Veteran journalist Jennifer Berkshire speculated on Twitter about why Democrats failed to defend public schools against extremists. The answer is that they swerved into the politics of neoliberalism 25 years ago and promoted privately-run charter schools. They allied with reactionary forces like the Waltons in their fruitless quest for “innovative” schools. Her handle is @@BisforBerkshire.

She wrote with crystal clarity:

Lots of takes on the Dem’s public education problem. But party’s utter inability to articulate why public education matters may be the biggest.

The Democrats’ favorite policy shop in D.C. is the Center for American Progress, which has been the party’s leading advocate of charter schools. The question that CAP can’t answer is: Why does public education matter?

Nancy Bailey addressed the same problem on her blog. She said bluntly that Democrats are not the education party, as they want the public to believe. They abandoned public schools and teachers by their promotion of school choice and evaluating teachers by their students’ test scores.

The eight years of Obama’s Race to the Too was a nightmare for teachers, who were constantly scapegoated. Arne Duncan fell in love with Common Core and Teach for America and used every opportunities to bash teachers and real public schools.

Democrats cannot be the education party when they support charter schools, Common Core, and fast-track teachers like Teach for America. They haven’t stood up for public education despite all the teacher union hoopla.

Where have they been on the discussion of special education? They’ve worked along with Republicans to deny children individualization, smaller class sizes.

Democrats can become the “education party” again when they walk away from the billionaires like Bill Gates, who likes to play with other people’s lives.