Bernie Sanders is a delusional hard-core statist, but that’s part of what makes him attractive for some voters. Simply stated, they think he’s authentic rather than a finger-in-the-wind politician.
But I’m not so sure that’s true.
I pointed out in 2015 that he’s not even true to his socialist ideology. Rather than promoting government ownership, central planning, and price controls, he has behaved like a conventional left-wing politician. Indeed, there was almost no difference between his voting record and those of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Whether that’s good or bad is a matter of judgement, of course.
Today, though, I want to highlight something that’s unambiguously bad. He’s decided that currying favor with union bosses at the National Education Association is so important that it’s okay to trap kids from poor families in failing schools. And that, to me, makes him a political hack rather than an honest leftist.
Check out these excerpts from a story in the New York Times.
Senator Bernie Sanders took aim at charter schools on Saturday… In a 10-point plan, Mr. Sanders…said that, if elected, he would…forbid…federal spending on new charter schools as well as…ban…for-profit charter schools — which account for a small proportion of existing charters. “The proliferation of charter schools has disproportionately affected communities of color,” Mr. Sanders wrote… Mr. Sanders of Vermont would also require that charter schools be subject to the same oversight as public schools… Parts of the plan focused on educators, declaring Mr. Sanders’s support for a $60,000 baseline for teachers’ starting salaries as well as unionization efforts by charter schoolteachers.
By the way, I’m not a big fan of charter schools. It would be far better to have true school choice and allow parents to pick high-performing private schools.
But charter schools are definitely a better option if the only other choice is a failing government school. Especially since pouring more money into a broken system doesn’t work. Regardless of whether it’s a Democrat plan to waste money or a Republican plan to waste money.
This assumes, however, that the goal is to help children get a good education so they have a better chance for a good life.
That’s not what motivates Bernie Sanders. Like many Democrats, his main goal is to appease the teacher unions. And that means protecting and preserving the privileges and perks of union members and the government’s education monopoly.