In a major education policy speech set to be delivered Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders will call for a ban on all for-profit charter schools, a position that puts him directly at odds with the Trump administration and becoming the first of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to insist on such a move.
The Vermont independent also will call for a moratorium on the funding of all public charter school expansion until a national audit on the schools has been completed. Additionally, Sanders will promise to halt the use of public funds to underwrite all new charter schools if he is elected president.
A senior Sanders campaign official shared the details of policy proposal with CNN ahead of the Sanders speech in South Carolina — the crucial early primary state where the African-American vote is a key voting base. The moratorium on the funding of public charter schools was initially called for by the NAACP; Sanders will say in his speech that he supports the group’s efforts.
Sanders will also make the case that the growth of charter schools has done disproportionate harm to the black community because it has pulled public dollars away from community public schools.
He will give his speech in Orangeburg on the anniversary weekend of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
According to the campaign, Sanders will outline a series of reforms he deems necessary to charter school policy. Among them:
*Mandating that charter schools comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools
*Mandating that at least half of all charter school boards are teachers and parents
*Disclosing student attrition rates, non-public funding sources, financial interests and other relevant data
*Matching employment practices at charters with neighboring district schools, including standards set by collective bargaining agreements and restrictions on exorbitant CEO pay
*Supporting the efforts of charter school teachers to unionize and bringing charter schools to the negotiating table
Sanders will concede that the initial goal of charter schools — to help kids with unique learning needs — was admirable. But he will argue the system has been corrupted by wealthy activists who spent millions to privatize these schools, leaving them unaccountable and draining funds from the public school system.
Update: Bernie is holding a TH in Denmark, SC.
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