Bernie Sanders voted to appoint John King as Education Secretary at a Senate committee hearing today. According to his Washington, DC Senate office, Sanders voted by proxy because he was out of town. Sanders is campaigning in Florida for the Democratic nomination for President.
Bernie Sanders’ support for John King stands in direct opposition to the thousands of online education activists who have supported his candidacy, despite little record on public education issues.
President Obama nominated King after his contentious stint as New York State Education Commissioner prompted headlines like this one in the Washington Post: If you think Arne Duncan is controversial, meet his successor.
Online education activist groups have fiercely complained about John King. Prominent blogger Anthony Cody named King’s implementation of Common Core in New York one of the “ten colossal errors” of the Common Core standards.
Another prolific blogger called the appointment of King a “tone deaf decision”, asking Do Democrats give a crap about education?
The online crew of education activists cried foul when both teachers unions endorsed Hillary Clinton. But what do they make of their candidate supporting their arch education enemy?
It’s a mistake for activists to give Bernie a pass even if it’s because they really want him to become President. A campaign is precisely the time when a candidate is most likely to declare a position to which they can be held to task for the next four years. It’s the time they are the most receptive to adjusting flawed positions--especially when he or she sees you’ve got the muscle of 55,000 online activists behind you.
We don’t know much about Bernie’s k-12 education positions. He passed up an opportunity to de-fund Common Core, the nemesis of progressive education activists, and he voted for an amendment to increase testing. Maybe the few education votes in his record would have been better if he had been informed by activists who were in a position to deliver advice as well as votes.
If Bernie becomes President and continues his current policy stands, education activists will learn they squandered their best opportunity to influence him.