U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont called Monday for the defeat of a Massachusetts ballot initiative backed by Wall Street that would drain taxpayer dollars from public schools and allow12 new or expanded charter schools per year.
Hedge fund managers and other backers of Question 2 have funneled millions of dollars into television advertising on one of the most expensive ballot initiatives this year.
“Wall Street must not be allowed to hijack public education in Massachusetts. We must defeat Massachusetts Ballot Question 2. This is Wall Street’s attempt to line their own pockets while draining resources away from public education at the expense of low-income, special education students and English language learners,” Sanders said.
Charter schools in Massachusetts already siphon $450 million away from public education. The hedge funds and corporate backers of Question 2 would gain an additional $1 billion over the next 10 years if Question 2 passes.
“The goal of public education is to educate every child and that is why teachers and 200 elected school boards and city councils in Massachusetts oppose Question 2. Question 2 must be defeated,” Sanders said.
Nationwide, $500 billion is spent on K-12 public education. Wall Street wants to tap into that funding. The Massachusetts proposal would take a billion dollars away from local public schools and give it to privately-run charters that are not doing enough to educate all students equally.
Studies have shown that charter schools enroll fewer special education students and pupils learning English not deemed to be “profitable.”