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Bernie Sanders proposes U.S. education policy overhaul to appeal to black voters

Bernie Sanders proposes U.S. education policy overhaul to appeal to black voters

Postby smix » Sat May 18, 2019 8:02 pm

Bernie Sanders proposes U.S. education policy overhaul to appeal to black voters
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1SO0E1
Category: Politics
Published: May 18, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Saturday announced an education policy proposal designed to pump billions of dollars into the public schools system in a direct appeal to black voters who shunned the U.S. senator in his previous presidential bid. The 10-point plan Sanders will detail in a speech in South Carolina is designed to end racial disparities in the public education system. America’s education policy debate has long been steeped in discussions of race and racial discrimination. Sanders struggled in the 2016 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton to garner support among African-Americans. His chief Democratic rival in the run-up to the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden, has polled well among black voters. “Every child has a right to a quality K-12 education, regardless of your race, regardless of your income, and regardless of your zip code,” Sanders said in a statement on the proposal. Sanders built his 2016 campaign on a series of liberal policy ideas that at the time made him unique among Democrats, but now are shared by many of his rivals. More than 20 Democrats are vying to challenge President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee. Sanders has struggled to distinguish himself in the current field, frequently complaining that he deserves credit for everyone else’s agreement with him. The senator from Vermont titled his new education proposal the “Thurgood Marshall Plan for Education,” a nod to the Supreme Court justice who before being on the bench successfully argued the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case of 1954 that desegregated public schools. On Friday, the Sanders campaign previewed the portion of the proposal that would overhaul charter schools, the publicly-funded schools that operate independently of government oversight. The remaining portion of his proposal covers everything from teacher pay to school lunches. Sanders said he would push for funding to better integrate some schools. He also called for a federal funding minimum and getting away from using property taxes to pay for schools. Critics argue that using property taxes results in wealthy areas having better schools than more impoverished neighborhoods. He wants to spend an additional $5 billion a year on summer school and after school programs across the United States. Sanders also called for an increase in federal funding for programs for students with disabilities. Teacher salary should be set at a minimum of $60,000 a year, Sanders said, and tied to regional cost of living. He wants to require schools to provide free meals, breakfast, lunch and snacks, to all students. He wants to provide another $5 billion to increase community services at schools, including health and dental care, mental health and job training. For schools that continue to lack the infrastructure necessary to teach students, Sanders wants to provide federal funds for more school construction. And finally, Sanders proposed making schools safer and more inclusive, including passing gun control legislations and enacting laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) students.
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Sanders unveils education plan that would ban for-profit charter schools

Postby smix » Sat May 18, 2019 8:08 pm

Sanders unveils education plan that would ban for-profit charter schools
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4 ... harter-ban
Category: Politics
Published: May 18, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday proposed a sprawling education plan that would include banning for-profit charter schools, increasing funding for at-risk schools and making states cover the cost of college entrance exams. He unveiled the "Thurgood Marshall Plan for A Quality Public Education for All" while at a campaign stop in Orangeburg, S.C., speaking in the early primary state on the anniversary weekend of the Brown vs. The Board of Education Supreme Court case that ruled school segregation unconstitutional. The Democratic presidential hopeful said during the speech that he aims “to guarantee every person in our country a quality education,” which he described as a “fundamental human right." The full plan, posted to Sanders's campaign website, focuses on 10 major goals, including combating racial discrimination and school segregation, ending charter schools' "unaccountable profit-motive," funding public schools equitably and strengthening the Individuals with Disabilities Act. He also proposes giving teachers a pay raise, expanding after-school and summer programs, providing free school meals, making schools into community centers, improving school infrastructure and making schools safe and inclusive. "This plan calls for a transformative investment in our children, our teachers and our schools and a fundamental re-thinking of the unjust and inequitable funding of our public education system," his campaign website states. During his 2016 presidential bid, Sanders ran on the promise of a free college education. Some of his 2020 competitors, notably Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have also proposed education plans in recent weeks. Sanders is the first White House hopeful to call for a ban on for-profit charter schools. The Vermont senator is among two dozen people vying for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination.
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2020 presidential election: Bernie Sanders proposes charter schools ban

Postby smix » Sun May 19, 2019 12:01 am

2020 presidential election: Bernie Sanders proposes charter schools ban
Vox

URL: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... s-policies
Category: Politics
Published: May 18, 2019

