Consistency, it turns out, can be inconvenient on the campaign trail.
It’s hardly shocking news, then, that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has suddenly become a critic of public charter schools — despite a long and well-documented history as a leading advocate of charters. After all, she is now in debt to the two major teachers unions for their early endorsements, and their leaders loathe any challenge to the traditional public school establishment
So it was that last week, at a South Carolina political forum moderated by journalist Roland Martin, Clinton unleashed a broad (and false) criticism: “Most charter schools… don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation because they do, thankfully, take everybody, and then they don’t get the resources or the help… they need.”
Clinton’s argument is not only misleading, but it also puts at risk the level of enthusiasm she generates among black voters, whom she needs to turn out in huge numbers. Doesn’t she know that black voters are staunch charter school supportersIn fact, according to the recent Education Post parent poll, 72% of black parents support charter schools, as do 69% of Hispanic parents. In fact, nationally 65% of parents across all categories support charter schools. (White families are slightly lower, at 63%.) In fact, just about everyone, save teacher union leaders and anti-charter lobbyists, agree that these independent public schools offer children opportunities for access to higher academic expectations and achievement. Haynes continues,
Not so long ago, Clinton would have stood up to those special interests determined to block progress for millions of school children. In her 1996 book, “It Takes a Village,” she wrote: “I favor promoting choice among public schools, much as (President Clinton’s) Charter Schools Initiative encourages. Federal funding is needed to break through bureaucratic attitudes that block change and frustrate students and parents, driving some to leave public schools.”
Clinton ought to go back to the future — and revive her advocacy for public charter schools.
Labels: AFT, camden, charter schools, Clinton, NEA, school choice