Last year, there were numerous walkouts as teachers nationwide protested the lack of funding for public schools. As the new school year begins, the debate over funding isn’t going away.
For many parents, getting their child a good education is a top priority. Democrats and Republicans alike can agree on that, but they tend to disagree on the ways to do it.
One example: the broad issue of school choice.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a strong advocate of using taxpayer dollars for charter, private and religious schools, saying it gives parents, including low-income families, more options on where they can send their children.
“You have your more traditional Democrats who are saying, ‘No, we don't support, ever, pulling funding from public education to put it into private schools,” says Tiffany Cross, a Democratic strategist. “That devastates communities, as we've seen.”
In addition to school choice, Republicans say they generally disagree with Democrats on how schools should be run.
“We think administrators should be given the power to hire good teachers and fire bad teachers,” expresses Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist. “They should be able to give out merit pay to good teachers. That differs from Democrats, who are pretty much in line with the teacher’s unions, where teachers simply get to keep their job and get a pay increased based on how long they've been there, not the quality of their teaching.”
However, Cross believe Democrats support bargaining for educators collectively.
“It's hard to say that all Democrats feel one way about public education, but I'd say, generally, Democrats support collective bargaining for educators, National Education Association and the American Federation for Teachers, and they want to see the pipeline for great educators in needy communities that need them.”