As Bernie Sanders declares war on charter schools, Democratic primary voters remain divided on the issue — with large racial gaps

CNN reports that Bernie Sanders will essentially be declaring war on charter schools, trying to ban for-profit ones while calling for a moratorium on others:


In a major education policy speech set to be delivered Saturday, Sen. Bernie Sanders will call for a ban on all for-profit charter schools, a position that puts him directly at odds with the Trump administration and becoming the first of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to insist on such a move.


The Vermont independent also will call for a moratorium on the funding of all public charter school expansion until a national audit on the schools has been completed. Additionally, Sanders will promise to halt the use of public funds to underwrite all new charter schools if he is elected president.
A senior Sanders campaign official shared the details of policy proposal with CNN ahead of the Sanders speech in South Carolina — the crucial early primary state where the African-American vote is a key voting base. The moratorium on the funding of public charter schools was initially called for by the NAACP; Sanders will say in his speech that he supports the group’s efforts.
Sanders will also make the case that the growth of charter schools has done disproportionate harm to the black community because it has pulled public dollars away from community public schools.
It’s interesting that Sanders is taking the lead from the NAACP, the nation’s leading civil rights group. The move could be framed as in favor of teachers unions, but Sanders seems to instead be prepared to portray his anti-charter policies as in solidarity with civil rights activists.
It’s true the NAACP took a sharp critical turn when it comes to charter schools. However, most of the reduction in support for public school choice is among white Democrats, not African Americans.
The policy package Sanders is proposing should be debated on the merits, of course. But tying opposition to charter schools so closely to racial opposition to charter schools suggests that Sanders has the polling backwards, and is over-reacting to the NAACP’s recent position. (It is far more likely Sanders’s call will make him popular with teachers unions.)

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