By Valerie Strauss
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, has been in the news for blasting President Obama’s campaign ads attacking Mitt Romney’s career with a private-equity firm and calling the tone of the presidential campaign “nauseating to me on both sides.”
This isn’t the first time that Booker has sided with Republicans over the leader of his own party.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, left, jokes with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during in 2011. (Julio Cortez/AP)Booker has made school reform a key initiative of his administration in New Jersey’s biggest city. And he has been an outspoken supporter of the school reform policies of the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, which include an expansion of charter schools, the end of teacher tenures, and the use of student standardized test scores to evaluate teachers. He has called the state’s largest teachers union a group of “bullies and thugs.”
While there are a number of issues on which Obama and Christie agree when it comes to school reform — including charter school growth and the use of test scores to evaluate teachers — there is at least one key area where they depart company.
Obama opposes vouchers, which provide public money for students to use for private school tuition. But Christie does support them, and so does Booker.
According to this story in the Star-Ledger newspaper, Booker and Christie last month both spoke at the national policy meeting of the American Federation for Children. The federation’s board chair is Betsy DeVos, a key member of the DeVos family, which has spent millions to support efforts to promote vouchers and promote reforms that are furthering the privatization of public education.