There is nothing more essential to democracy than universal, free public education. Voting has no meaning without a literate and well-informed populace, and neither do the rights of a free press and free speech. I believe this so strongly that I would argue that private and religious schools should be banned as failing to address that universal need. In my own case, I spent a number of critical early years in a religious school and it took me many years to overcome the distortions inherent in that kind of miseducation.
The Democrats are betraying a fundamental of democracy with their catering to rightwing education-for-profit grifters in the current platform. But this is nothing new and exactly the policy pursued by Obama and Arne Duncan with their so-called Race to the Top scheme.