Dyett High School in Chicago. This strike ultimately led to the reopening of the school as a neighborhood arts high school. The strike was organized by Jitu Brown and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, which works in coordination with the Journey for Justice Alliance.
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