The Democratic Party has adopted language critical of school choice.
During a session of the Democratic Platform Committee on July 7th, an amendment passed with near unanimous approval adding language to the party’s platform critical of charter schools. The party will only support charter schools managed by government school boards (instead of trustees), and insists on a list of “community reflection” criteria, including racial makeup and proportions of non-English speakers and children with disabilities. These are to be reflective of public school makeup.
Above all, the platform amendment emphasized that charter schools should in no way threaten the dominance of traditional public schools:
“We believe that high quality public charter schools should provide options for parents, but should not replace or destabilize traditional public schools.” (emphasis added)
Platform change represents a win by big labor
The platform change represents a win by big labor unions. Teachers unions are tradition enemies of the school choice movement, which seeks to liberalize schooling by cutting costs and providing parents and students with other educational options. Teachers unions benefit from a lack of choice, since a monopoly on education significantly increases their collective bargaining leverage.
Right to Work legislation seeks to increase worker freedom by banning mandatory unionization, allowing workers to choose whether or not they wish to join a union. This also decreases the power of labor unions, since workers will often choose not to join a union, and in so doing eschew paying union dues while gaining the ability to choose from a much more diverse labor market. Currently, 26 states, slightly over half, have passed right to work legislation.
School choice benefits struggling students and inner city kids
School choice programs have a strong record of improving the lives of students, particularly those from disadvantaged communities and backgrounds. Students enrolled in school choice programs report significantly higher graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and academic achievement, while saving money over traditional public schooling.