Last Friday a protest broke out at Elizabeth Warren’s rally in Georgia. A group of black parents who strongly support charter schools interrupted Warren’s speech to voice their opposition to her education plan (which they see as anti-Charter school). After the rally, Warren met with Sarah Carpenter, one of the group’s leaders. That’s when this exchange happened:
Holy shit. I have Warren on video lying about where she sent her kids to school.
Sarah Carpenter: "I read that your children went to private schools"
Warren: "No my children went to public schools" pic.twitter.com/PEHr3jNvjx
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) November 22, 2019
After refusing to answer questions about this issue for weeks, Warren’s campaign was forced to clarify her remarks later the same day:
At one point, Carpenter said that she had heard that Warren sent her own children to private school, perhaps alluding to a recent article in the New York Post. Warren responded, “No, my children went to public schools.”
Asked to clarify, a campaign aide said, “Elizabeth’s daughter went to public school. Her son went to public school until 5th grade.”
Today, the NY Times also pointed out Warren’s clarification:
After the speech, Ms. Warren met with the protesters, concluding with a prayer and hugs. The candidate vowed to review her education plan to make sure she “got it right.” But the exchange ignited another controversy when Ms. Warren told an activist that her children had attended public schools. Her campaign clarified in a statement that although her daughter attended public school, her son completed the majority of his education in private school.
When I wrote about this last week, I made it clear that there was only solid evidence of Warren’s son attending a private school in Texas for one year. It seemed possible at the time that her son had attended the school for a single year or even part of a year. If so, it was maybe conceivable that it slipped her mind in the moment.
But it turns out Warren’s son spent most of his school career in a private school, all the way through 12th grade. There’s absolutely no way that slipped her mind. Warren was confronted with the truth and she decided to lie through her teeth. Clearly, she was hoping to keep this little secret under wraps. It would have worked if not for those
meddling kids charter school parents and Corey DeAngelis (who discovered the evidence).
Warren seems to have a real problem telling the truth about her own biography. She also has an ongoing problem with minority parents who are far more likely to support charter schools than white Democrats:
Margaret Fortune, the president and chief executive of Fortune School of Education, a nonprofit that operates seven charter schools in California, said the $2 million she has received from the program helped fund three schools.
“What would be happening in a fair society is we would be asked for our opinions, rather than having candidates saying, ‘I have a plan for you — to shepherd you into the very schools that you left on purpose,’” said Ms. Fortune, a black, lifelong Democrat…
Since 2016, public polling has shown a widening divide on charter schools between white Democrats and their black and Latino peers. White Democrats’ approval of charter schools dropped to 27 percent from 43 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to a poll conducted by Education Next, a journal based at Harvard that is generally supportive of charters. Black and Latino approval for the schools remained basically steady at about 47 percent for each group.
The Times reports that while charter schools perform on par with public schools nationwide, “charter schools that serve mostly low-income children of color in large cities tend to excel academically.” That difference can be a lifeline for desperate parents and their kids. Despite this, Democrats tend to oppose charters, in part because they are less likely to be unionized.
Getting back to Elizabeth Warren, her campaign has issued clarifications but so far she hasn’t faced the music in person. Hopefully, she’ll be asked the question she has obviously been trying to avoid: If you support public schools, why did you send your son to a private school for so many years? The answer to that should be interesting and may not line up very well with Warren’s plan for education.