KEENE, N.H. - Today, Jeb Bush held a Town Hall in Keene, New Hampshire, just a day after he bashed teachers at an Education Summit in Londonderry and said he wanted to voucherize education, a concept that would drain resources from our public education system and from programs that support low-income kids.
President of the Keene Education Association, Maureen Meyer made the following statement, in response:
“One by one, the Republican Presidential candidates have attacked teachers for being the problem, not part of the solution. When Jeb Bush admitted yesterday that he wanted to dismantle and voucherize our education system, it’s clear that he isn’t putting kids first or respecting the positive impact our public schools and teachers have on vulnerable, low-income children here in New Hampshire.”
“If the candidates really wanted comprehensive education plans that put students first, they should have invited the experts to talk to them - the members of their teacher associations.”
But Jeb Bush wasn’t the only one bashing teachers yesterday. Here’s a sampling of what some of the candidates said:
Jeb Bush: Blamed unions for problems in schools and even ‘bragged’ about his fights with teachers in Florida all while suggesting we voucherize education to the detriment of students across New Hampshire.
John Kasich: Instead of explaining his harmful $1.8 billion cut to public schools, he said this: "If I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers' lounges, where they sit together and worry about, 'Woe is us.'"
Chris Christie: Doubled down on previous comments that teachers deserve “a punch in the face” while saying nothing of the over $1 billion in damaging cuts he made to education funding in New Jersey.
Scott Walker: Said unions were a “barrier” to quality education and touted his union-busting credentials. Not discussed? His massive cuts to education funding in Wisconsin.
Carly Fiorina: Said teachers unions were “partially responsible for crippling innovation in schools”
The Concord Monitor reported that “one voice conspicuously absent from the list of panelists at Wednesday’s education summit of Republican presidential candidates was that of a teacher.” Read more about the attacks on teachers and response below or click here for the full article:
Concord Monitor // Ella Nilsen
One voice conspicuously absent from the list of panelists at Wednesday’s education summit of Republican presidential candidates was that of a teacher.
Outside the education summit at Londonderry High School, it was a different story.
They “have openly come out against public schools and really would like to dismantle public schools,” said NEA-NH president Scott McGilvray. “We can’t let it go without pushing back against it.”...
The animosity between the teachers’ union members outside and the Republican candidates inside was palpable.
As each of the six candidates took the stage, they often blamed unions for country’s struggle with education. Many said the organizations exist only “to collectively bargain” and protect the interest of their members...
Carly Fiorina called teachers unions “pretty universally on the wrong side of these issues.”
Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker called unions a “barrier” to good education and talked at length about his own highly publicized fight against them in his home state of Wisconsin.
“The NEA went after me,” Walker said. “I threaten them; I threaten them because I care about getting things done.”...
McGilvray and other teachers union leaders from Maine denied the way candidates were characterizing them and said their organizations are there to support teachers and students, saying that without fair pay and benefits, fewer teachers will want to join the profession.
“We’re not the villains,” said Strout.
McGilvray said he was concerned the 2016 Republican candidates were taking their stances on education to the extreme.
“I believe among the top candidates are the most anti-public education, anti-working class group we have ever seen,” he said.
NEA NH officials said they have invited each Republican presidential candidate to talk about education issues and potentially receive the union’s endorsement… This election cycle, no Republican candidate has yet responded, Strout said.
“Not one of them said thank you for the invitation,” he said. “It says they don’t want to engage with people who know what’s going on in schools.”...
“We need to stop the attacks on public education by uniting behind policies that are right for our children and right for our schools,” McGilvray said.