Presidential Candidates on Education: Bernie Sanders

Presidential Primaries are in full swing around the country.  The news and debates have reported some general education ideas and plans from candidates, but it’s all been very piecemeal.  For the next few weeks, we’re digging into what some of the candidates are saying about education and school choice.  We’ll talk about prominent candidates from both parties and give unbiased information and facts from reputable sources.

Segment 2: Democratic Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964.  He later relocated to Vermont, which he still calls home.  Before digging into politics, the Senator taught low-income preschoolers through the Head Start program and was a producer of educational filmstrips on New England history topics.  Senator Sanders went on to become the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where he was reelected three times.  In 1990, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served for 16 years.  He was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and has remained wildly popular in his home state and with democrats on the Senate floor ever since.

Senator Sanders registered with the Democratic Party in 2015, but was previously referred to himself as an Independent candidate.   He describes himself as a democratic socialist and favors policies similar to social democratic parties in Europe (think Denmark and Norway).

Senator Sanders has not detailed a specific education plan, but has many insights on education topics, things he supports educationally and previous experience…all listed on his campaign website.  He has been quoted as saying, “There is perhaps no issue more important than how we educate our youth.”

The Senator doesn’t oppose charter schools.  He voted for the Charter School Expansion Act of 1998.  He believes charter schools must be “held to the same standards of transparency as [traditional] public schools.”  Sanders says that charters “must operate in a manner that is transparent and accountable to the families and communities they serve.”  Senator Sanders strongly opposes “any voucher system that would redirect public education dollars to private schools.” Senator Sanders also opposed the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.  “By placing so much emphasis on standardized testing, No Child Left Behind ignores many of the skills and qualities that are vitally important in our 21st century economy, like problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork, in favor of test preparation that provides no benefit to students after they leave school.”  The Senator favors a more “holistic” method of educating, giving teachers more flexibility and students additional support.  Senator Sanders has not endorsed or opposed Common Core, but past voting records indicate he leans toward favoring the model.

Again, Senator Sanders has not publicized a detailed education plan, but all of the information and quotes found have come from his campaign website:  An additional The American Prospect article has a handful of solid points regarding Sanders’ view on education, as well.

The Ohio eSchool Coalition is not affiliated with a specific political party, nor are we endorsing a particular candidate.  Please stay tuned for updates on other major Presidential Candidates