Obama Voices Support for Charter Schools


by Sam Winston

It wasn't a full-armed embrace, and he has always pretty much endorsed them, but will his remarks nevertheless alienate part of the Democratic base, mainly teachers unions and other affiliated members?

"'I’ve consistently said I think we need to support charter schools,' Obama said. 'I think it’s important for us to experiment in terms of how teachers are compensated — working with teachers but looking at how we can reward excellence in classrooms...'

"Asked about the reaction of teachers’ unions, Obama acknowledged that they 'haven’t been thrilled with me talking about this.'" - Politico.com

It could however, as the article presumes, be a general election position that would greatly help him continue his cross-sector appeal, including to some Republicans. You can

read the full article in which he talks about his sister being a teacher and remaining open to the idea even though it may not be one fully embraced by the Democratic party or you can hear him in his own words above (picks up at around 3:30 into the video). We've seen how politicized education and the idea of charter schools can be in New Orleans, especially given the association with President Bush and No Child Left Behind. If New Orleans charter schools find their way into this campaign issue, it will be interesting to see if Obama's post-partisan appeals will hold.

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