“Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his education policy plan on Saturday — a comprehensive 10-point agenda that calls for the end of for-profit charter schools, creates a salary floor for public school teachers, guarantees free school meals for all students and expands after school and summer school programs . . .
The 2020 hopeful’s policy proposal adds to the already robust debate in the Democratic primary regarding education, but like many Sanders proposals, comes with many promises but few specifics as to how it will be paid for.
In a speech in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on the anniversary weekend of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, Sanders argued that education is a social justice issue. He promised to combat racial discrimination and school segregation by tripling Title 1 funding and executing desegregation orders.
‘Every child has a right to a quality K-12 education, regardless of your race, regardless of your income, and regardless of your zip code,’ Sanders said. ‘For too long, we have seen devastating education funding cuts used to pay for massive tax breaks for a handful of corporations and billionaires. When we are in the White House, that greed is going to end.’
The Vermont independent senator proposed a salary floor of $60,000 a year for teachers tied to cost of living and a boost in the above-the-line tax deduction for out of pocket expenses on supplies. Sanders isn’t the first 2020 candidate calling for a hike in teacher pay, California Sen. Kamala Harris proposed a plan that would increase teacher pay by 23%.
Sanders also rolled out a plan to offer universal free meals to public school students. He called for free breakfast, lunch and snacks year-round and an incentive program to provide the food from local sources.
He also called for an expansion of after school and summer education programs, promising to spend at least $5 billion a year.
Sanders also called for a complete ban on for-profit charter schools and a moratorium on the funding of all public charter school expansion until a national audit on the schools has been completed. Sanders will also promise to halt the use of public funds to underwrite all new charter schools if he is elected president.
His call to rein in charter schools was lauded by Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. In a statement to CNN, she called the proposal ‘vitally important’ and said that it would provide real checks and balances for the charter school system.”