Hillary Clinton: Most charter schools ‘don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them’
Hillary Clinton was campaigning in South Carolina this month and sat down with journalist Roland Martin for a town hall. He asked her about charter schools; a topic missing from both Democratic and Republican debates, citing a South Carolina poll that found black parents were interested in enrolling their children in charter schools because they were not satisfied with traditional public schools. He asked Clinton whether she supported the expansion of charter schools and vouchers. Clinton replied,
“But the original idea, Roland, behind charter schools was to learn what worked and then apply them in the public schools. And here’s a couple of problems. Most charter schools — I don’t want to say every one — but most charter schools, they don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody, and then they don’t get the resources or the help and support that they need to be able to take care of every child’s education.
So I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system — not outside of it — but within it because I am still a firm believer that the public school system is one of the real pillars of our democracy and it is a path for opportunity.
But I am also fully aware that there are a lot of substandard public schools. But part of the reason for that is that policymakers and local politicians will not fund schools in poor areas that take care of poor children to the level that they need to be. And you can get me going on this…. I mean, the corridor of shame right here in South Carolina, you get on there and you can see schools that are literally falling apart. I’ve been in some of those schools. I have seen the terrible physical conditions. That is an outrage. It is a rebuke to who we are as Americans to send any child to a school that you wouldn’t send your own child to.
And so we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that public schools serve people, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also provide options within the system so that parents can find what they think might work best for their kid.”