Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Teaching Profession

New Generation of Democrats Embraces School Choice

August 26, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If you were invited to an event promoting school choice to be held at a country club, who would you guess the audience would be?

a.) white Republicans

or

b.) a bipartisan, multi-racial group

Today, in Denver, the answer was b.

At a breakfast supporting efforts to expand students’ ability to enroll in charter and other public schools, Colorado state Senate President Peter C. Groff explained that the demographics of school choice are changing.

African-American policymakers under the age of 50 are no longer opposing school choice simply because they’re following the lead of their allies on other issues—mainly teacher unions, said Groff, 45, who is black.

“This is a generation that doesn’t look at race first, but policy first,” said Groff, 45, a Democrat. “It’s not looking at party first, but the best idea first.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the event’s main speaker, said charter schools in his New Jersey city are successful, but they don’t have enough seats to fill demand.

Many Newark families “break the law, literally,” said Booker, a Democrat. “They are faking addresses and sneaking [their children] into schools” in neighboring towns. School officials there investigate students and kick out those who live in Newark, charging their families tuition for the time they were enrolled.

“This is not the America I dream of,” Booker said.

The shift in attitudes isn’t only happening among blacks under 50, Groff said in an interview.

Groff’s father is a retired Denver public school teacher. Groff said he and his father debate school choice. “He’s coming along slowly,” Groff said. “Since he’s retired, he’s starting to say: ‘Now I can see why you want to have some of this flexibility.’”

Today’s event in a banquet room of the Denver Country Club was sponsored by the Alliance for Choice in Education, a group that provides scholarships for low-income Denver students to attend private K-12 schools. Groff and Booker didn’t endorse using public money to pay private school costs, however.

--David J. Hoff

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers’ Careers Go Through Phases. They Need Support in Each
Teachers experience a dip in job satisfaction a few years into their careers.
5 min read
Vector illustration of a female teacher at her desk with her head in her hands. There are papers, stacked notebooks, and a pen on the desk and a very light photo of a blurred school hallway with bustling students walking by in the background.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Download Downloadable: 5 Ways Principals Can Help With Teacher Burnout
This downloadable gives school leaders and teachers various ways to spot and treat teacher burnout.
1 min read
Silhouette of a woman with an icon of battery with low charge and icons such as a scribble line, dollar sign and lightning bolt floating around the blue background.
Canva
Teaching Profession Massages, Mammograms, and Dental Care: How One School Saves Teachers' Time
This Atlanta school offers unique onsite benefits to teachers to help them reduce stress.
3 min read
Employees learn more about health and wellness options during a mini benefits fair put on by The Lovett School in Atlanta on May 8, 2024.
Employees at the Lovett School in Atlanta meet with health benefits representatives during a mini benefits fair on May 8, 2024.
Erin Sintos for Education Week
Teaching Profession Opinion How Two Teachers Helped Me Weave a Dream
A journalist and debut book author dedicates her novel to two of her high school English teachers.
Anne Shaw Heinrich
3 min read
Image of nurturing the craft of writing.
Francis Sheehan for Education Week with N. Kurbatova / iStock / Getty