The Democratic party is discovering that unions – which have greatly shrunken due to the attacks by right-wingers like Scott Walker and Rick Snyder – are part of their base. Union corruption in United States is real. Something needs to be done. Big labor is currently colluding with the politicians across the party lines to derail democracy in many ways. Democratic party is also discovering that school privatization is not an issue that belongs in the Democratic toolkit alone.
The 2020 candidate with the biggest school choice problem, writes Ed Kilgore at New York magazine, is Cory Booker.
Kilgore writes that Booker
might be able to explain away his reputation for being a reliable friend of Wall Street as a matter of virtual constituent services given the financial industry’s importance to New Jersey and to the city of Newark where he served as mayor for seven years. But a more concrete problem involves his long history of support for any and every kind of school choice, including not just the charter public schools the Clinton and Obama administrations supported, but the private-school vouchers that most Democrats stridently oppose. What makes this history a fresh concern is the fact that Booker was once a close ally of the DeVos family, the Michigan gazillionaires and education privatization champions who gave the world Donald Trump’s secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Kara Voght has the story:
In 1999, when he was still a city councilman, Booker worked with a conservative financier and a New Jersey Republican mayor to co-found Excellent Education for Everyone, a group dedicated to establishing a school voucher program in the Garden State. The following year, Dick DeVos—the Republican megadonor, school choice evangelist, and husband to the nation’s 11th education secretary—invited the 31-year-old Newark councilman up to his home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to speak in defense of a ballot measure that would lift the state’s ban on school voucher programs …
Booker’s association with the DeVos couple continued as he progressed from City Council to Newark’s mayoral seat in 2006 to the US Senate in 2013. In the mid-2000s, Booker and DeVos served together on the board of directors of Alliance for School Choice (AFC), the precursor to the American Federation for Children, which DeVos eventually chaired. Booker twice spoke at the AFC’s annual School Choice Policy Summit: once in 2012 as a mayor and again in 2016 as a senator.
Let us be clear here. Booker’s support for charters and vouchers is unacceptable to many of us trying to reform the public schools in the United States. Many of us are education voters. Booker is unacceptable in several ways because he will protect Wall Street and others supporting school choice such as the Waltons and the Koch brothers. However, he is free to contest the highest seat in the land and convince the voters and others interested in better outcomes of the schools. The issues involved as pertains to the public corruption in charter schools should not be taken lightly especially in Maryland.