Congressional Democrats who have taken heat for criticizing Trump and Republicans without putting forth their own positive vision of the future stepped up today with a bold plan to revive the American educational system, raise the pay for teachers and improve both the technology and infrastructure of American schools.
In the wake of historic teacher strikes in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado
To pay for what they call “A Better Deal” for America, and in this case for teachers and students, the Democrats propose raising $50 billion over the next decade by eliminating the Trump tax cut passed in December for the top one percent of earners.
“Instead of giving a tax cut to the richest Americans, we should give a pay raise to the teachers in this country who our students depend on to succeed – period,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today in a statement.
“Democrats in Congress,” adds Schumer, “hear the teachers marching on state capitols throughout the country demanding higher pay, and that’s why we’re proposing ‘A Better Deal’ for teachers.”
The specifics laid out by Democrats begin with dedicating “$50 billion to states and school districts to increase teacher compensation and recruit and retain a strong, diverse workforce over the next 10 years.”
It calls for the establishment of a $50 billion fund for school infrastructure and resources.
It envisions ensuring “all students have access to academic opportunities like computer science, music, and civics.”
It includes protecting “teachers’ freedom to negotiate for better pay and conditions by safeguarding the right of public employees to join unions, collectively bargain, and engage in collective action to support each other.”
It also includes meeting the legally mandated federal commitment to fund special education for those students with special needs, disabilities or other learning issues.
These are worthy and lofty goals so it would be great to be able to describe the major national attention today’s press conference to announce the education agenda received but that isn’t the case.
While every Trump tweet, no matter how bizarre, seems to create headlines, the notion of improving students performance, upgrading schools and giving education a priority – all by taking money back from the rich who didn’t need the Trump tax cut in the first place – evokes minimal conversation.
In part that is because with the Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, the chance of this passing immediately is non-existent.
In part, it is because the Democrats, despite having millions of PR professionals, artists, video editors and other creative people available to help them, have created materials that are less than exciting, and put up a video on YouTube today that seems as pedantic as a boring teacher.
How bad is their video? It is 33 minutes long but it takes 10 minutes before Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi finally appear and speak as if they are robots reading a script.
Democrats have to do a lot better job and find more creative ways, to get across their talking points that are important but not easy for the average person to follow.
Republicans present ideas that are short and to the point so that even if they are empty promises, the packaging is attractive.
What the Dems are doing here is a formula for being ignored, which is a real shame.
This should be a talking point for Democrats and progressives as we head into the midterm elections in November and the next presidential election because improving our deteriorating public educational system is a way to raise up the lives of students and in the future to provide better-trained workers and a healthier economy.
That may not be as sexy as a Trump tweet about the non-existent attack of the non-existent Deep State on his ability to make himself president for life, but it is the kind of basic, nuts and bolts actions that will be needed to keep America a leader in the future.