Since we’ve discussed Warren’s very good housing program*, let’s discuss Sen. Sanders’ recently released educational program. Before getting to the specifics, it’s very broad and comprehensive, such that it has been described in different ways by different reporters. It has been called an anti-charter school program, a desegregation plan, a school equality program, and so on, because it touches on so many areas related to educational equity (it’s intersectional, if you will…).
On to the plan. If I tried to list all of the proposals, this post would be too long, so here are some of what I think the highlights are:
- Triple Title I funding to ensure at-risk schools get the funding they need and end funding penalties for schools that attempt to desegregate. (this also would affect special education funding)
- Execute desegregation orders and appoint federal judges who will enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act in school systems.
- Establish a dedicated fund to create and expand teacher-training programs at HBCUs, minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and tribal colleges and universities to increase educator diversity.
- Fund school transportation to help integration, ending the absurd prohibitions in place.
- Increase access to English as a Second Language instruction.
- Establish a national per-pupil spending floor.
- Provide schools with the resources needed to shrink class sizes.
- Provide $5 billion annually for career and technical education to give our students the skills they need to thrive once they graduate.
- Give schools the funding needed to support arts, foreign language and music education to provide all students with important learning opportunities.
- Provide mandatory funding to ensure that the federal government provides at least 50 percent of the funding for special education.
- Significantly increase teacher pay by working with states to set a starting salary for teachers at no less than $60,000 tied to cost of living, years of service, and other qualifications; and allowing states to go beyond that floor based on geographic cost of living.
- Protect and expand collective bargaining rights and teacher tenure.
- Spend $5 billion annually to substantially expand access to summer and after-school programs, teen centers and tutoring.
- Provide year-round, free universal school meals; breakfast, lunch and snacks through our school meals programs, and offer incentives for sourcing food from local sources.
- Expand Summer EBT across the country to ensure no student goes hungry during the summer.
- School facilities would assist in providing health and support services including dental care, mental health care, and substance abuse prevention. (critical in low-income areas, especially rural areas, where services aren’t often available)
- Pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act into law to protect the rights of LGBTQ students.
- Protect students from harassment, discrimination, and violence in educational institutions by protecting and enforcing Title IX.
- Ensure that immigrant children and their parents are free from harassment and surveillance at school, regardless of their immigration status.
That really is the short list (he has a plan for that!). One area that I didn’t list and that has received a lot of attention is the charter school policy. Unlike what some might have you believe ([cough] Jon Chait [cough]), Sanders would not eliminate public charter schools–his proposal would ban for-profit charter schools. It would also require that charter schools be held accountable to the same standards as the public schools; as a resident of D.C., this does not happen here (DCPS is much more transparent than charter schools). Interestingly, the proposal supports the unionization of charter school teachers.
Overall, it’s a very good program. I would like more specifics on the infrastructure rebuilding, as well as school libraries. Still, it’s pretty good, and focuses on both economic and racial inequality.
*Warren’s housing plan solves two of the three housing crises, the cost of housing in high priced cities and the abandonment of viable housing in failing areas. Sanders’ plan targets those affected by gentrification (the community land trust system). Whoever wins should do all the things.