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Bernie Sanders calls for ban on for-profit charter schools

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Ahead of the official introduction of his sweeping education platform in South Carolina this coming weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday became the first 2020 presidential candidate to call for a national ban on for-profit charter schools.

“Charter schools are led by unaccountable, private bodies, and their growth has drained funding from the public school system,” Sanders tweeted. “When we are in the White House we will ban for-profit charter schools.”

Sanders’s support for banning for-profit charters comes as President Donald Trump’s Department of Education—under the leadership of billionaire Betsy DeVos—is pushing for the expansion of charter schools nationwide.

“We need more of them, not fewer,” DeVos said of the schools during a congressional hearing earlier this year.

According to CNN—which got an advanced look at Sanders’s plan before its official release—the senator’s platform will also include a moratorium on federal funding for all public charter schools until a “national audit on the schools has been completed.”

CNN reported that the senator will also propose:

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  • Mandating that charter schools comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools;
  • Mandating that at least half of all charter school boards are teachers and parents;
  • Disclosing student attrition rates, non-public funding sources, financial interests and other relevant data;
  • Matching employment practices at charters with neighboring district schools, including standards set by collective bargaining agreements and restrictions on exorbitant CEO pay;
  • Supporting the efforts of charter school teachers to unionize and bringing charter schools to the negotiating table.

“As president I will stand with groups like the NAACP and put a moratorium on federal funding of new charter schools until rules are in place to make sure they are operating with transparency and accountability,” Sanders tweeted on Friday.

The NAACP passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools during its national convention in 2016.

In a report (pdf) on charters released in 2017, the NAACP Task Force on Quality Education recommended the complete elimination of for-profit charter schools.

“No federal, state, or local taxpayer dollars should be used to fund for-profit charter schools, nor should public funding be sent from non-profit charters to for-profit charter management companies,” the report stated. “The widespread findings of misconduct and poor student performance in for-profit charter schools demand the elimination of these schools.”

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2020 Election

Can at least half the 2020 Democrats please quit right now?

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OK, Democrats — you’ve had your fun. You grew up being told that everybody could run for president, and then everybody did. Except that this mad anthill scramble of presidential candidates, which resembles a bunch of kindergarteners descending on not enough cookies, really hasn’t been fun so far. All you’ve managed to do is put the fear of God — or the fear of the other guy, more like — into the voters, provoking widespread PTSD flashbacks to November 2016.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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2020 Election

Utah Republican is in deep trouble after trying to defend Trump’s breaking of the law

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President Donald Trump's poor standing in Utah could cause big electoral problems for one of his loudest defenders in the state.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) said Trump would be "foolish" if he did not illegally accept election help from foreign adversaries.

On Saturday, Stewart was blasted by former CIA officer Evan McMullin.

McMullin was born in Provo, attended Brigham Young University, is Mormon and a also prominent conservative critic of Trump.

In 2016, McMullin ran against Trump as an Independent and received 21.3 percent of the vote in Utah during the general election. Trump also had problems in Utah during the Republican primary, receiving only 14 percent of the vote.

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2020 Election

Furious Dem lawmaker blows up on Trump over his Iran war escalation: ‘What the hell did he think was going to happen?’

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On Saturday, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a 2020 candidate for president, told MSNBC's Alex Witt that the rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are President Donald Trump's fault — and explained how he would do things differently if he is elected.

"Before we get to the debate, I just want to ask you, if you were the president right now, how would you be addressing the situation with Iran?" asked Witt. "Do you think you would try to de-escalate the tensions and move forward in some fashion? Have you given some thought to that?"

"Of course you want to de-escalate it," said Ryan. "The war in the Middle East at this point, in addition to what's going on in Iraq and Syria and all of the other activity there, would be a disaster."

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