(Guest Post by Jason Bedrick)
Wise words from Rev. Alfred Cockfield II of Brooklyn:
Many members of our congregation live in neighborhoods where their local schools are failing. These parents care deeply about having more than one public school option because it means the difference between their child getting a quality education or just getting passed along.
President Obama and Secretary of Education John King have been strong proponents of public charter schools. They understand what parents in our congregation understand: that public charter schools and school choice are vital to closing the racial achievement gap.
And perhaps surprisingly, so does Donald Trump. For all of his rhetoric during the campaign, he is a strong supporter of public charter schools — and believes the status quo must change.
In the months ahead, we must remain vigilant, and be prepared to challenge the president-elect whenever he proposes a policy that threatens our communities. But we can’t let that stop the progress we know we can make and must make. And nowhere is the need to push forward together clearer than with charter schools.
If President-elect Trump is truly willing to support policies that give the highest-need children the school options that they desperately need, we should be willing to listen. That does not mean compromising our values — rather, it means authentically representing the needs of our communities, whether fighting back against a policy we disagree with or advocating for one we believe will help our children.
That’s the balancing act we face moving forward. And we cannot pretend it will be easy. But we owe it to our children to attempt to navigate the next four years with eyes wide open, and with their interests always front and center.