Chicago, IL – Despite once confirming support for the public charter schools that serve thousands of students of color, 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced today that he plans to call for a moratorium on funding the expansion of public charter schools until a national audit on the schools has been completed.
Education Post believes parents deserve the freedom to choose and access the education that is best for their children. Sanders’ plan to halt funding for the expansion of charter schools is a sad attempt to improve the education of all children, and specifically robs thousands of Black and Latino students of the educational opportunities that are helping them learn and thrive. Below are quotes from Education Post’s network of parents and educators who refuse to let leaders claim to support their communities while relentlessly attacking school options that improve outcomes for Black and Latino students.
“It’s infuriating to see any candidate running for one of the biggest offices in the world, think so small about an issue as important as education,” said Education Post CEO Chris Stewart. “When will Sanders and others raise questions about how to get better outcomes for the millions of youth suffering in schools that either fail them or exclude them altogether, instead of attacking the 5% of families who have chosen charter schools that get results for their kids?” Stewart said.
“Hey, Bernie, why don’t you put a moratorium on the system that has just 60% of Black boys in Philadelphia graduating high school in four years?” said Sharif El-Mekki, principal at Mastery Charter Schools – Shoemaker campus. “If you had any respect for the lived experience of Black families, you would recognize the impact of walling us off from quality public school options. So before you use your power and platform to promote a boneheaded policy that negatively impacts Black students’ outcomes and quality of life, come visit some schools outside of Vermont. We would welcome you to our neighborhood charter school in West Philadelphia where Black families could share what it means to find a school where their children feel safe, respected and engaged,” El-Mekki said.
“Once again, politicians are playing games with the lives of our children to score cheap political points, without any real understanding of the life and death consequences that underperforming schools have for children like ours,” said Keri Rodrigues Lorenzo, parent and founder of Massachusetts Parents United. “Public charter schools give parents the chance to opt our children out of the school-to-prison pipeline that has been established in many traditional district schools. Perhaps Senator Sanders should spend some time in Boston talking to actual parents who are forced to send their children to the underperforming schools that exist alongside the highest performing charter schools in the nation,” Lorenzo said.
“I’m a Bernie voter, but I’m also an educator and supporter of the thousands of students who rely on charter schools,” said Zach Wright, parent and former teacher. “Senator Sanders is wrong to suggest a moratorium on the expansion of public charter schools. His announcement shows no regard for students, and instead suggests he has been purchased by teachers unions the same way others have been bought by the NRA and pharmaceutical companies; so I’m just not feeling the Bern,” Wright said.
“Charters provide an important choice for women and their children, and I want good Democrats to stop the hypocrisy and protect Latina and Black women’s rights to choose the kind of school their children attend,” said Alma Marquez, parent and founder of the La Comadre network in California. “Trust us to find the option that is best for our children. My child’s education is the most important choice that should be mine and not any disconnected politician’s agenda,” Marquez said.