School Choice

Bloomberg Supports Charter Schools, Deeply Vexes Sanders and Warren

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders correctly diagnose the problem, but fail to provide an adequate solution.

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Since entering the 2020 presidential race, Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg has been the odd man out, something glaringly obvious as his fellow contenders zero in on him during the debates. Tuesday's sparring match was no different, although the former New York City mayor did delineate himself in at least one positive way: He appeared to be the only candidate to support school choice.

"We've cut the gap between the rich and the poor," Bloomberg said, noting that different regions of the country might require varied educational approaches. "We've made an enormous difference in all the options that parents have."

Under Bloomberg, who was in office from 2002 to 2013, New York City's charter sector grew by more than 1,000 percent, increasing from 18 to 183 schools and from 4,442 to 71,422 students. 

The effect of that growth has been "unambiguously positive," according to a study by Marcus A. Winters of the center-right Manhattan Institute. Per the data, New York's charter students perform "much better" on math tests and "somewhat better" on English language assessments. 

The remaining candidates declined to support school choice initiatives.

"Public dollars should stay in public schools," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), repeating the same flawed argument that she has made repeatedly on the campaign trail. Charter schools are public schools.

They are, however, privately managed, and as such, able to adhere to less burdensome and more innovative educational models that may help explain why their students consistently perform better.

That couldn't be clearer in Warren's home state. Charter school students in Massachusetts urban areas categorically outperform their counterparts at traditional public schools. And, to Warren's point, they save taxpayers money: Boston spends $2,900 less per charter pupil compared to traditional public school attendees.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) accurately honed in on what's at stake here. "Kids' education should not depend on the zip code in which they live," the democratic socialist noted. But he then pivoted to promises of free college, universal free childcare, and teacher salary minimums. Such plans do nothing to address a system which traps students in subpar public schools solely based on where they live and often on where they are born. Perhaps that's why the majority of black and Hispanic Democrats have expressed their support for school choice: they positively impact the very same vulnerable communities which make up the Democratic voter base. 

This seems to be something Bloomberg understands. "The only way to solve the poverty problem is to get people a good education," he said Tuesday. "And rather than just talk about it in New York, we actually did it."

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17 responses to “Bloomberg Supports Charter Schools, Deeply Vexes Sanders and Warren

  1. “Perhaps that’s why the majority of black and Hispanic Democrats have expressed their support for school choice: they positively impact the very same vulnerable communities which make up the Democratic voter base.”

    Thank goodness there’s a Democrat thinking like they do, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to vote for anyone!

  2. Tuesday’s sparring match was no different,

    since the moderators refuse to cut a candidate’s microphone feed when xir time is up.

  3. Bloomberg’s debate platform through 2 debates: “the rest of you are morons, and crazy”
    He’s got a point.
    Unfortunately for Bloomberg, he just sucks so much.
    And he’s tiny

    1. Don’t make fun of his size, you’ll give him a dangerous complex:

  4. The libertarian case for Bloomberg.

  5. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders correctly diagnose the problem

    No, they did not. Not even close

    Hint: the problem with public schools is that they are government schools.

    1. “Hint: the problem with public schools is that they are government schools.”
      I don’t know if you are to be credited, but someone here, years ago, corrected me regarding whose schools they are.
      The may accept public enrollment, but they are government schools, and that alone explains a LOT about the current political climate.
      If you turn schooling over to government-paid operatives, it should be no surprise that they pitch the government as a cure for what ails ya.

  6. The image is WONDERFUL!
    Staring off in the middle distance:
    “Hero socialist tractor driver exceeds quota!”

    1. Naw, he’s just looking up, which he has to do with just about everybody.

      Mentally, he looks down on everybody. But not physically.

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  9. I don’t know why they don’t fix the problems with the debate format. This stuff is really easy, so I’ll assume that they don’t want them fixed.

    Everyone should get equal time. Not “at the moderator’s discretion”. The parties should insist on this. The fact that they don’t makes me suspect that they feel like they are able to exercise some secret control of the moderators behind the scene. As in 2016, when the moderators pushed the focus onto Trump in the primaries at the time that the DNC emails show that they were pushing news agencies to support Trump’s candidacy as a boon to their chances.

    A simple clock like they use in chess would handle it. Your microphone gets turned on for a total of 20 minutes. You chose how to use them. Give them the button to turn it off when they are done. When their time is up, they can’t talk any more. Problem solved.

  10. Charter schools are public schools.

    ….Boston spends $2,900 less per charter pupil compared to public school attendees.

    No comprendo.

    Equivocation for me but not for thee? Also, please don’t conflate charters with “school choice”, which is a much broader category which charters aren’t necessarily even part of. I think if you questioned the candidates closely, you’d find all or almost all were for school choice regimes of one kind or other. I also find it at least curious that in the libertarian movement, charters have occupied so much of the support for school choice, when 25 years ago I suspect most of us would’ve considered them a distraction.

    1. You’d find no such thing.

      They have explicitly tied any form of school choice to racism and efforts to resist desegregation.

      The DNC candidates are much more opposed to other forms of school choice. Their rhetoric moves with the wind, but the core remains. Government run schools with a centrally defined curriculum and union teachers. That is what their position is, regardless of the adornments placed on top.

      They want the control to indoctrinate the next generation exactly as they see fit, regardless of the parent’s preference. And they want all of the teaching jobs to go to union teachers. And those teachers must be paid more. Always more, regardless of what happens.

  11. but then you don’t get the fun little arguments, and as everyone knows, drama improves ratings. Which is why they like it when Warren goes on the warpath

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