Cory Booker has a long and well-documented record of disparaging public schools and enthusiastically supporting charters, even vouchers. Now, he says he will dedicate himself to public schools and stop privatization, as if he had not been one of the leading cheerleaders for both charters and vouchers for the past two decades.

Valerie Strauss wrote here about his deep ties over the years to Betsy DeVos. 

Booker began his advocacy for vouchers twenty years ago.

“In 1999, Booker was a member of the Municipal Council of Newark and worked with conservatives to form an organization that sought to create a voucher program and bring charter schools to New Jersey.”

He helped Dick and Betsy DeVos try to sell vouchers in Michigan in 2000. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful. As Jennifer Berkshire pointed out in her article about Booker’s help for the DeVos voucher campaign, the DeVos family spent millions, but the people of Michigan rejected vouchers by a vote of 69-31%.

When Booker ran for mayor of Newark in 2001, the DeVos family contributed $1,000 to his campaign. Cheapskates.

Veteran journalist Dale Russakoff wrote a book called The Prize about Cory Booker’s alliance with Republican Governor Chris Christie and their determination to turn Newark into the “New Orleans of the North” by privatizing as many public schools as possible. Booker was a favorite of Wall Street and philanthrocapitalists, and he and Christie persuaded Mark Zuckerberg to put up $100 million to spur privatization in Newark.

Regular readers of this blog have read the many posts by blogger Jersey Jazzman (Mark Weber) about the statistical legerdemain that Newark charters play, the cream-skimming they do to get the students they want and exclude those that might pull down their test scores..

If you open the link at NPE Action, you will see that Booker’s campaigns have drawn the campaign funding of the usual billionaires and Wall Street hedge funders who have done their best to undermine public education.

Booker was feted by rightwing think tanks like the Manhattan Institute and named a “champion of charters” by the National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools in 2017.

But his support for vouchers was not long, long ago.

In 2012, he endorsed Governor Chris Christie’s voucher proposal.

In 2016, he addressed Betsy DeVos’s American Federation for Children to express his support for their mission of replacing public schools with charters and vouchers.

Due to his contempt for one of our most important public, democratic institutions, I cannot support Cory Booker.

If he is the Democratic candidate, which seems unlikely, I will hold my nose and vote for him, because any Democrat is better than Trump. Even Cory Booker.