How School Choice Defeated Andrew Gillum

Andrew Gillum; School Choice:

Super-candidate and mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum brought high energy to his bid to become governor in his 2018 campaign. The HBCU alumnus of Florida A&M was electrifying. Gillum was a great orator, who ran on a progressive platform. He is a family man, who reached out to all demographics. One of the messages presented by Mayor Gillum that resonated with me, was when he stated, “I want to talk to all of the people because even if you didn’t vote for me, I’d still be making decisions within the best interest of all Floridians.”

2018 Florida Gubernatorial Race

Moreover, Mayor Gillum did not toe the line when it came to education issues in Florida. From the very beginning of his campaign, Gillum professed his love to the Teacher’s Union. He spoke to how teachers should earn more, and how charter schools were sucking the life out of public education in Florida. Gillum vowed not to expand charter schools, putting that finding back into public schools.


Pro School-Choice:

Meanwhile, Mayor Gillum’s opponent conservative Republican Ron DeSantos had a different time when it came to charter schools. DeSantis proposed expanding charter schools, vowing to give parents more choice in schools. “That distinction – rather than the personalities and ideologies involved – may have compelled about 100,000 African-American women, the vast majority registered Democrats, to vote for DeSantis over Gillum on Nov. 6, According to William Mattox, director of the Marshall Center for Educational Options Director at the James Madison Institute, (JMI), a Tallahassee-based conservative think-tank.”


School Choice Florida

Americans want School Choice:

According to Condoleeza Rice, school choice is a Civil Rights Issue. I could not agree more. The current education system fails PoC at alarming rates. People tend to forget the true origins of schooling and which schools serve rightfully in the United States. Mayor Gillum forgot this as well, and African-American moms reminded him in the Governor’s election.

So, when we look back to the history books, and we see this valiant effort, from a very electable candidate. Hopefully, there are lessons learned.

To the many candidates in the mix to be the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2020 election, let this be a lesson. Parents want a choice. So no matter how likable you are as a candidate, if you are not able to endorse school choice, there’s a high likelihood that voters who would typically vote for you will not vote for you.

Author: Raymond J. Ankrum, Sr.

Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School. Mr. Ankrum has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. If you believe PoC can end generational poverty by exercising educational opportunities, you have an ally in @Mr_Ankrum.