Washington Post Editorial Board Slams Sanders, Teachers Unions for Charter School Opposition

Sen. Bernie Sanders Participates In A Fox News Town Hall In Pennsylvania
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• May 28, 2019 10:50 am


The Washington Post slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and teachers unions in an editorial Monday for their stark stance against charter schools, saying the schools help rather than hurt minority students.

Sanders, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has called for a suspension of federal funding for charter schools and an outright ban on for-profit charters. He wrote in his education plan that they "disproportionately affected communities of color" and cited organizations claiming they had intensified "racial segregation."

The Post said studies showed the opposite of Sanders's point: Charter schools largely benefited minority students receiving access to higher-quality education they would not otherwise be exposed to:

Mr. Sanders is right about the outsize effects on minority communities — but those effects have been positive, not negative. Of the nearly 3.2 million public charter school students, 68 percent are students of color, with 26 percent of them African Americans. Studies indicate that students of color, students from low-income families and English-language learners enrolled in public charter schools make greater academic progress than their peers in traditional schools. Research from Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that African American students in charter schools gained an additional 59 days of learning in math and 44 days in reading per year compared with their traditional school counterparts.

The Post said blanket opposition to charter schools was "wrong-headed" and dinged Democrats for being overly beholden to teachers unions, which "oppose charters for reasons having nothing to do with the welfare of children."

Trump administration Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been a longtime advocate of charter schools and school vouchers, championing school choice initiatives during her time in the Cabinet.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2017 that a study of New York City schools demonstrated charter schools boosted the performance of schools around them, and the Free Beacon reported earlier this month on a study showing Boston charter schools are raising test scores and college entrance rates, even as they expand their student bodies.