School Choice Becoming Powerful Issue For Republican Candidates

The inextricable relationship between the Democratic Party and teachers’ unions is creating a significant opportunity for Republican candidates to attract voters who want no part of the union war on school choice.

Demonizing charter schools is particularly dangerous for Democrats, as the majority of students served by the alternative school options are mostly minorities and from lower-income families. Parents have been sending their kids to charter schools in record numbers as the public schools they are districted for are failing at teaching and are unsafe.

Out of around 3.5 million children enrolled in charter schools nationwide, almost 70% are minority students.

Even as parents are making their preferences perfectly clear, Democrat politicians remain beholden to teachers’ unions that strongly oppose policies that place student and parental interests above their membership.

The Biden administration has gone along with the unions at every turn, most recently creating new regulatory hurdles for charter schools applying for federal educational grants. The new rules require charters to prove to the government that there is a “need” for their program in their community.

A number of recent polls, even those commissioned by Democrats and educational unions, show that a majority of American voters now have greater confidence in Republicans on educational policy.

A report by The Federalist indicates that Republicans have cast 2,844 votes in favor of private school choice, compared to only 381 by Democrats.

The successful campaign last year by Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin centered around increasing parental school choice. He won with 56% of the vote in a state that had gone for Joe Biden by a 10-point margin just a year before.

Arizona is another state where the preference for school choice has paid dividends for the GOP. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed into law the largest expansion of school choice opportunities in the country. The state’s new “Empowerment Scholarship Account” (ESA) program provides parents with access to around $7,000 in public funding to pay for approved education expenses, including private school tuition, home schooling expenses, and tutoring.

Democrats are now finding themselves on the losing end of the decision of whether to support American students and parents or greedy teachers’ unions. The American Federation of Teachers spent almost $20 million on Democratic candidates and leftist PACs during the 2020 election cycle.