Description: His plan to put a big check on charter schools, explained.
As president, Bernie Sanders would support a ban on for-profit charter schools and a blanket moratorium on public funding for all new charters, the candidate announced in a speech on Saturday, throwing down a new gauntlet on the left in the Democratic debate over education reform. The Vermont senator laid out a broad education agenda that seeks to address racial disparities on the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Sanders’s plan is quite ambitious, thought it lacks some important details. He wants to triple federal Title I funding for schools that serve a large number of low-income students, set a national salary floor for teachers of $60,000, and provide universal school meals: breakfast, lunch, and snacks for every student year-round. But his proposed prohibition on for-profit charter schools and temporary ban on government spending on new nonprofit charters is a foray into the most divisive piece of the education reform debate. Charter schools have been a source of debate for years between mainstream liberals who see charters as a promising alternative to the traditional public schools and the labor left that considers them an attack on teachers unions because charters are typically unorganized. Sanders is firmly in the latter camp, and has become the first Democratic candidate to call for a ban on for-profit charters. Other Democrats are much more charter-friendly: former vice president Joe Biden inherits the pro-charter legacy of the Obama administration, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) oversaw a major expansion of charter schools as Newark mayor. But with Democratic voters souring on charter schools, Sanders is framing education as another front in his war on corporate interests and these reforms as a tool for racial justice in a broader effort to be more attuned to the interests of black voters in his 2020 campaign.
Bernie Sanders’s big 2020 education plan, explained
Sanders is casting education as a matter of racial equality, releasing it on the Brown anniversary and naming it after the nation’s first black Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, who won the Brown case before joining the court. In that spirit, the senator is embracing the NAACP’s resolution that calls for a moratorium on public funding for new charter schools. He is also demanding a permanent ban on for-profit charters, which serve about 20 percent of the sector’s students. State and local governments play a far larger role in governing and funding America’s public schools than the federal government does; 90 percent of education dollars come from state and local sources, so it would be a challenge for Sanders, as president, to enact such a sweeping ban. The US Education Department does spend about $440 million annually to fund the authorization of new charter schools, a money stream that the president could potentially turn off. The federal funding for new charters would be put on hold until a formal audit is completed evaluating how the expansion of charters affects traditional schools. A ban on for-profit charters could require legislation passed by Congress. For existing charter schools, Sanders would propose that they be subject to the same oversight requirements as regular schools, that half of a charter school’s board members be parents and teachers, and that charters be required to disclose certain student and funding data. Some education policy experts are skeptical such a blanket policy on charters is a good idea, pointing to evidence charters have improved student performance in certain places. “Any policy that treats ‘charter schools’ as a single kind of school misunderstands the enormous diversity in the sector. The whole point of enacting a charter school law is to create space for different educational models,” Kevin Carey, vice president for education policy at New America, told Vox via email. “Some have been very successful, some haven’t. Subjecting all of them to a unitary policy, like a moratorium, is a bad idea.” The rest of Sanders’s education agenda would provide support for desegregation programs, increase funding for magnet schools by $1 billion annually, establish a national per-pupil spending floor, spend more on teacher training (particularly at historically black colleges), and boost teacher pay to a $60,000 starting salary in cooperation with states. He also wants to “rethink” the link between property taxes and school funding, given how such a funding system creates disparities by favoring wealthier neighborhoods. It’s not immediately clear how actionable all of this is, given the outsized role played by state and local governments in running public schools. But Sanders has laid out a broad set of principles to signal how he would approach education from the White House.
The evolving Democratic politics on charter schools
The other Democrats running for president have been more teacher-focused in their education policy proposals thus far. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said she wants to provide a historic pay raise for teachers in her first term as president. