Democrats’ dislike of public charter schools appears to know no boundaries. Following the passage of the state Senate’s charter school “fix” bill by a 27-20 vote, Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle) decided to demonstrate just how much his party hates the idea of schools devoted to benefitting the future prospects of underprivileged students.
“Almost $2 million of that coming from Arkansas. Now what’s in Arkansas? Probably one of the most – the headquarters of one of the most infamously anti-union corporations, the largest corporation in the world, and the wealthiest family in the world. Why are they so interested in soaking $2 million into creating charter schools in Washington state? …
“As a little side note, this may not be the most politically correct thing to say, but I get offended when people start parading poor little brown and black faces out there and saying, ‘Oh those poor kids, look it, they have this oppor’ – what about the 1.1 other million kids out there who deserve equity of access to an equally good quality education? We’re going to throw all them under the bus?”
Smarter Government Washington pointed out why these statements, among others, are so wrong. First, Hasegawa’s “$2 million from Arkansas” attack is in reference to the $1.7 million (of $11 million total) donated by a member of Wal-Mart’s founding family to the charter school initiative passed by voters in 2012. While lambasting the donation for what he suggests is an “anti-union conspiracy,” Hasegawa conveniently leaves out the fact that pro-union lefty Nick Hanauer donated $1,050,000 to the same campaign.
As for his second statement, Hasegawa is trying to dismiss a rather obvious argument for public charter schools (as argued by Democrat Representative Eric Pettigrew). Pettigrew wrote an op-ed in the Olympian,
“Across our state and all over the country, students of color are not making it in conventional public schools. Black and Latino students make up the largest number of dropouts, face harsher discipline, suffer from language barriers, and deal with the ever-present achievement gap. In my district, we have children of color struggling with these same issues, and more…It incenses me that for the sake of some traditional principle, the court, the union and other traditional education organizations chose to take away what might have been these kids’ only shot. As the only African American legislator in the state, it’s disheartening to be leading this battle cry that everyone in the community wanted to be part of, and then when the rubber hits the road, ‘tradition’ steps in. Well guess what? Traditional methods aren’t working for our children.”
By dismissing them as mere pawns, Hasegawa’s statements diminish the children who came to Olympia in order to fight for their schools. Using his same logic, one could argue that Democrats were more than happy to see Planned Parenthood “parade” teenagers around the capitol for their political agenda on MLK Day. But, we didn’t hear that happen.
Hasegawa’s comments are entirely inappropriate, and he should apologize to the children – he should be schooled on this.