As I reported earlier, I had a long conversation about education policy with top staff in the Bernie Sanders campaign. Among other things, I explained that charters are a first step on the privatization path that leads to vouchers and that charters cause deep cuts to public schools. I emphasized that charter schools are privately managed and areNOT public schools.

I could not have been clearer in warning that charters that get high scores “succeed” by screening out the kids they don’t want.

So Bernie’s campaign issued a statement on public schools this morning. The big message: Reinvest in public schools.

But this is point one:

  • We must make sure that charter schools are truly serving the needs of disadvantaged children.

This ignores the fact that charter schools are not public schools. They are privately managed. They are free to choose their students and free to expel those they don’t want.

This ignores the fact that the NAACP called for a charter moratorium. The ACLU of Southern California criticized charters for discriminating against and excluding students with disabilities and ELLS.  The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit against charters in Mississippi for seeking to divert public funds from public schools, contrary to the state constitution.

How can the federal government “make sure” that charters are meeting the needs of disadvantaged students when they are free to exclude them and when charter lobbyists write the state laws?

Can Bernie learn?