But that hasn't stopped inner-city black voters with broken schools from wanting to try something radically different. And one of the reasons Matt Bevin won here in Kentucky was because of his charter school plan for Louisville and Lexington in a state that has held firmly against charter schools for years. Conway didn't get the votes he needed to win from those areas because Bevin and his running mate Janean Hampton pushed charter schools for black neighborhoods.
Democrats haven't done a good enough job of stopping charter schools, and a big chunk of that is that the Obama administration has supported charter schools across the board. Only now has that changed with the planned exit of Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
And that leads us to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina over the weekend at a town hall meeting with black voters at Claflin University.
Education and training programs came to dominate the hour-long meeting at the historically black university.
Clinton said education would be a top priority in her administration, pointing to the education reform she spearheaded when her husband occupied the governor’s mansion in Arkansas.
But she also refused to endorse plans to build more charter schools and expand school choice for parents through voucher programs, despite the overwhelming popularity of such policies among African-American voters.
“I have for many years now, about 30 years, supported the idea of charter schools, but not as a substitute for the public schools, but as a supplement for the public schools," Clinton said.
She said charter schools can have a “purpose,” but added that “there are good charter schools and there are bad charter schools,” and charter schools often aren’t willing to take the students who pose the biggest problem to educators.
That last distinction is what we have to make as Democrats, but we're not doing a very good job of it. Too many Dems have gotten on board the charter school train, and Republicans are selling the idea that Democrats don't really care about education because if they did, they would allow charter schools.
The problem is of course that with school choice, there are winners and losers. And in this game, the losing schools get shut down so there's nowhere to go but the charter schools that are making a profit and leaving poor black kids in the cold.