Bernie Sanders' "Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education" will desegregate schools, defund charters, pay teachers, end the school-to-prison pipeline

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What’s the problem with the current incarnation of charter schools?

Where I live, the charters are open to everybody (lottery), provide objectively better outcomes for the students, and do so with less funding on a per student basis.


He’s also famous for something else…


For one thing, they allow religious fundies to do an end-run around the Establishment Clause by getting taxpayer funding for their schools. That’s a major problem with the current incarnation.

Another issue is that charter schools aren’t open to everyone by lottery as a standard. Often the process for getting a child into a charter school involves hurdles that exclude poor and disadvantaged people (e.g. having to miss work to line up for an application or interview).

Finally, the charter schools that provide better outcomes with less funding usually do so by requiring a lot of “voluntary” work and donations by the parents at the school, which reduces the biggest line item on the budget (labour) and also tends to place poor people at a disadvantage.


Aye; he was the first Black person ever appointed to the US Supreme Court.


And, also, they routinely cook the books. Republicans here in Arizona are desperately trying to head off a huge scandal about that.


In terms of finances or “juking the stats” on performance metrics or both? With AZ Republicans trying to privatise public schools it could be any of them.


(I’m a donor to both Sanders’ and Warren’s campaigns).

Same here, our family is setting aside a few bucks every two weeks to send to their campaigns.


Charter schools have a terrible record of taking the money and then tanking leaving the public schools to clean up their mess. Two of them did that in my city in one year. They also don’t have any better outcomes than public schools, and that’s with being able to pick and choose their students. What they do well is pay less, offer less, and skim their profit - even if they don’t call it that - from public money.


End the school to prison pipeline? Why, that’s positively unAmerican!


His apple pie recipe, right?



And then there’s also the teacher’s union-busting aspect of charter schools. Fuck 'em.


I’m curious where you live because I’ve never seen any study that shows charter schools providing objectively better results than public schools with identical populations.


Charter schools, and the laws under which they are run, vary widely between states. Both their supporters and their detractors tend to ignore this. There are states where studies have shown they improve things and states where they are an easy method of corruption.


My wife is the chief statistician and data scientist for a good-sized city. She has been doing a lot of work lately on charter school outcomes in the State and nationally. So far there is no evidence anywhere that charter schools anywhere deliver better results for less money.


Huh, I knew that was one objective of school voucher people. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a religious charter school before. If that’s a thing, then it’s definitely some bullshit.

Hmm… The one I’m most familiar with is open to everyone in the state. The process is a bingo style (student numbers drawn from a hat at a public meeting) drawing. There is a required briefing on the school and application process a couple of months before the drawing. It’s held on a Saturday and the repeated about a month later. Applicants are required to attend one of the sessions with a parent/guardian. I don’t believe it’s a “keep out the poors” filter, but can understand the concern in this area.

There’s a priority admission scheme for siblings of current students, and children of staff members. School busses are available for all district residents (the whole city).

I can’t begin to imagine the mechanics of such a requirement. It’s definitely not a thing here.

Huh. This must be a case what user cnoocy was referring to.

The school I was thinking of is this one. It’s a blue ribbon school. US News & World Report ranked it #1 in the state and #108 nationwide.


Unfortunately, it is a thing:

In the last decade, religious organizations have flocked to charter schools as a way to get public tax dollars to promote their private agendas. Sometimes, religious schools simply close at the end of the school year and reopen in the fall as public charter schools, hiring many of the same teachers and taking on most of the same students. By law, these schools should be open and accepting of students of any background and be secular in purpose and in practice. Thematic language and cultural instruction are often the secular justifications for these institutions, although cultural preservation for one particular group of students is clearly the intention. A Greek Orthodox community opens a charter school in Brooklyn with a Greek language and culture theme, with a predominantly Greek staff and clientele; a Florida Jewish school reopens as a Hebrew-theme academy that focuses on Jewish history and culture and teaches the Hebrew language, explicitly serving “Jewish communal purposes.”

Other states don’t mandate that, and often there are no standards within states. Some schools take advantage of that to use slimy tactics to deliberately exclude poor people.

The main mechanic in some schools is a lot of pressure put on the parents to “support their child’s education”, with an unwillingness to volunteer or donate being portrayed as a “lack of commitment”. I know parents at charter schools like that, and while they’re fortunate enough to have time during the day to “volunteer” they’re open about the tactics employed by the administrators.

If your specific school avoids all these issues and the others mentioned, great. But you asked about the general problem, and got valid answers.


My only issue is it doesn’t go far enough. I’m itching to take aim at private and religious schools too. Schools need to educate, not indoctrinate.


I live in a city (Boston) where desegregation busing is alive and well. It’s now called “school choice.” It means that if you live on a block with fourteen kids, they might go to fourteen different schools. It also means that middle-class families find the lottery system so crazy-making that there’s an exodus as children turn five. Segregation here is now far worse than it was before desegregation.

The effect of intense school segregation on minority kids (in a city that’s about 50% white, many kids go to schools that are 99% minority) is part of what’s spurring movement towards charter schools here - they’re also highly segregated, but minority parents feel they have better outcomes.

I like Bernie’s ideas very much. I hope some smart folks can turn those ideas into effective policies that produce the outcomes desired. That’s not what happened in my city.


Charters are under no obligation to take on disabled students, English- learner students, students in need of discipline, e.t.c. Your local public school is. THAT is how charters create the illusion that they work.