Franken Opposes School Choice, Except When It’s His Kids

Al Franken, Franken, Senate, Judiciary

Franken’s own children attended The Dalton School where tuition is $44,640/year

St. Paul, MN – In what was a contentious confirmation battle, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) became the talk of the media with his attacks on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

During the confirmation hearing for DeVos, Franken attempted to associate DeVos with conversion therapy based on the donations made to Christian organizations by relatives of DeVos.

After DeVos was confirmed, Franken continued on the attack calling her “fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department.”

One of Franken’s leading concerns with DeVos is her stance on school choice. During a speech in March 2015 DeVos said a child should not be forced to go to a school based on their family’s income or zip code.

“Let the education dollars follow each child, instead of forcing the child to follow the dollars. This is pretty straightforward. And it’s how you go from a closed system to an open system that encourages innovation. People deserve choices and options,” DeVos said.

During an all-night speech marathon leading up to the confirmation vote for DeVos, Franken attacked school choice and the voucher system.

“In reality, most school vouchers don’t cover the full cost of private school tuition.  Nor do they cover additional expenses like transportation, school uniforms, and other supplies.  Which means the vouchers don’t create more choices for low-income families.  They simply subsidize existing choices for families who could already afford to pay for private school,” Franken claimed.

Franken also took aim at DeVos’ lack of experience with public school.

“She has never attended a public school.  She has never sent a child to a public school,” Franken said.

However, research on Franken’s background reveals the Senator also has very little experience with public schools.

According to an interview with Harvard magazine, Franken was a math and science whiz as a boy. As he approached secondary school years, his parents wanted to find a better school for their gifted student. Franken ended up attending and graduating from Blake, one of the most exclusive private schools in the Minneapolis area, where the tuition for upperclassmen is currently $29,025 per year.

Franken’s two kids also avoided public school. Instead, his kids attended The Dalton School in New York City where tuition is $44,640 per year. Dalton is known for educating celebrities and children of royalty.

Some people, including an Indiana mom disgusted by Franken’s comments, are taking issue with the hypocrisy coming from the junior senator. In a viral letter pushing back on Franken’s criticism of the voucher system in Indiana, Cheryl Kirk attacked the senator’s double standard.

“Would you, Mr. Franken, put your child in a school with a D or F rating? Would you expect your friends or Senate colleagues to put their children in a school with a D or F rating?” she asked. “We all know the answer, sir, because your children attended a school that costs more than $40,000 per year,” Kirk wrote.

Franken was not the only senator who opposed DeVos’ stance on school choice despite sending their own children to private schools. The Daily Caller reported at least seven of the 46 Senate Democrats that voted against DeVos’ have children or grandchildren who attended exclusive private schools.

Christine Bauman