In an attempt to be transparent about its endorsing process, the National Education Association is recording interviews with all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. And Elizabeth Warren’s effort is right in line with her talk in Atlanta, in which she essentially trashed charter schools.
In the video, Warren advises parents: “If you think your public school is not working, then go help your public school. Go get more resources for it. Volunteer at your public schools. Help get the teachers and school bus drivers and cafeteria workers and the custodial staff and the support staff, help get them some support so they can do the work that needs to be done….”
Of course, she doesn’t acknowledge that schools, generally speaking, are already well-funded, and besides, average parents are not equipped to take on the bureaucracy, which would simply eat them alive. Also, an average parent can’t control the unions’ child-unfriendly, contract-mandated tenure laws that keep mediocre and even incompetent teachers in secure, high-paying positions in most states. And an average parent cannot keep a great teacher from being knocked out of a job and replaced by a poorer performer because of the unions’ antiquated quality blind seniority system.
Warren knows this at heart, of course. When the public school she sent her son to didn’t meet her expectations, she didn’t “go help her public school.” Rather, she yanked him out and enrolled him into private schools – and tony ones, at that, in both Texas and Pennsylvania – for most of his k-12 schooling.
And that’s what all parents should have the option to do. But apparently the POTUS candidate thinks that if you don’t have a lot of money, you shouldn’t be able to do what she did. Ah, progressivism is just not what it used to be!
Warren’s flagrant elitism will not end well for her. A new poll by Real Clear Opinion Research posed the question:
School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs. Generally speaking, would you say you support or oppose the concept of school choice?
A whopping 68% said they support school choice and just 22% were against. Importantly, the numbers varied little across sub-groups: 69% of 18-24 year-olds were in favor as were 68% of 55-64 year-olds; 68% of whites were in favor, while 71% of blacks supported the concept.
There was a disparity between the political parties however, with 76% of Republicans in favor while just 64% of Democrats were. But still, this does not bode well for any Democratic candidate that takes a Warren-like stance on choice.
A survey conducted by Beck Research, a Democratic polling firm, found very similar results. Released in January, the poll reveals that nationally 73% of Latinos and 67% of African-Americans back “the broad concept of school choice,” as do 75% of millennials.
According to most studies, giving parents options is beneficial in many ways. The unionista claim that “vouchers hurt public schools” earns a hearty “Bah! Humbug!” Researcher Greg Forster, who examines every bit of data he can dig up, finds that in 32 of 34 empirical studies, “school choice improves academic outcomes in public schools affected by the program, while one finds no visible difference and one finds a negative impact.”
Additionally, Forster found that school choice overwhelmingly has a positive effect on taxpayers, ethnic segregation and civic values and practices, not to mention academic outcomes of choice participants.
The most important element of school choice is that it puts parents in the driver’s seat. According to findings by Cato scholar Corey DeAngelis, families of students in non-religious private schools are 27% more likely to be very satisfied than traditional public school families. Additionally, Catholic school parents and non-Catholic religious school parents “were 26 percent and 30 percent, respectively, more satisfied than traditional public school parents.”
To date, Warren is unconcerned by the real needs of parents. Her sole concern is the blessing of the teachers unions. Consequently, as the voters get wise to Warren’s priorities, her polling numbers are heading south. As of December 6th, her support dropped to its lowest level in four months. To be sure, there are other factors influencing voters, but her pandering to the special-interest unions is not helping her one bit.
[Originally Published at California Policy Center]