From charter schools to educational savings accounts to the DC voucher program, Joe Biden can’t wait to stand in the schoolhouse door and block boys and girls — especially black and brown ones — who dream of escaping crowded, dangerous government classrooms where learning happens by accident, if at all.
“I am not a charter school fanbecause it [sic] takes away the options available and money for public schools,” Biden told Georgetown, South Carolina, voters on February 26. A similarly ungrammatical Biden told Pittsburgh voters on December 14: “And so if I’m president, [Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos’ whole notion from charter schools to this are gone.”
A participant at a May 28, 2019 American Federation of Teachers gathering in Houston asked Biden, “What is [sic] your plans to slow – stop the growth of unregulated for-profit charter schools?”
“I’ll stop them,” Biden warned. “I do not support any federal money – private money – for for-profit charter schools, period.”
These teachers-union bosses must have been pleased with Biden. As OpenSecrets.org data confirm, the AFT’s $96,664,756 in political investments since 1990, 99.1 percent to Democrats, continue to pay obscene dividends.
“Charter does not mean better,” the manifesto declares. “The goal was never to undermine the many extraordinary public schools in this country,” it continues, forgetting that charter schools are public schools. Biden-Sanders also would “Ban for-profit charter schools,” from all federal funds — potentially bad news for such charter operators as Academica Corporation and Basis Educational Ventures.
Biden-Sanders also would “Require charter schools, charter school authorizers, and charter school management companies to abide by the laws and regulations applicable to traditional public schools…” By definition, this would convert charters back into standard government schools.
Some parents bank money to educate their kids. Moms and dads open and endow children’s bank accounts soon after birth. Others employ academic tax-credits.
Uncle Joe is not amused.
Biden-Sanders’ communique pledges to “Oppose any and all voucher and neo-voucher programs such as Education Savings Accounts and Tax-credit Scholarship programs.”
Cruelest of all, Biden is a sworn enemy of the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, AKA the DC Voucher Program. Since 2004-2005, DC OSP has granted some 8,400 vouchers to 21,057 applicants, the Congressional Research Service reports. In 2017-2018, 1,650 students used these “Pell Grants for kids” at 44 private schools. In 2018-2019, elementary- and middle-schoolers received up to $8,857 each; for high schoolers: $13,287, tops. These are bargains compared to the $21,974 that the DC Public Schools spent per pupil in FY 2017, by the Census Bureau’s calculation.
These lower outlays buy higher results. Last year, 68 percent of DC’s government-school students graduated high school in four years. Among voucher students: 98 percent. Those who advanced to college in 2017 were, respectively, 56 percent and 86 percent.
None of this has impressed Biden.
As senator, he voted against DC OSP on September 30, 1997 and January 22, 2004. The Obama-Biden Administration then tried non-stop to defund DC OSP. Congressional Republicans battled Obama and Biden and kept the initiative alive.
But this program remains in Biden’s crosshairs. Biden-Sanders would: “discontinue funding” for DC’s voucher experiment.
“We used to have an influential group of school reform Democrats, some of whom served in the Obama administration,” said Williamson M. Evers, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Educational Excellence at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. “But now the Democrats and the Biden campaign are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the teachers’ unions. These unions view non-union charter schools as a threat to them, but they are a lifesaver for minority kids and parents.”
Along with law and order and entrepreneurship, school choice offers minority communities the most promising path to hope and opportunity. Joe Biden claims to believe that black lives matter. Tragically, however, black minds don’t matter to him at all.