Reinvest in Public Education and Teachers

Today, we say to our young people that we want you to get the best education that you can, regardless of the income of your family. Together, as billionaires and large corporations have attacked unions and destroyed pensions, we have supported teachers who successfully stood up for their kids in strike after strike after strike.

Today, more than 60 years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision ending legal segregation in our public schools, and 50 years after President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law, poor and minority students are still not afforded the same education as their wealthier, and often whiter counterparts. This is not only unjust and immoral, it endangers our democracy.

I’m running for president to restore the promise that every child, regardless of his or her background, has a right to a high-quality public education.

Read Bernie’s Thurgood Marshall Plan For Public Education and Educators

Growing inequality is both the cause and the effect of our nation’s desperately underfunded public school system. Many public schools are severely racially segregated—in some parts of the country, worse than before the Brown decision. With funding for public schools in steep decline, students in low-income areas are forced to learn in decrepit buildings and endure high rates of teacher turnover. Public school teachers are severely underpaid and lack critical resources, and their professional experience is being undermined by high stakes testing requirements that drain resources and destroy the joy of learning.

Meanwhile, resource-rich private schools spend tens of thousands of dollars more per child than public schools do. They are predominantly white or intentionally diversified, and enjoy the best that money can buy—from state of the art facilities to well-paid, highly skilled teachers.

With the vast challenges facing our education system, billionaire philanthropists, Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers are attempting to privatize our education system under the banner of “school choice.” We must act to transform our education system into a high-quality public good.

We must guarantee children with disabilities an equal right to high-quality education, and increase funding for programs that combat racial segregation and unfair disciplinary practices that disproportionately affect students of color.