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has pledged to appoint a public school teacher to run her Education Department. But now Sanders has taken a more absolutist position on charter schools, ramping up the stakes in a policy debate that often goes overlooked in federal campaigns. Charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately run — swept into the Democratic mainstream in the 1990s. The idea was that these independently run schools could act as laboratories; freed up from the traditional bureaucracy, they might find new and better and innovative ways to educate students — an idea that won support from teachers unions. Charters, which were still subject to public oversight and standards, were a more palatable alternative to vouchers, which would allow parents to take public money and spend it on private schools (including religious schools and schools not required to take all students). Democratic-led cities later became the testing grounds for the charter movement; Michelle Rhee, the radical reformer who remade the Washington, DC, school system, became a national star. Disruption was the modus operandi of the day, even in deeply Democratic urban areas, where a generation of malaise had motivated local leaders to think far outside the box to fix their schools. Barack Obama brought the charter philosophy to the White House. His Education Department used several billion dollars in stimulus money to encourage states to adopt reforms including charter-friendly policies. School officials who crusaded against teachers unions were rewarded with glowing profiles and magazine covers. Against that backdrop, Booker teamed up with the newly elected Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, in 2010 to make Newark “the charter school capital of the nation.” Those days were the high water mark of education reform. But the movement’s political standing has been deteriorating ever since. It wasn’t one blow that knocked the charter movement down. Some of it was the bad aftertaste of vicious reform fights, like the one in Newark. Democrats also saw Republicans across the country trying to undermine organized labor through right-to-works laws, giving them a new appreciation for the public sector unions. “People on the left see the long-term decline of organized labor in America as one of the single biggest social failures to solve,” Carey says. “So they see themselves in solidarity to teachers unions and opposed to charter schools.” Isolated anecdotes of charter schools-gone-bad — like a recent Los Angeles Times investigation revealing one California school that became a cash pipeline for its owners — have added to the perception that charter schools require more oversight. One newer complication is the Democratic reorientation in the suburbs. Education reform tends to be an issue in poorer urban areas, where schools are at a significant disadvantage and education is seen as critical to upward mobility. But in the suburbs, schools tend to be better-performing and better-funded thanks to a wealthier tax base. Thinking about it in raw politics, “education reform has never had much to say to the suburbs to start with,” Andy Rotherham, who worked on education policy under Bill Clinton told me. “The suburbs are pretty self-satisfied.” Mix it all together and charter schools have lost salience in Democratic politics. Education reformers feel like they won the argument, as Rotherham put it, given evidence of improved student performance. But they are also sick of arguing — and they have faded in the center-left policy debate
Are charter schools good or bad? It’s complicated.
Answering whether or not charter schools “work” is a treacherous task. Assessing student performance is notoriously difficult (and metrics like graduation rates are dismissed out of hand by many academics). Nevertheless, charter-school advocates do have some strong evidence in their favor. The most widely cited (and criticized) research is from the Stanford University Center on Education Outcomes. Their landmark and controversial 2013 report found that students in charter schools saw substantial gains in reading compared to students in traditional public schools. But charter students did not show any meaningful improvement over their peers in math, a decidedly mixed bag. A follow-up study in 2015 drove home the new consensus on charter schools: they have proven very successful in urban districts and students there perform better in charter schools than in traditional schools on both reading and math. But the evidence is much less compelling in suburban and rural communities. “The evidence on charter schools is that urban charter schools do a pretty good job for black and Hispanic students,” Rotherham says. “Suburban schools less so. Same for rural.” As Carey put it to me: “If you have a reasonably large and well-supported charter sector, focused on primarily serving low-income students, it seems to work pretty well. ... If you look at all charter schools, it’s less clear.” This would track with what happened in Newark, which endured the fiercest fight over charters, but where recent data has been more promising. Even anti-charter officials have not rolled back the expansion for fear of upsetting black parents who like the charter sector, as Vox previously reported. There are two lines of critique against charter schools. One is that sometimes mixed evidence of whether they actually improve meaningfully over traditional public schools. The second is that they drain money from the other schools. “This was based on a competitive model and a market theory that is just fundamentally flawed,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told me of the Newark reforms. “They basically defunded and enfeebled the neighborhood choices that people really wanted.” The best research on this question probably comes out of Pennsylvania, where Philadelphia-based Research for Action received support from both charter and traditional school authorities to pursue its project. The state had seen substantial charter enrollment growth in the preceding years and the researchers attempted to gauge the resulting impact on the home school districts. Their conclusion, in one paragraph (emphasis mine):
Using an accounting-based projection model of charter expansion, we estimated a significant, negative fiscal impact of charter expansion in all six participating Pennsylvania school districts in both the short and long term. This is true for districts of all sizes, and does not vary significantly by the rate of charter expansion. Pennsylvania can offset these costs, as it has in the past, by providing districts an additional state funding reimbursement for charter enrollment.

