Democratic political infighting over education pulls the rug out from under black families The real bait and switch: Reformers’ selling school choice as justice
The U.S. Democratic political machine is in full gear this summer as special interest groups drive toward a common goal: Getting the party elected to the highest office in the land.
But the political action group Democrats for Education Reform has veered off the road, blasting negotiators who altered part of the 2016 Democratic Party platform in a nod to representatives who oppose charter schools and testing. (DFER called the changes “little more than a bait an switch,” and other like-minded reform groups followed suit.)
The “D” became silent in DFER when it shouted down the party platform. This strategic political act, showed to whom the group ultimately responds to, and please don’t say the children.
I applaud those who take principled stands. One has to respect Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for his non-endorsement of Trump under the bright lights of the Republican National Convention. Nevertheless, the political consequences of his very private stance are substantial. Cruz dealt a mighty blow upon a wedge deeply implanted in the foundation of the GOP. His calculation may very well have been to split the party. Nevertheless, Cruz knew what he was doing when he walked on that stage.
There are similar forces at work in the Democratic Party. Education reform is both wedge and hammer. The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools as well as the former Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S. Department of Education and current editor of Education Post respectively offered strong rebukes to the platform changes. Their respective promotions of certain reforms are not bound by party affiliation so no problem there.
But when “Democrats” is in the name, there’s a different expectation. The name assumes a willingness to work within the political process. If DFER can’t differentiate itself from other like-minded groups then it should simply be For Education Reform. How is attacking Clinton during this hour any different than a Republican?
“We bring criticism of the platform as a family member questions the misconduct of a fellow family member,” responds Shavar Jeffries, president of DFER. “We bring criticism to push the party to be true to the values it has embodied historically. Others may raise questions to undermine the forward progress of the party; we bring criticism to accelerate it.”