WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ latest presidential campaign proposal:
“Ninety percent of parents in this country send their kids to public schools, and they want those public schools to be top priority. That’s why Sen. Sanders’ plan to invest in public schools and provide real accountability over private alternatives is vitally important. For the last several decades, the unregulated growth of private charter schools has siphoned off money from public schools, with little protection against fraud, and little attention paid to equity or quality when it comes to educating kids.
“The senator’s plan takes tangible steps toward making the charter school industry accountable to parents and the public, including calling for a moratorium until an audit can assess how charter growth has affected resource-strapped public schools. It also lays out a strategy for supporting educators in existing charter schools, many of whom face sweatshop-like working conditions. Increasingly, charter school educators have come together to fight for a voice on the job—in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and elsewhere—advocating for the tools they need to teach their kids effectively. Sanders’ plan calls for an end to for-profit charters that are designed to turn education into a profit-making business rather than investing in teaching and learning. And it requires charter schools to disclose data about their funding and finances, to tamp down on the type of waste and abuse that has shut down charter schools mid-school year in several states across the country.
“Thanks to Sen. Sanders for proposing some real checks and balances for the charter school system.”