The researchers found that, even though traditional schools have fewer students to educate, they cannot make up for the revenue they lose to charters by closing buildings and laying off staff. They found that the negative effect on traditional schools does diminish — but does not go away entirely — over time. They also noted that the state money can and has made up for the lost revenue for district schools. But that basically amounts to a state bailout to subsidize charter expansion. This is the core contradiction of the charter debate: there is evidence of school performance, but the concerns about the impact on traditional schools — which still educate the majority of students in most places — have merit.
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Bernie Sanders Wants to Destroy the Best Schools Poor Urban Kids Have

Postby smix » Sun May 19, 2019 2:47 am

Bernie Sanders Wants to Destroy the Best Schools Poor Urban Kids Have
New York Magazine

URL: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/ ... -have.html
Category: Politics
Published: May 18, 2019

Description: Bernie's worst policy idea.
Bernie Sanders today is announcing the foundation of his K-12 education plan, which is to crack down on public charter schools. If enacted, the Sanders plan would snuff out one of the most successful social policy innovations in decades, and close off a lifeline of opportunity for hundreds of thousands of poor urban children. The charter-school sector varies enormously from state to state, but on average, charter schools yield better outcomes for urban students (though not for other students). States with the worst-regulated systems fare no better than traditional neighborhood schools. But the best-managed charter systems produce dramatically better outcomes for low-income urban children than the same students receive in neighborhood schools. The public charter models with the highest success are the most exciting and deserving of replication. Rather than learn what they’re doing right, Sanders would choke them off. One of Sanders’s splashiest ideas is a good one: He would ban for-profit charter schools, a move Democrats also endorsed in 2016. More than 80 percent of charter-school students attend nonprofit schools, and the for-profit schools perform significantly worse. A complete ban on for-profit charters is a blunt tool, but probably a positive one. Ending for-profit charters would incidentally take away one of the most effective arguments against charters. Charter opponents have erroneously convinced many people that all charters are for profit, when in fact only a small minority are. (Even some professional columnists have repeated this myth.) The charter sector would be stronger if the for-profit segment disappeared. But Sanders’s goal is not to make charters better. Indeed, nothing in his plan pays any attention to what charter methods work best. Instead his plan reflects the perspective of the teachers unions, which despise charters because they avoid the hiring and pay-scale contracts that most unions rely on. Rather than pay teachers based on seniority, requiring the most recently hired teachers be fired first, and making it all but impossible to fire ineffective teachers, charters allow schools to pay teachers based on performance and replace the ones who can’t do a good job. Sanders would “call for a moratorium on the funding of all public charter school expansion until a national audit on the schools has been completed” and “halt the use of public funds to underwrite all new charter schools if he is elected president.” He would additionally require charter schools to match employment practices with neighboring schools, meaning they would have to replicate the same rigid contracts, eliminating one of the key innovations that lets charters do a better job of teaching poor children. Sanders’s plan appeals to a massive and highly organized Democratic constituency. But it does risk alienating African-Americans, who account for 26 percent of all charter students. A poll by Democrats for Education Reform found that while Democrats overall oppose charter schools, the racial divide is stark. Black and Hispanic Democrats favor charters — not surprisingly, given that their children benefit from them disproportionately — while white Democrats oppose them overwhelmingly: Sanders frames his opposition to charter schools as a blow against segregation. But charter schools neither caused nor aggravated school segregation. School segregation is the result of residential segregation, and the system of neighborhood-based schools defended by the unions does nothing to break it down, either. As a way to ward off accountability and reform from the federal government, unions have increasingly emphasized “local control.” It is incredible to see opponents of charter schools simultaneously position themselves as somehow opposing segregation while also repeating the historic rallying cry of segregationists. Neither traditional neighborhood schools nor charters do anything to reduce segregation. What charters do instead is offer poor urban children a better education. And the results at the best models are remarkable. No-excuses charter schools eliminate the achievement gap between white and black children. This is a staggering triumph of progressive social policy that should be spread and emulated. A new paper by Sarah Cohodes, Elizabeth Setren, and Christopher R. Walters studies the charter sector in Boston, which is one of the most successful in the country. The Boston charter system, like many successful charters, presents a clear example for studies, because it has a hard cap on attendance that requires students be admitted by lottery. The lottery gives researchers a chance to measure the difference in results between students who win and get to enroll in a charter, and those who don’t. The charters do a far better job than the neighborhood Boston schools. They also produced lower teen pregnancy rates and higher four-year-college attendance. It finds that the expansion of charters in 2010 did not dilute the enormous achievement gains by poor minority children. Rather, the schools managed to replicate the methods that enabled them to develop the potential in these students, including “high expectations, strict discipline, increased time in school, frequent teacher feedback, high-intensity tutoring, and data-driven instruction.” One of the major questions hovering over the charter movement is whether its extraordinary successes for underprivileged children can be scaled up. This important paper shows that they can, if politicians allow them to. Rather than finding ways to replicate these successes, Sanders proposes to snuff them out. There are ways to appeal to teachers without attacking charters – Kamala Harris is doing this, by running on a huge teacher pay hike – but Sanders is instead standing athwart the reform movement yelling “Stop!” Given that teacher unions are more mobilized than parents, this might win Sanders more votes than it costs. The losers are poor students who will lose the chance to learn as much as their wealthy white counterparts.
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Bernie Sanders Launches a Deeply Misguided Attack on Charter Schools

