The Obama Legacy Carries Through Loud and Clear


April 17, 2019

The Obama Legacy Carries Through Loud and Clear

When President Obama took office in 2009 promising hope and change, he did so amidst the fallout from a recession that left many in the country reeling. Part of that vision was an improved public education system that would prepare all students for success in the 21st century—regardless of race, zip code or financial situation. From K-12 to higher education, the benefits of his policies are clear: we have seen an increase in high quality public school options that empower parents to choose the right school for their child; strengthened standards and accountability to measure progress and success; and intentionality in addressing racial and social inequities.

We must protect and build upon this progress.

In the face of our current Administration that has proven time and time again that it does not have the best interest of all children at heart, it is imperative that we continue to champion President Obama’s agenda. At Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), we are proud to stand in the legacy of President Obama and will continue to champion these common-sense education reforms that get results, including around high quality public school options. Below, please find recent examples of interviews where DFER President Shavar Jeffries espouses our organizational values and positions on these critical issues.

“‘We champion what we call the Obama Agenda, which is broadly supported by Democrats, broadly supported by voters.’ …

‘There’s overwhelming support again, particularly among African Americans and Latinos, for a wide range of choice within the public education system, including public charter schools. There’s strong evidence for holding politicians accountable to make sure that schools work for kids, that there’s many options, and that parents are at the center of making decisions about the option that best serves their children.'”

“Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform, a national organization that supports alternatives to traditional public schools, said there were still prominent Democrats, like Senator Booker, Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, whom he considered strong supporters of the charter school sector. And at the local level, he said, many Democratic mayors and state legislators continued to support charter schools, especially those offering additional options for low-income black and Latino students, like those in Los Angeles.

‘Charters exist because the parents demand them and want them,’ Mr. Jeffries said. ‘I do wish more leaders would step up and stand up and deliver that message.'”

“‘There’s a distinction between Obama-style charter schools, which are public and have accountability measures, and Trump-DeVos style, which are for-profits and don’t,’ explains Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform, a group that, like Obama and Booker, advocate public charters as a means for education improvement.

“‘None of that would have happened without Sen. Booker,’ Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform, says. ‘Mayors tend to try to shy away from public education precisely because it’s so hard. He leaned in and leaned in in a very bold and aggressive way.’ …

Jeffries says he hopes Booker will embrace his record on school choice, and points to recent polling his group tapped Benenson Strategy Group to perform that found large majorities of Democratic primary voters support school choice and that more than 80 percent of black and Latino Democratic primary voters support school choice and increased investments in public education.

‘If he embraces this agenda, the evidence shows that this will resonate with large proportion of Democratic primary voters,’ Jeffries says.”