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May 03, 2017 3:37 pm MST

In light of Jeffco school board recall, Brauchler's early support of vouchers raises questions

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

George Brauchler.

Education is a motivating issue anywhere in soccer-mom country, but in Colorado its force is compounded by the lingering impact of the emotional 2015 Jefferson County School Board recall election, in which voters overwhelmingly tossed out conservatives.

Republican Bob Beauprez’s outspoken alignment with the losing school board members, including his support of vouchers, during the 2014 gubernatorial election was arguably a key factor in his loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper. And Republicans have lost a string of state legislative races in Jeffco, with the winning Democrats standing against public school privatization.

So along comes the 2018 gubernatorial race, and reporters should note where Republican candidates come down on vouchers, charters, and education issues. Will they distance themselves from the positions of the losing Jeffco School Board members? Or will they align with them?

Republican candidate George Brauchler, the Arapahoe County District Attorney, has already spoken up for vouchers, agreeing “100 percent” with KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis last month that vouchers benefit kids and empower parents, particularly in low-income areas.

Caplis (11 min 30 sec below): I’m a big believer without even increasing the budget, kids would be benefited immediately by healthy education competition, and by empowering those poor and middle income parents with true purchasing power in education through vouchers, etc. Where do you come down on school choice?

Brauchler: I 100 percent agree with you, in every place, specifically inner cities and socio economically depressed areas. Every place you offer parents the opportunity at a charter school or choice, you see a mad scramble to be part of that successful system. And our family is no different. I got four kids, 14, 12, 9, and 7. They are all in charter schools. They’ve all gone to charter grade schools. Two of them are still there. I am a big believer in choice. And they are figuring out a way to put a better product on the field and turn out students with a better education, better scores than the big establishment system. That’s not an indictment of the entire big establishment system. That is a challenge. That is that kind of competition that you and I have talked about that give you a better product. I am a big believer in choice…big-time public school system, which I am a product of, my wife’s a product of, my kids are going to be a product of it, has got to look internally, but also externally at a better way to do what they are doing.”

I can’t find campaign statements by other Republican candidates on public school privatization, but it’s likely they will be coming soon–with Democrats likely to continue to oppose vouchers. In any case, it’s clearly a key issue for reporters to track, given the Jeffco history and the stakes involved.

Listen to Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show April 5:


10 thoughts on “In light of Jeffco school board recall, Brauchler’s early support of vouchers raises questions

    1. Nope.  Just elected a school board majority that supported it.  After two years of seeibg what they were all about, recalled with extreme predjudice.  Btw sitll want my ACA article.

  1. It's quite a reach to bring in an old Jeffco school board election.   However, as a story in today's Washington Post notes, vouchers fail, charters succeed.

    1. Does that mean "voucher" is a bogeyman word that means instant political failure, while "charter" is a lot more likely to succeed?

      1. No.  Vouchers can go to religious whack jobs who put di osaurs in the garden of eden, etc.  Charters remain public schools with much more accountability, sayeth the Washington Post.

  2. Poor George "tweety" Brauchler.  Everyone's always down on him.  And he's such a delightfully great public servant, spending millions to not secure a death sentence, while tweeting in court.  Perhaps he should go back to a charter school and learn a little something


  3. Keep the political big picture in mind. If Brauchler were Governor, and if HR610 were enacted, Federal monies would be distributed to states in block grants. 610 would allow states to spend Federal dollars on vouchers for public, private (even religious), and home schools.

    610 would also repeal the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, thus nullifying decades of work on bringing equity for students with disabilities into education. One of my own areas of expertise, English as a Second Language, would also have the legal basis cut out from under it. Millions of students would find themselves back in "Sink or Swim" territory.

    So Brauchler plus HR610 could be a very toxic mix for education in Colorado.

  4. Why doesn't anyone in the education debate spell it out in the most emotionally compelling manner– in terms of everyday life experiences of teachers and students in charter vs. public schools? And find a way to solve the real problems– for instance, zero tolerance/overpolicing in public schools; lack of teacher job security in charter schools; nasty culture of administrators-are-god in both?

    In the words of Sinead O'Connor, "Fight the real enemy."

    1. Be my guest, Lucy M – write that diary. One reason classroom teachers try to stay away from those compelling stories is that it is against professional ethics to post anything that would be allow students to be identified – a big reason why I need to stay anonymous on here, for example.

      We all have heart-rending stories we could tell – but have to be careful about posting them because of confidentiality.

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