The candidate calls for a moratorium on charter schools. It’s bad politics and even worse policy.
Black voters had little use for Bernie Sanders when he sought the presidency in 2016. In the South Carolina primary, exit polls showed him winning only 14% of the black vote, while 86% went to Hillary Clinton. The Vermont socialist knows he must up his game with this constituency to have any chance of winning the 2020 Democratic nomination, but his recent attack on school choice may wind up costing him minority support.
Mr. Sanders called Saturday for more regulations on existing charter schools and a moratorium on federal funding for new ones. “The proliferation of charter schools has disproportionately affected communities of color,” said the senator. That’s true, but the effect has been positive, which is why black support for more education options is so strong.
In a poll released earlier this month by Democrats for Education Reform, 58% of black Democratic primary voters expressed a favorable view of charter schools, while 31% opposed them. Among Hispanics, the breakdown was similar—52% to 30%. But among white Democratic primary voters, only 26% supported charters, while 62% viewed them unfavorably. A racial divide also surfaces when people are asked about school vouchers. “African American (56%) and Hispanic (62%) respondents are considerably more supportive of vouchers for low-income families than are whites (35%),” according to a recent Education Next survey.
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