Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools




 

Few things offend Bernie Sanders as much as people escaping from command-and-control government systems, even minority students whose parents are desperate to get their kids a decent education.

The socialist wants to turn George Wallace on his head and not block black children from attending traditional public schools, but block them from exiting those schools for something better.

The New York Times wrote a long, devastating report the other day on the then-Burlington, Vt., mayor's love affair with the Sandinistas in the 1980s. So many decades later, his reflex is the same: If the Sandinistas wouldn't favor it, he's not inclined to like it much either. That goes for charter schools that, yes, are publicly funded, but still too flexible and unregulated for refined socialist tastes.

Over the weekend, Sanders unveiled his education plan. He wants to end for-profit charter schools (about 15 percent of all charters) and impose a moratorium on new public funding of charters, while taking steps to impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory regime on existing charters.

Sanders thus seeks to kneecap what has been an astonishingly successful experiment in urban education because it doesn't fit nicely within his ideological preconceptions.

That Sanders says he wants to do this to advance the principle that "every human being has the fundamental right to a good education" is hilariously perverse. The comrades will have a good chuckle over that one.

Charter schools aren't the product of a libertarian conspiracy. They fall short of the vouchers favored by conservatives to allow parents to get access to private schools. Charters receive public money but have more leeway to develop policies outside the regulatory and union straitjacket of traditional public schools.

Charters had bipartisan support before a Vermont socialist became one of the party's thought leaders. Bill Clinton won the first-ever lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Promoting charters was a hallmark of Barack Obama's education agenda and a signature of Cory Booker's mayoralty in Newark, N.J.

Not all charters are created equal. Some don't serve their students well, especially online charter schools, and the performance of suburban and rural charter schools hasn't been very impressive. It's the charter schools in urban areas with the worst traditional public schools that have excelled.

According to a well-regarded 2015 study by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, students in urban charter schools got the equivalent of 40 additional days of math instruction and 28 additional days of reading annually. The numbers for African-American students in poverty were even better. Charters in Newark and Boston have seen enormous academic gains.

In New York City, the Success Academy founded by Eva Moskowitz - one of the foremost education reformers of our time - has eliminated racial and economic achievement gaps.

It's amazing what schools can do when they impose discipline, have the highest expectations, and focus with a laser intensity on instruction.

Anyone interested in the education of minority students should seek to build on these oases of excellence, rather than cut them off. But the teachers unions hate charters, and they are a much more powerful potential cadre in the Sanders "revolution" than poor black kids.

Sanders suggests that charter schools somehow increase segregation. This is nonsense, as Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine points out. Urban charter schools reflect the segregation of their neighborhoods where they are located - just like traditional public schools do.

The polling shows that minority parents get what Sanders (and white progressives) refuses to understand. A solid majority of black and Hispanic Democrats have a favorable view of charters, while white Democrats have an unfavorable view by a 2-1 margin.

It is doubtful how much of his anti-charter agenda Sanders would be able to enact if elected, since much of the action is at the state and local level. That he's hostile to these schools should, regardless, redound to his shame.

© 2019 by King Features Syndicate

COMMENTS

More Related News

Are you getting ready for the Democratic debates? Here is what you should know.
Are you getting ready for the Democratic debates? Here is what you should know.

The top Democratic candidates will officially kick off the 2020 presidential campaign with debates Wednesday and Thursday. Don't miss our quick guide on what to expect.

On Cue, Wall Street Challenges Bernie Sanders
On Cue, Wall Street Challenges Bernie Sanders's Trading Tax Plan

Even before Sanders formally made his proposal to cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt and make public colleges free by levying a tax on trading, analysts have warned that it could make markets more volatile and that the costs -- much like President Donald Trump's tariffs -- would ultimately be borne by American households. For politicians looking to burnish their everyman credentials, Wall Street and its billions in profit can be a tempting target. Plans for a financial-transactions tax have been debated by the European Commission for almost a decade, and U.S. lawmakers have revived it in recent months.

Student debt a
Student debt a 'life sentence' for millions of Americans

Haley Walters is five years away from earning her law degree. If everything goes according to plan, she will be under a mountain of $100,000 in student debt by the time she enters the work force. Like millions of Americans, Walters is paying a steep price for an education that will likely weigh her down financially for much of her adult life.

Sanders, liberals, out with bill to cancel student debt
Sanders, liberals, out with bill to cancel student debt

Days before the first Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and House progressives rolled out legislation to cancel all student debt, going farther than a signature proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the two jockey for support from the party's liberal base . The result would be a stimulus that allows millennials in particular to invest in homes and cars that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.

A civil war is coming for the Democratic Party - and it won't be pretty
A civil war is coming for the Democratic Party - and it won't be pretty

It is perfectly fine to be a party of and for the affluent in America, but at least don't simultaneously pretend to be the party of the little guy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.