Democrats like education reform too

Patrick Gibbons

Yes, Democrats do support meaningful education reform

Alan Stock at KXNT invited me on his show to talk about education reform and my commentary “Civil rights groups’ education proposal misses the mark.” Overall the interview was good, but on my drive home (this always happens) I realized I forgot to say something very important (in TV and radio interviews, or with any public speaking, my mind is always racing from one fact to the next so I’m bound to miss something). I realized I came down a little too hard on Democrats – the real problem I talked about was with congressional Democrats, which (like congressional Republicans) don’t represent the views of all Democrats.

In reality, not all Democrats are against serious and meaningful education reform – I even did an entire blog on this subject. Not only are President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan both supportive of serious education reform, but the entire city council of D.C., plus the mayor, are in favor of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Furthermore, half of the African American Democrats in Florida voted to expand the “Step Up For Students” scholarship program. Finally, there is an entire group called “Democrats for Education Reform.”

Education reform isn’t a conservative vs. liberal or Republican vs. Democrat issue – or at least it shouldn’t be – I’m sorry I forgot to make this point.

That said, education is a real wedge issue with Democrats today. Democrats are stuck between the very powerful teacher unions who fork out millions of dollars every campaign cycle and constituents, especially low-income and minorities, who suffer from the sub-par public education monopoly the union hopes/prays (and pays so it) will linger for all eternity.

You can listen to my interview here, but remember, not all Democrats are against charter schools, vouchers, teacher evaluations and merit pay.