PA’s Black Democrats Love Charter Schools

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Reading only the progressive PA politics Internet, you might get the idea that Anthony Hardy Williams is going to be in bad shape for the Philadelphia Mayoral race in 2015, since he’s made school reform his signature issue for years, but recently *everyone* in the Democratic base has become radicalized in opposition to Corporate School Reform™ policies like vouchers and charter schools. After all, everybody I read on Twitter who cares a lot about this issue seems to have very strident left wing views on the topic.

Except it’s mainly just white liberals who feel this way! Black Democrats lopsidedly support vouchers:

Overall, voters opposed “providing financial assistance to help parents in low-income families send their children to private or charter schools,” aka vouchers, by a solid 54% to 31% margin.

But respondents had widely different views based on race. White Democrats oppose vouchers 63% to 23%. But black Democrats support vouchers, 58% to 30%.

It’s remarkable how not in trouble Anthony Williams’ candidacy is on this issue. It turns out he’s actually just been delivering what his voters want.

Here’s a similar issue where there’s a big divide between the white upper middle class liberals overrepresented on Twitter and the actual Democratic base.

You may have heard on the Internet that Allyson Schwartz is a big New Democrat sellout, but it turns out she’s far and away the favorite candidate of actual self-described liberals in the electorate. Real life voters don’t read Keystone Politics and they aren’t hearing your grousing on Twitter :(

(via Keegan Gibson)

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

14 Responses to PA’s Black Democrats Love Charter Schools

  1. It’s remarkable how not in trouble Anthony Williams’ candidacy is on this issue. It turns out he’s actually just been delivering what his voters want.

    Is he really? Do those constituents know where the money is going? And notice they said private or charter schools. Those are two different things.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      This is likely to be driven by the very desperate situation at schools in black neighborhoods. If the public schools were great, they’d have different views on it. But they’re not great, and parents want out. And the anti-charter folks aren’t helping them by patting themselves on the back for talking about how the *real* problem is poverty, and denying that we can do any better for people with school management changes.

  2. My guess is they don’t know how poorly it turns out until afterward…
    Attrition rates for black males at many of these schools are quite high.

    I would bet that most black folks would simply prefer a well run public school, if they were allowed to have such a thing.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      In my experience, a political program that attributes ignorance to the people who disagree with them is not a winning political program at the ballot box. That’s basically the tea party philosophy. Everybody who disagrees are “low infos” who would really support the cause if they just had the right info. This is the mark of a political movement that is not listening, and unless it comes up with some better achievable solutions than “fixing poverty” it’s going to keep losing current political debates.

  3. phillydem says:

    Look no further than Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to see the disconnect between between the two groups. In general, one group is higher on the scale than the other.

    It’s not so much the education in the public schools because the city has some excellent ones like Masterman, Central, Girls High, but student safety as well as the classroom chaos caused by disruptive students who simply don’t want to be in school. Before the parochial schools started closing in the city, they were the haven for parents who wanted a better environment for the children. That’s why voucher programs are also popular among AfAms. Although the voucher amounts are small wrt private schools, they are often enough to allow AfAm parents to finance parochial schools. However, the charter schools have been embraced because they are preceived to be the best of both worlds, safer, learning-friendly environment AND tuition-free.

    To really resolve the issues with large urban school districts, there is one big issue. What to do with kids who don’t want to be in school. Phila SD enacted a 0 tolerance policy where disruptive students were immediately removed and sent to designated schools
    for trouble-makers, but that hasn’t solved the problem. Nor have more cops, security, metal detectors, etc, in the schools themselves solved it. I would say an unconvential idea is to legalize most drugs. This would take away the incentive for kids to deal drugs by taking the
    money out of it and eliminating the pull of skipping school to sell illegal drugs. That would
    also likely cut down the gun violence and other criminal activity associated with drug dealing
    making life safer all around. Make the communities safe and voucher and charter schools will mostly wither on the vine.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      It’s an interesting proposition but also pretty politically unlikely in the near term? What can we offer black families *today* that will ensure better outcomes for kids currently in the school system? We need a politically realistic plan to help them, not just the kids of 30 years from now who’ll go to school in a time of more enlightened drug policies.

      • phillydem says:

        I actually think drug legalization will happen sooner than anyone thinks. It’s increasingly mainstream to talk about the unsuccessful war on drugs and there are more and more comparisions to the lessons of Prohibition. It will be like gay marriage, when the tipping point is reached, things will tip very fast.

        As for the interim, I’ll ask who runs the best schools in the state? That would be the Quakers. I’d seriously consider turning over the Phila SD to the American Friends Society management or at least bringing them on board as consultants.

  4. Pingback: 11/15 Morning Buzz | PoliticsPA

  5. philaken says:

    Is there any wonder that there is confusion about privatization when a website which is apparently Democratic says opponents to corporate education reform have “strident left wing views on the topic”. Since when is defense of equitable public education strident left wing views?