Bernie’s Radical Plan to Fix Public Education

Public K-12 schools in America are struggling, and people of all political affiliations acknowledge as much. Where the partisan squabbling begins is in the proposed solutions: the left wants to allocate more money and resources to improve schools, while the right thinks the solution is to pull the government out of education as much as possible.

As you might expect, Senator Bernie Sanders is positioning himself to the left of the left, calling for a more radical educational plan than any other Democratic presidential candidate in the field so far. After having met with the NAACP, he’s adopted several of their educational policy ideas and framed improving public education as a matter of racial justice. Accordingly, Sanders has named his policy the “Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education” in a nod to Brown v. Board of Education.

Here are some of the highlights, as explained by The Nation and Vox:

MORE EQUAL FUNDING

The federal government doesn’t chip in too much (just 8 percent) to education spending, as most of that is handled at the state and local level. Since property taxes wind up being a big source of money, funding can be wildly disparate between schools, with richer areas having better schools and poorer areas having underfunded schools.

Sanders wants to correct that by devoting more federal money to make up the difference and give students in poorer, less white areas a better chance at receiving the same education as well-to-do kids in other regions.

The senator also would like to enact some desegregation plans to mix populations in public schools. If the problem is that schools with bigger populations of students of color and students living in poverty get shortchanged on funding, then mixing them in with more privileged students could also help ensure that those schools are adequately covered financially.

CHARTER SCHOOL CRACKDOWN

Sanders would put a moratorium on new charter schools, at least until the federal can conduct a “national audit” to more properly understand their effectiveness. As for the charter schools that already exist, they will need to meet the same more stringent oversight as other traditional public schools.

Furthermore, the plan would eliminate for-profit charter schools altogether. More recently, for-profit institutions have gotten into the business of taking government money to run schools and the tradeoff on the whole has been underwhelming and wasteful.

Education, as Sanders and many see it, is a public service – not something that should be run for the explicit sake of turning a profit.

TEACHERS

All teachers in every part of the country would be paid at least $60,000 – period. With so many teachers leaving the field simply because they can’t support their families on their salaries, that should be a key component toward ensuring more qualified professionals remain in the classroom.

The U.S. would also spend more money on teacher training, with a special focus on recruiting a more diverse teacher pool (such as doing outreach at historically black universities.)

TESTING

Think kids are being overwhelmed with a culture of standardized testing? The federal government would stop mandating such tests, at least on its end, thus allowing schools to perhaps just endure those required at the state and local level.

Although it’s a good plan, Sanders could have a difficult time implementing this wish list as president – at least in full – given that it would require Congressional support, and even the left remains fairly split on whether charter schools are a plus or minus for public education.

At the same time, something needs to be done to shake up the status quo because so long as local property taxes determine how well schools are funded, kids in underprivileged communities will continue to get the shaft.

29 comments

Emma L
Past Member 4 days ago

thanks for posting

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Frances G
Past Member 12 days ago

Thank you

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Danuta W
Danuta W23 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Mary B
Mary B23 days ago

Ron loynes, your talking about consumer math. First you must have a garenteed income so you can have money to spend how you need to accomplish you're OWN goals. You can use pebbles if you want, but I prefer paper cash and electronic debit card.If it costs teachers $60,000 a year to live on, we will all need that much and hopefully we can save some of it.

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Ron Loynes
Ron Loynes23 days ago

Again solving a problem means look at the "cause" of the problem, not bandages! For instance, what is education? How to engineer a plane? Balance a check book? Qualify for a job? There are basics, like 2 + 2 = 4 and when it rains things get wet. But do you really need Algebra if your going to be a real estate sales person or a car sales person? (both of which can easily make $50-100,000). Neither of which need a $100,000. college degree. Education has fallen into that old adage, "I had to take you have to take it! Plumbers, car mechanics, A/C technicians all make more than $25-$35 an hour and only need a 1 year certificate. In any military school you can become a nurse in about a year. As long as we have no clue what we are educating people for we will never get it right. Lets open old military bases and use the military education system to get people jobs? Quicker, cheaper and actually ready for life!

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Alea C
Alea C23 days ago

I really hope Bernie is our next president because he has so many progressive ideas. He's my first choice.

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Loredana V
Loredana V23 days ago

I'd vote him. Education must be affordable for everyone; public education and public healthcare are the basis of a civil and modern Country.
Thanks for sharing.

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Mary B
Mary B23 days ago

Eric once again you're wrong. The free market theory is dead regardless of your
insistence on your education. The free market is part of capitalism and that is status quo, wasteful, exploitive. Bernie is not radical. He is a Democratic Socialist and just because you call his ideas about free stuff only means you can't get past republican how are we going to pay for it mentality. That 'present climate' isn't going to last. There's a lot of work that needs to be done and you can't put off doing it just because you're afraid of expanding the money supply to match todays needs.You can't put off Universal Health care and let people die just because you don't know how it'll be paid for, or fixing roads or paying for education or funding a living wage monthly stipend so people can participate in the new economy of our own country. New ideas abound and we don't have to rely on old ideas hatched during the industrial revolution. You must be awfully worried that nobody will be able to figure out anything with out your precious free markets and that you have to motivate people instead of letting them have a life of their own.

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Brian F
Brian F23 days ago

Eric The money to pay teachers $60,000 a year could come from raising taxes to 70%, cutting our bloated military budget from 750 billion a year to 400 billion, and forcing all companies to pay their fair share of taxes. The top 10 corporations including Amazon paid no taxes last year. We need to change that. Bernie Sanders knows what he is doing. Bernie has a plan to correct many of the problems we have by implementing inteligent socialist Democratic policies that work in other countries.

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Anne M
Anne Moran23 days ago

Give him a chance and see what happens...

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