Elizabeth Warren Attacks Betsy DeVos on School Choice... After Supporting It In Her Book

Committee member Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Ma., questions witnesses during a Senate Specials Committee on Aging hearing on drastic price hikes by Valeant and a handful of other drugmakers that have stoked outrage from patients, physicians and politicians nationwide, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2016,. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Elizabeth Warren is a case study in how Washington D.C. changes you from activist to professional politician. Sure, she still talks the talk, but rarely these days does she walk the walk. The closest candidate to her ideology was Bernie Sanders, yet, she was quiet on the matter until he lost, then went all out in support of Hillary Clinton.

On a weird, flip side scenario, it turns out that, up until she became a politician, Elizabeth Warren was a huge proponent of school choice. Now? Not so much.

Warren pointed to what she called DeVos’ “deep record of activism, bankrolling and lobbying for policies that would privatize public education” without meaningful accountability.

“Your history of support for policies that would drain valuable taxpayer resources from our public schools and funnel those funds to unaccountable private and for-profit education operators may well disqualify you from such a central role in public education,” Warren wrote.

These are the same, tired arguments used by public school defenders to try to de-legitimize school choice advocates… kind of like Warren was back in 2003.

In her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap, Warren offered a full-throated endorsement of a voucher system that would allow children to enroll at any public school within a large geographic region that crosses municipal boundaries.

This doesn’t sound like the description of someone opposing DeVos (or, for that matter, has been a major recipient of teacher union money – roughly $30,000 since 2012).

“At the core of the problem is the time-honored rule that where-you-live dictates where-you go to school,” she writes. Warren says the solution is to break up the “ironclad relationship” between location and school and declares, “A well-designed voucher program would fit the bill neatly.”

Warren goes on to lay out a plan for a system of fully-paid vouchers to support attendance at any public schools in the region. “Tax dollars would follow the children,” she writes, adding that students who need extra resources, such as those requiring special education services, would get larger vouchers. “Every child would have a valuable ticket to be used in any school in the area,” she writes.

“An all-voucher or all-school choice system would be a shock to the educational system, but the shake out might be just what the system needs,” she writes. Over time, “the whole concept of ‘the Beverly Hills schools’ or ‘Newton schools’ would die out.”

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I stand with Elizabeth Warren on this issue. Well, at least 2003-era Elizabeth Warren. Not the union-backed Warren, who has done nothing to push this policy forward since she went into office.

Her opposition to DeVos is striking, considering that DeVos advocates for a lot of the same things. I’m curious as to why Warren suddenly dislikes poor families. It seems very out of character for her. Maybe it’s the union money and support, or maybe it’s that she, like so many others on the right and the left, were all bluster.