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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools

I aM of two minds on the subject of Charter Schools. First of all I support full funding of public education not tied to proportion taxes as it is in many parts of the nation.  As someone who grew up when the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) was led by Albert Shankar, strong opponent to steps to improve minority education and who led a fifty plus day strike in the NYC schools during the late sixties over decentralization of public school administration in Brooklyn, helps me to understand these parent concerns.  White liberal candidates like Warren and Sanders need to listen and learn from the minority families and move away from strict ideological positions.  My first public school in Brooklyn, PS 70 is now a charter school and apparently doing well. 

“ The front-runners for the presidential nomination are moving away from the charter school movement, and black and Latino families ask why their concerns are lost.

Nov. 26, 2019, 5:00 a.m. ET

ATLANTA — The night before Democratic presidential candidates took to a debate stage here last week, black and Latino charter school parents and supporters gathered in a bland hotel conference room nearby to make signs they hoped would get the politicians’ attention.

“Charter schools = self-determination,” one sign read. “Black Democrats want charters!” another blared.

At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.

But this year, in a major shift, the leading Democratic candidates are backing away from charter schools, and siding with the teachers’ unions that oppose their expansion. And that has left some black and Latino families feeling betrayed.
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“As a single mom with two jobs and five hustles, I’m just feeling kind of desperate,” said Sonia Tyler, who plans to enroll her children in a charter school slated to open next fall in a suburb of Atlanta. “They’re brilliant; they’re curious. It’s not fair. Why shouldn’t I have a choice?”

Charter schools, which educate over three million students, are publicly funded and privately managed — and often are not unionized. Nationally, the schools perform about the same as traditional neighborhood schools. But charter schools that serve mostly low-income children of color in large cities tend to excel academically. And bipartisan support in Washington has allowed charters to proliferate, with their waiting lists swelling into the hundreds of thousands.”

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