Charter Schools

Bernie Sanders Leads the Anti-Charter School Charge 


"I believe in public education, and I believe in public charter schools," explained Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) at a CNN town hall in March. What the candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination doesn't believe in, he said, are "privately controlled charter schools."

The problem with that distinction is that all charters are privately controlled to some degree. They are also all public schools, funded with taxpayer money. That dual nature is what distinguishes charter schools from every other kind.

Sanders clarified his stance when he released an education plan in May. While he wants more "accountability" for nonprofit charters, he would entirely ban their for-profit counterparts.

According to data obtained from the National Alliance for Charter Schools, schools run by for-profit companies make up roughly 12 percent of charters nationwide. One of the goals of these schools—at least on paper—is to make money. Regardless of what they do for their students, that makes for-profit charters a perfect target in the eyes of democratic socialists like Sanders.

How well they serve students matters, however. Such charters exist because parents prefer them to the state-run alternative. "Charter schools are held accountable by parents, who can choose or not choose to enroll their children there," says Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation. "Charters only receive [public] funding if families are selecting into them."

By contrast, Burke says, "public schools are in the position of near-monopolies that receive students—and funding—regardless of how poorly they perform. Those interested in 'accountability' should start by turning a critical eye toward the traditional public school system, where fraud and financial mismanagement is, unfortunately, a reality for districts across the country."

Sanders would likely counter that for-profit charters are partially responsible for low student achievement. Online charter schools, in particular, present a conundrum for charter devotees: Studies show that those students exhibit weaker academic performance in both reading and math.

But even that model has its place, argues Burke. "Online charters are serving the needs of students who in some cases cannot attend a brick-and-mortar school, or who want to try an individual course, or who have been completely left behind by the traditional public school system," she says. "In some cases, online options are providing important credit recovery options and drop-out prevention tools."

These educational alternatives have become scapegoats for poor outcomes in traditional public schools, from whom charters supposedly siphon difference-making dollars. But charter schools collect just 64 percent of the funds that traditional public schools receive. Students enrolled in the latter cost an average of $13,764 in state funding per year, or nearly $170,000 for each individual who receives a K–12 education. Yet only one-third of high schoolers are able to read proficiently.

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      1. You’ll have a whale of a time!

        How crazy is too crazy for a libertarian? Why not find out?

  3. Old man with a whack plan.

    “More accountability” for charter schools but not more accountability for regular public schools that can’t graduate fully literate people no matter how much money is thrown at them?

    And accountability to whom, exactly? Any school should be accountable to its students. If the students are very young, then to their parents. The school is required to educate the little darlings, not to be accountable to the likes of some washed-up geezer whose freshest idea dates to the early 1900s.

    1. Old geezer is not fresh smelling, believes we have too many kinds of deodorant.

      1. When you don’t wear any it seems like everyone else wears too much.

  4. “Charter schools are held accountable by parents, who can choose or not choose to enroll their children there,”

    Well, there is your socialist’s problem right there. How can the children be made equal if their parents can choose different schools for them?

  5. Charter schools might not provide the proper indoctrination. Progressives can’t have that.

  6. 1) Of course Bernie hates them. In order for propaganda to be effective you need to control the kids full stop. Progressives – or any left-wing ideology from Nazis to Fascists to socialists to communists- love abusing the kids with their ideas.

    2) Profit = poor service or bad product to a socialist. They live in a world where the sky is some other color than blue.

    3) Wasn’t there a chart floating around showing school tests results dropping dramatically starting when the DoE was created?

    4) If millennials are an indicator, as a recent example, we’ve absolutely failed to alarming levels on what we’ve done to them where history and critical thinking are concerned. They’re vulnerable and sympathetic to socialism because of their detachment to our past. Hence, all this rubbish AOC and Grandpa Gulag pimp out they embrace.

    But Gen X is no better. The other day I heard a guy talking about having bought himself a revenue property and some politics. Then he said he was going to probably vote for Trudeau because ‘Scheer is boring’.

    Not only is he shallow for a 45 year-old he’s voting for a party that wants to tax capital gains at 100% which would directly hurt him.

    No one seems to be fricken thinking anymore.

    1. Pretty much exactly what I thought the moment I read the headline. Bravo.

      Of COURSE Bernie loathes Charter Schools; they represent the real possibility of voters too educated to fall for his codswallop.

  7. only one-third of high schoolers are able to read proficiently.

    That’s OK. Those 16-yo voters can choose from a photo ballot.

    1. 16 year-olds can vote (which to anyone who has 16 year-olds this is a bad idea. 18 is even too young) but don’t you dare have sex or sext.

      Our political wannabe masters are asshats and quite possibly insane.

  8. This guy is the worst and he keeps getting worse. Thank god he has no chance to become president of the united states.

    1. Sarcasm?

      1. If they can swing a Warren-Sanders ticket, be very afraid…

        1. I’m just alluding to the fact that lots of people said the same thing about Trump.

        2. What would their slogan be? “Two flaming loons for the price of one!”?

          Not that I doubt the Democrat Party is capable of it. And against a typical Republican ‘Gentlemanly Looser’ they’d do pretty well. Against Trump? I make no guarantees, but my instinct is that they would be roadkill on a highway to a landslide strongly reminiscent of 1972. Hopefully without the sequel.

        3. How would a Warren/Sanders ticket pivot to the center after winning the Dem nomination?

          1. Pretend they are the center and call Trump a racist.

  9. Bernie hates freedom, but we knew that already.

  10. Bernie is giving cranky old men a bad name.

  11. FFS.

    More generally, can we change global political behavior?

    We have something like 200 countries today, which offer different political and social systems. Instead of trying to change the one you live in, how about a free ticket to one that suits your politics? We could even do this like health insurance, with an annual open enrollment–plus significant personal milestones like turning 18.

    1. Dude got kicked out of a commune for being lazy. No one else would take him (unless there was an Obamacare like provision that countries had to accept “pre-existing conditions”.

      1. Maybe that’s what Antarctica is for.

  12. Very nice post and nicely written by you.

  13. Well, considering that the Constitution nowhere assigns “education” to FedGov, and that it does NOT specifically deny that “realm” to the states, then per the Tenth Article of Ammendment FedGov CANNOT meddle with education in any way. The very fact that Scammers, er, Sanders, wants to violate the Constittuion in this arena is proof he should not be president. IF he were to be elected, it is all but certain he’d quickly violate hisoath of office…

  14. Inside the mind of Bernie Sanders (and his ilk), “HOW DARE people get PAID more for producing a REALLY GOOD education than for facilities that brainwash their kids into being juvenile delinquents!!! We’ve got to STOP this madness by law!!!”

    Someone is MAD alright and it’s not the result of a “really good” education – but probably the result of hanging out with USSR buddies and juvenile delinquents that insist their uselessness is just as valuable as useful.

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