Postby smix » Tue May 21, 2019 4:49 pm

Bernie Sanders Launches a Deeply Misguided Attack on Charter Schools
National Review

URL: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/ ... r-schools/
Category: Politics
Published: May 20, 2019

Description: The Vermont senator’s message to parents is clear, and repugnant: I and my teachers’ union allies know better than you what schools are best for your kids.
One of the great benefits of living life well outside the Beltway is that it’s easy to take my eyes off the swamp, look to the states surrounding me, and see places where politics actually function as they’re supposed to. I can even, occasionally, see those issues on which Democrats and Republicans might work together, united in common purpose, for the common good. Exhibit A: the charter-school movement. It’s granted an invaluable degree of educational choice to families who long lacked the flexibility that prosperous suburban and upper-middle-class parents take for granted, and its extraordinary growth is a bipartisan achievement. There are times when it seems like everyone likes charter schools. The Trump Department of Education has issued hundreds of millions of dollars in charter-school grants. The Obama administration invested in charter schools. As Newark mayor, Democrat Cory Booker “bet big” on charter schools, and athletes such as Jalen Rose and LeBron James have personally invested in them. Here’s how the New York Times described the atmosphere and results at James’s I Promise School:
Every day, [the students] are celebrated for walking through the door. This time last year, the students at the school — Mr. James’s biggest foray into educational philanthropy — were identified as the worst performers in the Akron public schools and branded with behavioral problems. Some as young as 8 were considered at risk of not graduating. Now, they are helping close the achievement gap in Akron.

Of course, not every charter school is good. Not every charter school is a success. But if there has ever existed anything like a broad point of left–right agreement in the American education debate, it’s that charters represent a vital piece of the educational puzzle, an option that can and does transform students’ lives. So why did Bernie Sanders announce last week that, if elected president, he would declare war on charter schools? His poorly named Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education (after all, urban, nonwhite students are among the prime beneficiaries of charter-school choice) would “ban for-profit charter schools,” and “halt the use of public funds to underwrite new charter schools” until they complied with a series of federal conditions that would change their governance and facilitate their unionization (many charter-school faculties aren’t unionized). In so doing, it would remove many of the distinctive qualities that helped make charter schools truly competitive with conventional public schools. It’s tempting to explain the plan as little more than coalition politics, Sanders’s effort to cozy up to the teachers’ unions at the expense of student welfare. But that’s unfair. I know enough people in the greater Bernie orbit to know that they sincerely believe a unionized public-school monopoly in K–12 education represents the best chance for new generations of kids. They believe that, properly funded and led, such a system would facilitate academic achievement and social cohesion. But here’s the core problem: The interest in a collective solution to a series of individual educational challenges understates the reality that choice, by itself, is a vital value in a child’s education. And the power of choice cannot be measured by test scores alone, even though the best charter schools yield spectacular results. I think about my own parenting experience. Like many millions of American families who take their power over their kids’ education for granted, we enjoy multiple privileges a poor family doesn’t. We have the job flexibility to live in any number of places, and we can afford housing in a good school district. If we lived in a county or town with a struggling school district, we could afford modest private-school tuition. And back when we lived in Center City, Philadelphia — at a time when we couldn’t easily move and couldn’t afford private school — we were fortunate enough to win a lottery to put our oldest child in an outstanding charter elementary school. With each of the choices we’ve made for our kids’ education over the years, test scores were among the least important factors we considered. We wanted to know the culture of the school and the character of the teachers. We wondered about athletic opportunities. We were concerned with peer and parental influence. The school was going to play a part in raising our children, and a slight percentage change in a math or language test score was meaningless compared to our concern with the growth and development of their personal characters. The Sanders approach wouldn’t take away choice from parents like us. We could still find private schools. We could still move to better school districts. We could still home school. Charter schools exist in the suburbs and in rural America, but they haven’t had the same impact there that they’ve had in American cities. We’d barely feel the effects of the Sanders policy; its brunt would instead be borne by America’s most vulnerable families. Sanders’s plan tells those families that he knows what’s best for them, that his partners in the unions know how to build the schools they need better than they do. This is anything but equity. It’s anything but fairness. One of the enduring challenges of American public life is the sad reality that children face fundamentally different educational opportunities through the accident of birth. The existence of choice itself is a luxury. It’s a thing of immense value, and many millions of parents can’t even comprehend a life where they don’t have the true, final word over their child’s education. I’m writing these words as I fly to give a series of speeches in Texas sponsored by the Texas Charter Schools Association and the National Review Institute. I’ve been writing and speaking about school choice for much of my adult life. I’ve been litigating on its behalf for just as long. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the desire to choose what’s best for one’s own child crosses racial, religious, and partisan lines. It’s a broadly felt human need. Bernie Sanders makes his intentions crystal clear. In his plan, he writes, “We do not need two schools systems; we need to invest in our public schools system.” This is exactly wrong. One size does not fit all. Sanders looks at parents and declares that he knows best. Parents should look back at him and respond, quite simply: I know my child, and I want to shape his destiny. Your collective solutions cannot meet my family’s needs.



