Bernie Sanders rolls out comprehensive education plan

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his education polic...

Posted: May 18, 2019 1:26 PM
Updated: May 18, 2019 2:30 PM

Vermont 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.

'For the last several decades the unregulated growth of private charter schools has siphoned off money from public schools, with little protection against fraud, and little attention paid to equity or quality when it comes to educating kids,' Weingarten wrote. 'The Senator's plan takes tangible steps toward making the charter school industry accountable to parents and the public.'

But Amy Wilkins, senior vice president of advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said that Sanders is ignoring evidence that charter schools have helped thousands of children in at-risk situations.

'Sanders' call is out of touch -- as usual -- with what African Americans want,' Wilkins said in a statement to CNN. 'More disturbing, the Senator -- for personal political gain -- would literally lock African American students into schools that have failed them for generations.'

While Sanders did not offer up specific funding sources for the plan, he did allude to the fact that rolling back tax cuts enacted during the Trump Administration would help to foot the bill.

'If Donald Trump and his family could get more than $880 million in special tax breaks to build a real estate empire, we can damn well make sure every kid in America gets a good education, even if they don't live in one of Mr. Trump's luxury apartment buildings,' Sanders said. 'It's time for Donald Trump and the top 1% to pay a hell of a lot more in taxes than they are today.'

The major policy roll-out comes in the midst of a massive tour of four southern states -- all with specific electoral significance and a time where polls show the Vermont senator slipping behind former Vice President Joe Biden. Two national polls taken in the last month -- one from Fox News the other from CNN -- show Sanders dropping 6 points and 4 points, respectively. Sanders though remains locked in a solid second place and unlike many in the vast field of Democratic candidates, he enjoys a significant financial war chest. Those resources will allow him to compete beyond the first few early voting states.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 55°
Robinson
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 56°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 54°
Paris
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 57°
Mattoon/Charleston
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 54°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 55°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 55°
Cloudy and a little warmer!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1312620

Reported Deaths: 24056
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5258549860
DuPage871721255
Will72414968
Lake65012969
Kane56108756
Winnebago31421460
Madison29941515
McHenry27305279
St. Clair27246504
Peoria21618285
Champaign19921139
Sangamon17912230
McLean17130172
Tazewell16176259
Rock Island14360305
Kankakee13622199
Kendall1245290
LaSalle11878233
Macon10307191
DeKalb9432118
Vermilion9117128
Adams8243117
Williamson7236126
Whiteside6937166
Boone644671
Ogle581578
Clinton571890
Grundy563771
Coles555094
Knox5354137
Jackson487263
Henry475863
Effingham468672
Livingston462583
Macoupin461181
Stephenson455981
Woodford444364
Marion4419115
Franklin433870
Monroe431990
Jefferson4174119
Randolph409584
Lee401951
Morgan378279
Fulton370050
Logan367156
Montgomery364773
Bureau355481
Christian353172
Fayette314154
Perry313059
Iroquois291564
Jersey263849
McDonough262344
Douglas255335
Saline251753
Lawrence239525
Shelby225137
Union223040
Crawford209325
Bond199424
Cass195124
Jo Daviess177724
Pike177551
Clark176832
Warren174646
Wayne173652
Hancock173230
Richland172140
Carroll172036
Ford170746
Edgar167239
White166626
Washington162825
Moultrie157826
Clay147443
Mason143242
Greene142633
Piatt142014
Johnson140314
De Witt139823
Mercer137333
Wabash134112
Massac131440
Cumberland128319
Menard119112
Jasper114317
Marshall99917
Hamilton82415
Schuyler7125
Brown6896
Pulaski6807
Stark61523
Edwards55912
Henderson52114
Calhoun5122
Scott4691
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4533
Hardin37012
Pope3073
Out of IL30
Unassigned02301

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 711787

Reported Deaths: 13252
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion970181723
Lake52028950
Allen39414672
Hamilton34709406
St. Joseph34386543
Elkhart27543433
Vanderburgh22109394
Tippecanoe21967213
Porter18043301
Johnson17600374
Hendricks16873310
Clark12728190
Madison12379337
Vigo12248244
Monroe11535166
LaPorte11258204
Delaware10390184
Howard9712211
Kosciusko9184114
Hancock8031139
Bartholomew7925155
Warrick7709155
Floyd7574176
Wayne6921198
Grant6862171
Boone6584100
Morgan6425138
Dubois6101117
Marshall5819109
Dearborn572076
Cass5706104
Henry5591101
Noble544583
Jackson494672
Shelby481995
Lawrence4351118
Gibson429789
Harrison429371
Clinton421853
Montgomery419387
DeKalb414484
Whitley383239
Huntington380480
Miami374165
Steuben368757
Knox367589
Putnam353660
Jasper352946
Wabash348578
Adams338453
Ripley335769
Jefferson318180
White309254
Daviess290199
Wells286981
Decatur279792
Fayette277362
Greene270685
Posey269533
Scott262053
LaGrange256170
Clay255245
Randolph236780
Washington231931
Spencer228231
Jennings225548
Fountain209845
Sullivan208342
Starke206452
Owen192956
Fulton192440
Jay186629
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178553
Rush170824
Vermillion166543
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford134131
Pike130934
Pulaski114445
Newton104434
Brown100740
Crawford98114
Benton97613
Martin83315
Warren80215
Switzerland7728
Union70210
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408