Anti-Devos rally makes no secret of rift within Dem ranks over education reform
Author: Dan Njegomir - July 20, 2017 - Updated: July 20, 2017
A mass-email from the Colorado Education Association Wednesday included a play-by-play account of that morning’s protest and rally at the Capitol denouncing Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s visit to Denver. So, even those who weren’t able to attend still got a feel for the event. And one of the feelings that was easy to pick up was that the overwhelmingly Democratic rally participants had little love for members of their own party who had embraced school choice and other education reforms.
A substantial slice of Democrats has done so, of course. There’s even a prominent national group, well represented in Colorado, called Democrats for Education Reform. Like-minded Dems include no less than the two most recent Democratic presidents, who supported charter schools, and closer to home, the current Denver Public Schools board. It has implemented a wide range of reforms including charters and innovation schools.
As we noted earlier this week, that probably explains why one of the Denver school board’s members, prominent Democrat and former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, was turned down when she asked to address Wednesday’s rally.
That privilege evidently was reserved for Democrats more in sync with the CEA — the event’s principal organizer — and its opposition to the reform movement. Democrats like state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, who didn’t mince words about who he sees as the enemy. As recounted in the CEA press release:
“Once public education is taken from you, you no longer have power and that is what is happening here,” said State Rep. Joe Salazar, who spoke at the rally with State Sens. Andy Kerr and Michael Merrifield. “Betsy DeVos and Democrats for Education Reform and the charter school movement are stripping power from you, and they are doing it knowingly.”
Barbara O’Brien, that means you — among others.