Betsy DeVos Charter Schools Corporate Reform Democrats for Education Reform Denver Education Reform School Choice Vouchers

Jeannie Kaplan: Denver’s Corporate Reformers Try to Distance Themselves from DeVos

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Jeannie Kaplan watches with amusement as the corporate reform-led Denver School Board tries to distance themselves from Betsy DeVos.

She says, “They can run, but they can’t hide.”

You see, Denver Board of Education and superintendent, once the drip of privatization as characterized particularly by choice and charters starts, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to stop. What starts as a drip quickly becomes a flood that is almost impossible to control. You may truly not believe in vouchers, but you have fostered an atmosphere in Denver where vouchers could be the logical outcome of Choice and Charters, intended or not. And while DFER, too, tried to separate itself from parts of the Trump/DeVos agenda, it simultaneously sent out a notice congratulating “Betsy DeVos on her appointment as Secretary of Education, and we applaud Mrs. DeVos’s commitment to growing the number of high-quality public charter schools.” Further, Betsy DeVos has given money to DFER which in turn has given lots of money to DPS campaigns including the Committee for Denver’s Kids cited below. You can’t always have it both ways, and even the best public relations departments cannot always convince you of their stories.

This is a problems for all the Democrats who have cheered on “school choice,” but thought they could draw the line at vouchers. Like Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado, who is a major supporter of charters. Like Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, who wants to be President and has been a major supporter of charters. Like California Governor Jerry Brown, who never saw a charter he didn’t like. Like Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who voted against DeVos, but advocates both charters and vouchers.

Once you jump on board the school choice train, it is hard to explain why you only meant charters, not vouchers.

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