On October 21st when Elizabeth Warren announced her education plan should we ever have the unfortunate incident of electing this boob as President, she went to war on the side of public schools. On the other side were anything but public schools. Warren is, among other things, against federal funding for any charter school, banning for-profit charter schools outright, increasing regulations on existing charter schools, making it more difficult to start a charter school, and cease private school choice programs dead in their tracks. She then tweeted out that she was #PublicSchoolProud touting her attendance at and teaching experience in public schools.
That is all well and good but it was later revealed that her son, Alex, although attending public school for part of his academic career, was later transferred to a private school whose tuition was $39,500 per year. This is when she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The rich elites have the means to send their kids to private schools. The rest of America…not so much, and the poorer people not at all.
Here lies the hypocrisy of people like Warren and other liberal elites whose only solution to public education rests on one premise: more money will fix all the ills of our public schools. The answer to them is not empowering parents and students with a choice of educational opportunities. The answer, to these people, is more money. Said the illustrious Cherokee senator from Massachusetts:
You don’t like the building? You think it’s old and decaying? Then get out there and push to get a new one.
Now this all sounds fine and dandy, but how does Warren propose that poor people- many of them minority- go about this? The attack on charter schools is somewhat misleading from the start. In her opposition to charter schools, Warren said that “public dollars must stay in public schools.” The problem for Warren is that charter schools are public schools. Not only that, they receive 27% less per-pupil funding than regular public schools while achieving more with those lessened dollars in most cases.
So, let’s cut through the crap. Elizabeth Warren cares less about the quality of the public education of any student and more about keeping the teacher union’s support. Charter schools are non-unionized which probably accounts for their lower per-pupil costs without deleterious academic outcomes. In her home state, the Brookings Institute has noted that the Massachusetts charter school system has become the standard-bearer when it comes to such schools.
In fact, she makes a great argument against herself and her own ideas, beliefs, and policy prescriptions. Said the Cherokee:
Assigning children to schools by zip code, and doing funding by zip code, means that our public schools are very uneven…
Truer words could not have been spoken. Thus, why then shackle a student to a failing school simply because of a zip code? Why, then, deny the creation of something (other than a new public school building) as an alternative within a zip code? Why the opposition to providing concerned parents to the very tools that allowed Elizabeth Warren to send her son to a $39,500 per year tuition private school?
Ms. Warren is also on the wrong side of public opinion. The evidence comes from a study by Harvard’s (as in Boston as in Massachusetts as in the state Warren represents in the Senate) EducationNext study. That poll found that support from parents of school-age children for school choice has been steadily rising. The more people know about public education options, the more favorable they are of those options and programs.
For over 20 years, charter schools are one thing that Democrats and Republicans agreed upon. But under pressure from teacher unions, Democrat candidates, and many progressive organizations, support for charter schools has decreased overall in the past few years. The greatest support for charter schools and even vouchers for private school education comes from the very communities Warren claims she wants to help the most- blacks and Hispanics.
A lot of the noise created on the Left is the result of miseducation of the public. For example, that Harvard poll indicated that 72% of respondents approved of higher teacher pay. When informed of the average salary of a teacher, that support for higher teacher pay drops to 56%. When asked what they thought the average teacher salary in their state was, respondents underestimated by 30%. Again, 62% of respondents believe there should be increased spending on public education. When informed of the actual levels of funding, support for more money dropped to under 50%.
While public education is doing a not-so-good job of educating students, the Democrats- best exemplified by Elizabeth Warren- are doing a great job of miseducating the American public. It is all students in America of any color who are the unfortunate losers in the battle between school choice and the government-run monopoly of public schools.