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Warren Pledges to Ban for-Profit Charter Schools in New Education Plan

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Westerville, Ohio, October 15, 2019. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) released a far-reaching plan on Monday outlining her education-policy proposals. Titled “A Great Public School Education for Every Student,” the plan calls for banning for-profit charter schools and using the IRS to investigate nonprofit charters that may “actually serve for-profit interests.”

“We have a responsibility to provide great neighborhood schools for every student,” Warren’s plan reads. “We should stop the diversion of public dollars from traditional public schools through vouchers or tuition tax credits — which are vouchers by another name. We should fight back against the privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools.”

Writing on Twitter after the plan’s release, Warren said it “makes big, structural changes that would help give every student the resources that they need to thrive.”

As is the case with Warren’s Medicare-for-All plan, her education platform mirrors that of Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who in May endorsed a ban on for-profit charter schools. Warren also joins Sanders in a pledge to end publicly funded voucher programs and increasing Title I funding for underprivileged schools, but goes further in calling for IRS investigations of nonprofit charters.

“Many so-called nonprofit schools — including charter schools — operate alongside closely held, for-profit service providers. Others are run by for-profit companies that siphon off profits from students and taxpayers. The IRS should investigate the nonprofit status of these schools and refer cases to the Tax Fraud Division of the Department of Justice when appropriate,” the plan reads.

The plan is a stark departure from the Trump administration’s advocacy for school choice. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed, among other things, a $5 billion federal tax credit that would fund scholarships and education programs for private schools.

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