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Clinton Ally Says School Choice — Which Hillary Supported As First Lady — Means Resegregation Of Schools

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Senators who support Betsy DeVos for education secretary are supporting the “resegregation” of schools, according to Felicia Wong, a Clinton ally and president of the Roosevelt Institute.

As noted by Politico, the Roosevelt Institute — a liberal nonprofit — was “hunting for hundreds of candidates to fill government roles in a Clinton administration” and Wong was “in direct contact with members of the transition team and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta” back when Clinton was expected to win the presidency.

Now, Wong is leading the charge against DeVos, Trump’s nominee for education secretary. In a column for CNN on Monday Wong argued that DeVos’s support for school choice — which proponents argue helps minority students by allowing them to attend otherwise unaffordable private schools — is akin to supporting resegregation of schools.

Wong claims that “so much of the current movement in favor of school choice and religious education carries the stain of racial animosity, even in dog-whistle form.” School choice, she claims is about “the kind of ‘freedom’ associated with the flight away from integration and toward racial isolation.” According to Wong, DeVos’s support for school choice means she would be “a Secretary of Education associated with a more exclusive and racially exclusionary vision.”

Wong’s article leaves out the fact that Hillary Clinton used to support charter schools. The Wall Street Journal editorial board argued last July that Clinton’s flip-flop on charter schools was a political forfeit to powerful teacher’s unions.

“We remember when Mrs. Clinton wasn’t so easily intimidated by unions,” the WSJ charged.

“Bill Clinton’s grant program took the movement from a few schools to thousands. In Mrs. Clinton’s 1996 memoir, ‘It Takes a Village,’ she wrote that she favored ‘promoting choice among public schools, much as the President’s Charter Schools Initiative encourages.’ And here’s Mrs. Clinton in 1998: ‘The President believes, as I do, that charter schools are a way of bringing teachers and parents and communities together.’”

The WSJ editors noted that “Mrs. Clinton’s switcheroo follows the pro-union turn of the Democratic Party platform. This year’s original draft was at least mildly pro-reform, but the final version opposes using test scores to evaluate teachers, encourages parents to opt out of testing for their kids, and endorses multiple restrictions on charters that would make them much less effective.”

They concluded: “In this election year of bad policy choices, the Democratic retreat from school choice and accountability is the most dispiriting.”


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