End the duopoly

Why America’s Teachers’ Unions Must Endorse Bernie Sanders

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In my nearly two decades as a teacher, I have not seen a more comprehensive and forward-thinking plan as Senator Bernie Sanders’s K-12 education plan. That plan, along with Sanders’s unwavering support for teachers’ unions and the labor movement more broadly throughout his political career, make the choice for a presidential endorsement clear: American teachers’ unions must endorse Bernie Sanders for president.

Sanders’s education plan reads as both a promise to our young people that they shall have access to equitable, high-quality resources in their classrooms and as a repudiation of two decades of failed education reforms. The most prominent example is Sanders’s inclusion of a moratorium on new charter schools, as advocated by the NAACP.

Diane Ravitch, a former proponent of the publicly funded, privately managed schools, now refers to them as a “colossal mistake.” Charters have been shown to resegregate school districts and offer no better outcomes than neighborhood public schools.

Sanders plans to triple Title 1 funding, providing more resources to cash-strapped schools that serve our poorest students. This is a reversal of the failed No Child Left Behind Act, which decreased funding to the schools that needed it the most, and a strong repudiation of the corporate education reform pushed by both Republicans and Democrats since the 1990s.

Sanders has also proposed a universal school lunch program, which will end the shaming of students who cannot afford to pay their lunch bills. Many students depend on these lunches to survive; under Sanders’s plan, students will not have to demonstrate need to receive a healthy meal.

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