August 3, 2020

Goodbye Mr. Booker

Dear Mr. Booker,

When you emerged as a young, talented, highly educated leader years ago public schools in this country were miseducating black children en masse. 

Today, as you run for president that problem continues. 

But something changed between the you back then and the you today: your relationship with truth.

In a time when too many families are redlined into carefully gerrymandered education deserts, those hope-killing places where middle-class “workers” drive in each day to collect paychecks from school systems only to leave miseducated, marginalized kids in their rear view mirrors as they leave at 4 pm, you choose to step away from school choice and reform.

To bad old Cory is gone because that guy was a master of positive triangulation capable of forging bipartisan local and national relationships to raise money and interests in closing bad schools, opening good ones, fixing teacher contracts, and working on behalf of parents so desperate they were routinely lying about their addresses to gain admission to suburban schools. 

20 years ago when your entered politics only 1% of Newark’s students were in charter schools. Today the percentage of students in charters has risen to 30%. Graduation rates rose from 59% to 74% between 2010 and 2015. Poorly performing staff were replaced with high-quality educators.

You did that with the help of dedicated friends (the ones you now betray).

It’s still not perfect, but it offers hope that systems can make improvement without first blaming families, children, and their low socioeconomic status.

Instead of running a campaign based on truth-telling about the unjust conditions under which black children are schooled but rarely educated you choose the low road, an opportunistic one paved with self-interest and phony Spartacus moments. 

Back in 2000 you unequivocally supported expanding educational options for families in poverty, but now you say “the evidence has become clear that vouchers do not help — and in fact, hurt — the cause of educational equity.”

There are three things wrong with that. 

First, our families still need champions who will demand they get new opportunities to learn for children. Why crossover to the wrong side of history?

Second, what you said about vouchers is bullshit. The research is clear that there are benefits to offering families choice. Why lie?

And, third, you just voted for school vouchers a few months ago. Did the research dramatically change since then?

Bruh, this is shameful. You look like Mr. Bojangles tap dancing on the sun while the American Federation of Teachers shoot bullets at your feet.

You were once a solid fighter for school improvement and parental rights, but your soul is on vacation. The bright lights of politics have turned you into a callow and opportunistic puppy licking the ankles of traditional education voters. 

Pro tip: they will never love, like, or respect you.

Sadly, neither will the faces at the bottom of the well who need you to fight for better education.

After several disastrous years of watching the moral core of the American presidency erode the last thing we need is yet another politician who waivers in the wind and turns on his friends.

We deserve better.

One thought on “Goodbye Mr. Booker

  1. I couldn’t agree with your voucher position more. And I wish that Cory were more courageous about his own position. But I believe (and I hope I’m right) that his positions and statements on vouchers have been badly and purposely misreported by media anxious to get him and his pro-school choice voice out of the race. I served on the ASC board with Betsy Cory and Howard. Feel free to call me. 512-550-6748

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