Elizabeth Warren released her K-12 education plan on Monday. I was thrilled that Warren calls for elimination of the federal Charter School Program, which has become Betsy DeVos’s personal slush fund. This year, she dumped $440 million into states that never asked for it and don’t need it, while fattening the coffers of well-funded corporate chains like KIPP, IDEA, and Success Academy.

As the Network for Public Education reported after analyzing the federal CSP awards from 2006-2014 (before DeVos took office), the federal government failed to investigate applicants and awarded more than $1 billion to charter schools that either failed to open or closed soon after opening. The CSP has been a dismal failure and a waste of federal funds. Considering that charters are already funded by the Waltons, the Koch Foundation, the DeVos family, the Broad Foundation, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and dozens of other billionaires and corporations, it is not necessary for the federal government to add more to this vast stockpile of funding for charters.

Here is Warren’s plan. 

Please note that her plan links to NPE’s “Asleep At the Wheel” as the rationale for ending the federal Charter Schools Program.

  • End federal funding for the expansion of charter schools: The Federal Charter School Program (CSP), a series of federal grants established to promote new charter schools, has been an abject failure. A recent reportshowed that the federal government has wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that never even opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons. The Department of Education’s own watchdog has even criticized the Department’s oversight of the CSP. As President, I would eliminate this charter school program and end federal funding for the expansion of charter schools. I would also examine whether other federal programs or tax credits subsidize the creation of new charter schools and seek to limit the use of those programs for that purpose. 

I like the Warren plan a lot. Everyone who has followed the blog for any length of time knows that the goal of NPE is to insist that public money go to public schools and to insist that public schools must be well funded so they can provide equal opportunity for ALL students.

We have seen over time that charters are the gateway drug to vouchers, and Betsy DeVos has done us a favor by making that linkage clear.

The Democratic Party must reclaim its heritage as the party that supports equity and supports real public schools that are transparent and accountable to elected officials, not secretive private boards.

Here is the fund-raising letter I received about her plan.

Warren for President
Diane,

Growing up in Oklahoma, all I ever wanted was to be a public school teacher.

My life had a lot of twists and turns along the way, but after I graduated from a public university where tuition cost only $50 a semester, I got to live my dream as a special education teacher at a public school in New Jersey.

I believe in America’s public schools, and I believe that every kid in America should have the same access to a high-quality public education — no matter what zip code they live in, the color of their skin, or how much money their parents make.

And right now, we’re not living up to that promise.

Betsy DeVos has been a disaster as Secretary of Education, but the truth is that funding for public K-12 education has been both inadequate and inequitable for a long, long time. Right now, we’re failing to treat public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and school staff like the professionals that they are. We need to pay them well, listen to them, and give them the support that they need.

We can do so much better for our students, our educators, and our communities, so that’s why today I’m releasing my K-12 public education plan that will:

  1. Fund schools adequately and equitably so that all students have access to a great public education.
  2. Renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in our schools.
  3. Provide a warm, safe, and nurturing school climate for all our kids.
  4. Treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are.
  5. Stop the privatization and corruption of our public education system.

And it would all be paid for by the Ultra-Millionaire Tax, a two cent tax on fortunes above $50 million.

Our students, public school educators, and parents deserve a president that will fight for them — and that’s the kind of president I’ll be. Add your name here if you support my plan to provide a great public school education to every student.

Here’s how we’ll get it done.

→ First, we’re going to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into our public schools (paid for by the Ultra-Millionaire Tax).

That means we’ll be able to quadruple Title I funding — an additional $450 billion over the next 10 years — to help every child get a high-quality public education. And we’ll make that additional funding conditional on states improving their commitment to educational funding themselves.

We’ll finally make good on our promise to fully fund IDEA — committing an additional $20 billion a year to ensure that students with disabilities receive the educational services they are entitled to.

My plan would invest an additional $100 billion in “Excellence Grants”, which would give schools the chance to invest in programs and resources that they believe are most important to their students.

Finally, my plan would invest at least an additional $50 billion in infrastructure in schools across the country, targeted at those that need it most.

→ We’ll renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in our public schools.

Integrated communities help create a society built on mutual respect and understanding, and integrated schools — which are demanded by our Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection to every person in this country — improve educational outcomes for students of all races.

That’s why I’m committed to strengthening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in any program or activity that receives federal funding — and reviving robust enforcement of its terms.

My plan uses federal education funding to encourage states to further integrate their schools, and my administration will strictly enforce the right of students with disabilities to a free and appropriate public education and will protect the rights of LGBTQ+ students, English Language Learners, and immigrant students and their families.

→ We’ll ensure every student has the opportunity to learn in a traditional public school that’s welcoming and safe.

My plan will expand access to early childhood services and education, eliminate high-stakes testing, and cancel student breakfast and lunch debt to ensure the federal government plays its part in trying to bring a positive and nurturing climate to every school.

We’ll also create safer environments for our students by ending zero-tolerance discipline policies, establishing more School-Based Health Centers in communities in health professional shortage areas, providing better access to career and college readiness, and addressing chronic absenteeism without punishing parents or children.

→ My plan works with states to sustainably improve pay and support for all public school educators — and as president, I will fight for our educators and treat them like the professionals that they are.

That means making sure that classrooms are well-equipped with resources and support so that teachers aren’t paying for school supplies out of pocket. We’ll also ensure that anyone can become a teacher without drowning in student loan debt.

In a Warren Administration, public educators will have a seat at the table — and that starts with strengthening the ability of educators to organize and bargain. And we’re going to invest in students by investing in our educators — by providing continuing education and professional development opportunities to all school staff and building up a more diverse educator and school leadership pipeline.

→ To keep our traditional public school systems strong, we must resist efforts to divert public funds out of traditional public schools.

We have a responsibility to provide great neighborhood schools for every student. Under my plan, we’ll eliminate the charter school funding program and end federal funding to the expansion of charter schools.

We’ll ban for-profit charter schools, end privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools and crack down on corruption and anti-competitive practices in the education industry.

Diane, it’s time to live up to the promise of a high-quality public education for every student. My plan makes the big, structural changes that will help give every student, teacher, and school administrator the resources they need to thrive.

Will you add your name to show your support for my K-12 education plan, Diane?

Thanks for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

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