June 25, 2017
Conor P. Williams wrote for the 74 on the future of charter schools under new presidential leadership.
I spent some time earlier this month walking the halls of D.C.’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the National Charter Schools Conference. It was a diverse crowd: thousands of education leaders from Hawaii to Massachusetts engaged in myriad conversations about charter school instruction, staffing, financing, and more. Folks were excited to be in the capital and eager to learn more about how shifting federal priorities could influence the charter school movement.
One thing stood out, however. With a few exceptions, the closer attendees worked to kids and schools, the more skeptical they were of President Trump. Teachers, principals, charter school operators were almost uniformly pessimistic about the current administration — particularly the president’s budget proposal. By contrast, the conference’s wonks, consultants, and advocates were, by and large, much more open-minded about Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who addressed the conference on the third day.