A question posed to Bernie Sanders at last night’s Ohio democratic debate was a missed opportunity to powerfully educate the public about charter schools. Typically, information is power, but when the information is bad, all we have is mush. Following is Sanders’ exchange with the questioner and Roland Martin, a well-informed media commentator with a passion for education: (with some of my own commentary sprinkled in)
MARTIN: Since I have a brother and two sisters who are teachers, and one who is a teacher’s aide, let’s go to a teacher. We have Caitlyn Dunn, she helps lead a charter school here in Columbus, Ohio. She did Teach for America and saw the inequities in our school system, and she says she is undecided. So, you got a shot. Go for it.
DUNN: Thank you so much for taking my question. An article was released in the Columbus Dispatch Friday announcing the schools producing top student gains from around the state of Ohio. Of these, one-third of those schools producing these results were charters right here in Columbus, Ohio. So, knowing this, and also having similar narratives from across the country, do you think that charter schools are a viable way to educate children in low-income communities, or do you think that you would continue, as President, giving money to traditional public schools?
During this time, apparently CNN’s Teleprompter was miscued by an ill-informed editor, because rather than abbreviate the question correctly, CNN produced this bastardized version, suggesting that charters were not public schools.
Adding insult to injury, Mr. Sanders seemed to create a new class of charter schools, one that does