Bernie Sanders’s Backward Charter-School Proposal
National Review

URL: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/ ... -backward/
Category: Politics
Published: May 20, 2019

Description: It really is something: The 2020 Democratic presidential primary already has grown so zany that Bernie Sanders has proposed . . . a reduction in federal support for public education. Strange days, indeed. Some background: Charter schools are a class of public schools operated with some degree of independence from the school bureaucracy and, in some cases, from the public-sector unions. They are the product of a Clinton-era compromise between conservatives pressing for genuine school choice (including vouchers to support families of modest means who, like the Clintons and the Obamas, prefer private schools for their children — but who cannot afford the tuition at Sidwell Friends) and progressives who for political and ideological reasons defend the monopolistic character of the public school systems, no matter how deeply or comprehensively those schools are failing their students, particularly the poor and the nonwhite. The public-sector unions have soured on that compromise, and so have the most left-leaning Democrats. And so Senator Sanders, the Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate and who currently is seeking the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong, has proposed to eliminate federal funding for charter schools operated by for-profit enterprises (about 15 percent of charters) and to prohibit federal funding for all new charter schools, including nonprofits, indefinitely. Here, Senator Sanders is displaying his comradeship with another Brooklyn socialist, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination and who also has made every effort to gut certain public schools that are very popular in low-income minority communities. We can appreciate the allure for these ascendant socialists: The public schools are, after all, one of the few critical enterprises in American life in which the state does in fact own the means of production. Those familiar with the history of this kind of system will not be surprised to learn that it works relatively well for the politically connected — and works barely at all for the least powerful. Which is to say, the charter-school issue exposes a rift in the Democratic coalition. Black urban Democrats such as former Newark mayor Cory Booker have in the past been energetic advocates of charter schools, but the Democratic party increasingly is the party of relatively affluent white suburbanites who can afford to turn up their noses at school reform because their communities are better served by their public schools. Rich white progressives in the suburbs have the luxury of privileging ideology over reality, since few if any of their children will ever set foot in a public school in Philadelphia or Milwaukee. It is to these voters that Senator Sanders’s proposal — cynically framed as a civil-rights issue — is in fact addressed. Charter schools have a mixed record — which is to be expected. Some of them perform very well for students in low-income areas and those with particular needs not well-served by the conventional schools to which they have access; some of them perform poorly; a few of them have been managed with active corruption. Which is to say, they have many things in common with the conventional public schools. Charter schools are not the answer to every educational problem, nor the solution for every family or community. They work well for some students and families — and that is enough. This is one of the reasons for keeping control of education local: because conditions and outcome vary from community to community, and a one-size-fits-all, remote-control policy from Washington cannot account for the genuine diversity of American life. The idea that there is a single model of education that will serve all students, families, and communities is pure nonsense, a product of the society-as-factory mentality that dominates the thinking of old-school socialists such as Senator Sanders. And what’s the future of a few poor kids in dying cities when there’s ideological fanaticism to be serviced and a primary to be won? The reality is that almost every family in these United States with access to excellent K–12 schools is paying tuition. Some of them write big checks to Phillips Exeter; others have the expense rolled into their mortgages, paying a very high price for “free” public schools. But many families do not have the means to enjoy the choices available to the Clintons, the Obamas, the Pelosis, the Feinsteins — or the Sanders family, for that matter: Mrs. Sanders attended private schools. Charter schools are one way to open up the monopolies and provide some alternatives to those desperate for them. Senator Sanders is proposing to foreclose those opportunities, and is doing so for reasons that are as indefensible as they are transparent.



