Head of Democrats for Education Reform resigned from board of Success Academy, highlighting split in charter world

Democrats for Education Reform President Shavar Jeffries — who has differed with Success Academy’s leader Eva Moskowitz on how to engage with the Trump administration — resigned from the charter network’s board earlier this summer, Politico New York reported Monday.

A Success Academy spokeswoman confirmed that Jeffries is no longer on the network’s board but offered no further comment. A source told Politico that Jeffries opted not to renew his term as a board member when it ended this summer. Jeffries declined to comment.

It is unclear why Jeffries left the board, but like other prominent Democrats in the education world, he has openly opposed President Trump.

Moskowitz, on the other hand, distinguished herself among charter leaders by meeting with Trump while he was searching for an education secretary and later supporting Betsy DeVos for the role.

Jeffries released a statement in November urging Democratic education policymakers to create distance between themselves and Trump. He said a Democrat accepting the position of education secretary would become “an agent for an agenda that both contradicts progressive values and threatens grave harm to our nation’s most vulnerable kids.”

The two approaches represent a dilemma facing charter school leaders: How should charter leaders treat an administration that supports school choice but, through policies and rhetoric, seems at odds with the low-income families they serve?

The news comes at an already tense moment for Success Academy, which is still reeling from a racial comment made by its board chair Daniel Loeb. Last week, Loeb suggested an African-American leader in the New York State Senate has done more damage to students of color than “anyone who has ever donned a hood.”

Moskowitz condemned the remarks, saying “an apology for these comments was appropriate and absolutely necessary.” Loeb will remain the chair of Success Academy’s board for now, a spokeswoman confirmed.