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Bernie Sanders wants less school choice

No.399205 ViewReplyOriginalReport
Sen. Bernie Sanders will call for a ban on building certain charter schools in a major education policy address to be delivered Saturday in South Carolina, a senior campaign official for the 2020 presidential contender tells USA TODAY.

Additionally, Sanders will pledge to impose a moratorium on using taxpayer funds on charter school expansion in communities if he’s elected president, a position that the NAACP has been advocating.

The speech by Sanders comes one day after the 65th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling handed down by the Supreme Court, which ruled segregation in public schools to be illegal.

“Our school system can no longer put up fences for black and brown children,” Sanders said in an op-ed in the Asheville Citizen-Times, part of the USA TODAY Network, published Friday.

Charters are publicly funded but privately run, and have grown in popularity around the country since their inception more than 25 years ago. Advocates say their relative independence – they face fewer instructional and bureaucratic regulations, and are largely free from collective bargaining – allow educators to innovate.

Advocates for charter schools blasted the Sanders’ proposal.

“Sanders’ call is out of touch—as usual—with what African Americans want,” said Amy Wilkins, the senior vice president of advocacy for the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools. “More disturbing, the senator—for personal political gain—would literally lock African American students into schools that have failed them for generations.”

The Vermont senator is the first major 2020 Democratic candidate to call for a ban on for-profit charters or a moratorium on expanding charters.

Nearly 3.2 million students attended nearly 7,000 charter schools nationwide last school year, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Enrollment was up 5 percent from the previous year.