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Valerie Strauss: Democrats Paved the Way for Betsy DeVos

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Valerie Strauss wrote an excellent article about the hypocrisy of Democrats who now loudly oppose Billionaire Betsy DeVos, but spent the last eight years bashing teachers, unions, and public schools while pouring billions of dollars into the proliferation of privately-managed charter schools. Once Democrats became cheerleaders for school choice, they abandoned the principle that public schools under democratic control are a fundamental public responsibility.


I urge you to read this article, which recounts the perfidy of Democrats who fell for privatization and betrayed public education. In many cases, support for charter schools opened the door to billionaires and hedge funder donations, to groups like Democrats for Education Reform and Education Reform Now and Families for Excellent Schools. Think Corey Booker, Andrew Cuomo, Dannell Malloy. Think of the silence of the Democrats as the U.S. Department of Education spent more than $3 billion on charter schools. How do they now express opposition to DeVos’s love for charters (and vouchers). She has exposed their hypocrisy.


Both of my last two books are about this theme–how the Democrats embraced privatization and opened the door to vouchers.


So I have to add a couple of points to her accurate summary:


In March 2011, President Obama and Secretary Duncan were in Miami with Jeb Bush to celebrate the “turnaround” of Miami Central High School. At the same time, thousands of working people were protesting the anti-labor policies of Scott Walker in Madison. Neither Obama nor Duncan ever showed up in Madison to show support for the teachers and union members who support Democrats.


The other point that needs to be added is that a month after Obama, Arne, and Jeb met to toast the turnaround of Miami Central, the state education Department in Florida listed it as a “failing” school that should be closed. I reported this in “Reign of Error.” The press never did report it. Why were Obama and Arne burnishing Jeb’s “credentials” as a “reformer?” Paving the way for Jeb’s good friend Betsy DeVos.


Let’s see if Democrats rediscover the importance of public education, where all kids are welcome, no lottery, no exclusion of kids with disabilities. In public schools, not every child can get admission to every school, but every child must be served and enrolled. Not some, but all.

























have to add

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