Bernie Sanders Leads the Anti–charter School Charge
Reason magazine|October 2019

“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 can­ didate for the Democratic presidential nomination doesn’t believe in, he said, are “privately controlled charter schools.”

Billy Binion

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 for­profit coun­ terparts.

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 for­profit charters a perfect target in the eyes of democratic socialists like Sanders.

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