Bloomberg to Promote Charter Schools, Diverging From Leading Democratic Rivals

In his anticipated education plan, Democratic presidential primary contender Michael Bloomberg will “absolutely promote charter schools,” his campaign spokesperson told the New York Post on Monday.

Although Bloomberg has yet to fully reveal an education platform, he is expected to be consistent with his legacy during his tenure as mayor of New York City. Under his direction, low-performing schools were closed and privately managed charter schools flourished. Research completed by the Brookings Institution (pdf) in 2013 found that the number of charter schools in the city had grown from a mere 22 in 2003, when Bloomberg took office, to 159 in 2012.

“Mikes education plan will absolutely promote charter schools,” said Stu Loeser, a spokesperson for the former New York City mayors campaign.

“The record number of charter schools opened under Mayor Bloomberg is clear. That isnt changing,” he added. “Few if any people in the country have opened more charter schools than Mike Bloomberg.”

A supporter of expansion of charter schools, Bloomberg might find himself more aligned with some Democratic rivals include New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who embraced pro-school choice policies as mayor of Newark, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who backed charters when he worked as a superintendent for Denvers public schools.

Many Democratic primary forerunners, however, decry charter schools, arguing that expanding charter schools undermine public schools rather than offering students and their parents more education choices. Elizabeth Warren, in her education plan, pledges to eliminate federal Charter Schools Program, a fund to support new charter schools across the United States. Bernie Sanders has also called to end public funding for charter growth and a ban on “for-profit” charters. Joe Bidens education plan does not even touch on charter schools, but in an interview with the National Education Association (NEA), he said, “No privately funded charter school or private charter school would receive a penny of federal money—none.”

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