Monday, May 14, 2012

Cory Booker Inspires the People of New Jersey—and Oregon

When Cory Booker spoke at the American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit earlier this month, he not only inspired the room of education reformers, but drummed up support for the Opportunity Scholarship Act currently being considered by the New Jersey Legislature.  But it turns out that news of Cory Booker spreads—like fire (get it?!).

The Oregon Catalyst, a website for conservative Oregonians to discuss policy issues, wrote about Cory Booker inspiring change in the Beaver State.  Steve Buckstein called for supporters to make school choice a reality for students all across the nation.  Not only did he mention that Booker saved a woman from a burning house last month, but called the need to put out other fires: the reality that children are often doomed to failing schools because of their ZIP codes.

Buckstein wrote:

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is a larger-than-life figure fighting for what he calls the “Most Important Civil Right of All–equal access to high quality education.”

On May 4th Booker gave an inspiring keynote address before the American Federation for Children, a national school choice organization. He said his strong support for school choice stems from the options he was afforded in his own life–options denied to millions of children because their ZIP codes determine what schools they must attend.

A Black Democrat himself, Booker made it clear he is disappointed that “his president” hasn’t yet joined him in supporting school choice for every family, not just for those he calls “the connected and elected.”

Not surprisingly, the left was upset that Booker would speak before a group partially funded by what it considers right-wingers. Booker slapped those concerns aside in his talk, making it clear that to him school choice is not a left/right or partisan issue, but one of equal rights.

But, the virtual heat Mayor Booker took from the left over his talk pales in comparison with the literal heat he took last month. Ignoring his security team’s advice, he ran into a burning building to save his neighbor trapped in the flames. He rescued the woman and then went to the hospital with second-degree burns and smoke inhalation.

Cory Booker is a genuine hero. Not just to the woman he saved from that fire, but to the millions of poor and minority children trapped in a life of disappointment and failed dreams by what, in effect, is our burning public school system. Booker is trying to rescue those children, too. Please join him by making full school choice a reality in your community.

As the article points out, school choice is not a left or a right issue.  We’re glad to see a conservative website praise the hard work of a reform-minded Democrat.  With inspiring rhetoric from leaders like Cory Booker and support for such actions from the left and the right, we are sure that school choice can become a reality in communities in desperate need for educational options.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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