Comrade Sanders Targets Charter Schools
National Review

URL: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/05/ ... r-schools/
Category: Politics
Published: May 21, 2019

Description: Sanders seeks to kneecap what has been an astonishingly successful experiment in education.
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.
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Bernie Sanders’ Stance Against School Choice Only Hurts Minority Kids

Postby smix » Sun May 26, 2019 2:18 am

Bernie Sanders’ Stance Against School Choice Only Hurts Minority Kids
The Federalist

URL: https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/23/be ... rity-kids/
Category: Politics
Published: May 23, 2019

Description: Last Friday, Bernie Sanders released his Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education. There is much to debate and books worth of rebuttals that this plan warrants. However, he advances one central and misguided idea against which social science almost universally goes: Sanders proposes we ban charter schools and has elsewhere opposed school choice. Yet both are a definitive boon for American education. I am a teacher and want to see public schools succeed. So the only question that matters in this discussion is how charter schools affect children. Stanford University researchers ran a comprehensive study in 2013 and found that, while charter schools lagged behind traditional public schools in 2009—when the modern movement first gained steam—the average student in a charter school by 2013 had gained an equivalent to eight additional days of learning each year compared to his conventional public school counterparts. The left-leaning Center for Public Education, an organization skeptical of charter schools, can only admit that the differences between public and charter schools may be negligible. The National Education Association (NEA) eschews discussing any disparities in learning outcomes and instead addresses the supposed instability of charter schools and their effects on unions. Both organizations know that, at worst, charter schools have no effect on learning, and in reality there is a preponderance of evidence in their favor. Even if the Center for Public Education statistics are taken as representative, Patrick Wolf and Corey DeAngelis of the University of Arkansas found that charters are a better return on investment, creating higher learning outcomes per dollar spent. So, even if charters’ effect on learning is neutral, they save money and are thus a net benefit. Compared to students in the average suburban school, charter-school students don’t fare quite as well. However, the Stanford study broke down student success by demographic and found that, when enrolled in charters, students in poverty, African-American students, Hispanic students, special-education students, and English language learners all outperform their counterparts in conventional public schools. To some extent, this could explain discrepancies in research regarding the efficacy of charters. They serve student bodies with a higher poverty rate than do conventional public schools. So they not only educate more minority students successfully but also have more to overcome to reach the same achievement levels as the average public school. That they still do so is yet more reason for praise. While it is not a point in his recently released education platform, Sanders has elsewhere said that he strongly opposes school choice. This opposition is perhaps even more detrimental than his proposition to ban charters. While most affluent and Caucasian families have the luxury of moving neighborhoods in search of the best school, minority students are unable to move into pricier school districts and thus typically stuck by zoning laws in failing schools. Or, of course, families with more money can afford to send their children to private schools regardless of where they live. The rich already have school choice, and Sanders’ opposition to its spread will ensure that minority students don’t. A central tenet of leftism today proclaims it is incumbent upon the government to support minorities after a history of slavery, redlining, and other discriminatory practices. Both charters and school choice are poised to do just this: disproportionately benefit minority students. Sanders’ platform runs counter to his leftist ideals, so he is defeating himself even on his own terms. Bernie’s opposition to charter schools, then, has nothing to do with supporting students. In his plan, the language justifying their dissolution mentions “billionaires” and the “hedge fund executives” who have bankrolled their expansion. The NEA criticizes them for draining funds from traditional public schools and breaking the regulatory stranglehold that the federal government currently has. Both are opposed to them because they demand results, weaken unions, and are competitive. Regardless of its effect, Sanders fights privatization on ideological grounds even though effective schooling is his stated goal. In the face of conflicting evidence, Bernie falls back upon his beliefs in socialism and distaste for Wall Street. The argument over charter schools isn’t about results but ideology and, once again, Bernie’s socialism fails.
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