by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
…and it shows.
Speaking before a crowd of educators Tuesday evening, former Vice President Joe Biden said that some charter schools funnel money from public schools, and that he does not believe federal funds should go to for-profit charter schools.
“Any charter school system that does not allow for total enrollment… siphons off money for our public schools, which are already in enough trouble,” said Biden, a Democratic contender for president. When asked to clarify what Biden meant by “total enrollment,” his campaign said he “doesn’t want any charters to be able to have admissions tests.”
However, a vast majority of charter schools are open-enrollment and do not offer admission tests. Charters are a type of public school that are publicly funded but privately managed, and are supposed to accept all students, regardless of performance. Still, some have been criticized for cherry-picking or pushing out students with special needs.
Earlier in the evening, Biden seemed to conflate charter schools with magnet schools, which do screen based on ability. When asked for further clarification of the “admissions tests” comment, the campaign did not respond.
By speculating that Biden confused charter and magnet schools, the article quoted above seems to give him the benefit of the doubt. I hope the media will be as forgiving when President Trump errs.