The night before Democratic presidential candidates took to a debate stage here last week, black and Latino charter school parents and supporters gathered in a bland hotel conference room nearby to make signs they hoped would get the politicians’ attention.
“Charter schools = self-determination,” one sign read. “Black Democrats want charters!” another blared.
At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.
But this year, in a major shift, the leading Democratic candidates are backing away from charter schools, and siding with the teachers’ unions that oppose their expansion. And that has left some black and Latino families feeling betrayed.
“As a single mom with two jobs and five hustles, I’m just feeling kind of desperate,” said Sonia Tyler, who plans to enroll her children in a charter school slated to open next fall in a suburb of Atlanta. “They’re brilliant; they’re curious. It’s not fair. Why shouldn’t I have a choice"...
Since Bill Clinton’s presidency, the charter school movement has had Democratic backing. It was central to President Barack Obama’s education legacy. But this campaign season, charter schools present a challenging issue for the four Democratic frontrunners for the nomination, all of whom are white, in a nominating contest that will be heavily influenced by black voters...
Richard Buery, chief of policy at KIPP, the nation’s largest charter network, called the Democratic shift “a reflection more broadly of the lack of respect for black voters in the party.”
“These are folks that should be champions of black children and allies of black educators,” said Buery, a Democrat.
Sunday, December 01, 2019
Minorities Are Some of the Biggest Supporters of Charter Schools in the US
The Democrats risk losing minorities, and shafting children in the process, when they march in lockstep with self-serving teachers union views on charters: