Was there a debate about charter schools or education last night? Not if you blinked.


There was a lot of yelling and talking over each other during last night’s debate in South Carolina.

Some of my friends emailed me that they didn’t like the tone of it. I was fine with it though. It reminded me of dinner conversation growing up.

One of my daughters, a teacher in New York, texted me: “At this point I just think Bernie is doing you doing Bernie!”

I thought I heard Bloomberg say he gave NY teachers a 40% raise. Both my daughters are New York city teachers.

“Why didn’t you tell me Bloomberg gave you a 40% raise?” I texted.

“Why didn’t he tell me?” came the return text.

Frankly I was amazed the candidates got a question about education last night. Education has been a rare topic in these debates.

This one started with a question to Mike Bloomberg about charter schools.

In January Bloomberg had promised that his record on charter schools in New York would be central to his presidential campaign.

Bloomberg will soon roll out an education plan that will include backing the privately managed schools as an option for families, his campaign office told The Post — drawing a contrast with other top-tier Democratic presidential rivals.

“Mike’s education plan will absolutely promote charter schools,” Bloomberg campaign spokesman Stu Loeser insisted.

“The record number of charter schools opened under Mayor Bloomberg is clear. That isn’t changing.”

“Few if any people in the country have opened more charter schools than Mike Bloomberg,” he continued.

We didn’t hear that so much in last night’s debate.

Mike Bloomberg, who oversaw a dramatic expansion in the number of charter schools as New York City’s mayor and was one of their more vocal supporters, expressed subdued backing for them during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate in South Carolina. 

Other than Sanders and Warren all the other candidates were silent on the issue of charter schools.

Warren: “My secretary of education will believe that public dollars should stay in public schools.”

Sanders repeated his position that he opposes for-profit charters schools and will stop any federal dollars that go to them.

The difference between for-profit and non-profit charters is a distinction without a difference as far as I’m concerned.

Even non-profits that get charters will frequently use for-profit management firms to run them.

And that was pretty much it for education last night.


One thought on “Was there a debate about charter schools or education last night? Not if you blinked.

  1. From the Democratic debate, which I posted on Diane Ravitch’s blog:

    It took the issue of education, an issue on which the candidates have few major differences.

    Mr. Bloomberg went first. He defended his stewardship of the New York City public schools system, in particular the expansion of public charter schools.

    “We’ve cut the gap between the rich and the poor, we’ve made an enormous difference in the options the parents have,” he said, adding that he raised teacher salaries and helped address poverty in the city.

    “Rather than just talk about it in New York we actually did it,” he added.

    Ms. Warren followed up, saying she would appoint an education secretary who has taught in public schools. Mr. Buttigieg went next, saying that he’d also value public school educators.
    This was a reply from Diane Ravitch:
    February 25, 2020 at 9:51 pm
    Nothing that Bloomberg said about education in NYC on his watch was true.

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