Nancy Flanagan is a retired teacher in Michigan with long experience in the classroom and one of our best education bloggers.

In this post, she wonders why the Democratic candidates are mostly mum about charters. At the last Democratic debate, when the question of charters was raised, Andrew Yang was the only one who openly expressed support for charters. The good news is that Andrew Yang will not be the eventual candidate. Even Cory Booker avoided the subject. Bernie Sanders, whose education policy is sharply critical of charters, did not take the opportunity to express his views. He should have.

Flanagan writes:

I believe charter schools have done untold damage to public education, and I’ve had twenty years to observe the public money/private management ideology establish itself in Michigan. First, a scattering of alternative-idea boutique schools, another ‘choice’ for picky parents. Then they go after the low-hanging fruit, the schools in deep poverty—and then the healthier districts.  There is now agreement with an idea once unthinkable in America: corporations have a “right” to advertise and sell education, using our tax dollarsSo—no, I cannot be agnostic. In the end, I’d like to see charter schools go away, one at a time, forever, because mountains of evidence have proven that they’re ripe for fraud and malpractice, and because there are far better public-school options, in every city and neighborhood. I think that’s preferable to trying to extinguish or ban charter schools outright—although ending all federal financial support for charters is Step One. That will necessitate a new Secretary of Education. The rest will mean changing hearts and minds—a long, slow process.

She adds:

Education is my issue, but charters are a mere slice of a bigger pie. It was gratifying to simply hear candidates talk about education on the stage. Here’s what I would like to hear from a candidate:

Let’s invest more in fully public education—the kind that’s community-based and has elected oversight. Let’s acknowledge the places where it has crumbled and rebuild them, instead of abandoning them. Let’s work toward more economically and ethnically diverse schools, making them places where building an informed citizenry and developing individual talents—not test scores—are our highest goals.

Right on, Nancy!

Let’s keep pushing the candidates and demand them to speak out against privatization.

Real Democrats do not outsource public money to privately managed schools and religious schools.