July 03, 2020

Biden Flunks School Choice

Key Takeaways:

  • Today, Joe Biden will speak at an event for the National Education Association, which had a “strained” relationship with the Obama-Biden Administration, yet now endorses him

  • Biden received NEA’s endorsement by abandoning his prior support for school choice, another example of Biden caving to the far-left

  • Biden previously recognized the value of school choice, acknowledging that every student deserves a great education

  • Biden has now caved to the radical left and opposes charter schools

    • Biden has said he is “not a charter school fan” and pledged that charter schools will be “gone” if he is elected president

    • Even though Biden and his children went to private school, he will deny this same opportunity to children trapped in failing schools

  • While Biden opposes charter schools, his brother Frank used the family name to profit off them

    • Frank Biden used Joe’s political ties to get charter school contracts in Florida, trading on the family name to lobby and gain approval for these schools

    • Frank Biden’s charter school chain was later sued for inflating operating expenses, and was accused of altering student enrollment records to gain more government funding


In March 2020, The National Education Association Endorsed Biden For President. “The National Education Association announced Saturday that it is backing Joe Biden for president, handing the Democratic frontrunner a prized endorsement ahead of Tuesday’s big-state primaries as he aims to wipe out his last remaining major opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.” (Nicole Gaudiano, “National Education Association Endorses Biden For President,” Politico, 3/14/20)

The Obama-Biden Administration Had A “Toxic” Relationship With Teachers Unions

The Obama-Biden Administration Had A “Strained And Complicated – If Not Altogether Toxic – Relationship” With Teachers Unions During The Obama Administration. “Biden has long enjoyed the support of labor groups, leaning on his Scranton, Pennsylvania, roots to make the plight of the working class a pillar of his political career. He kicked off his presidential campaign last month at a union hall in Pittsburgh, and the International Association of Fire Fighters has already endorsed him. But that goodwill does not automatically spill over to the teachers unions, which had a strained and complicated – if not altogether toxic – relationship with the Obama administration.” (Lauren Camera, “Biden to Face Teachers Union After Toxic Relationship During the Obama Years,” U.S. News, 5/28/19)

The National Education Association (NEA) At One Point Called For The Resignation Of Then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “At various points throughout the Obama-Biden tenure, the AFT and the 3.2 million member National Education Association went so far as to call for the resignation of then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan.” (Lauren Camera, “Biden to Face Teachers Union After Toxic Relationship During the Obama Years,” U.S. News, 5/28/19)

  • Biden Called Arne Duncan “One Of The Best Secretaries Of Education In Our Nation’s History.” VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “Arne Duncan has been one of the best Secretaries of Education in our nation’s history. Over the past 7 years, he has been a dynamic leader who brings unparalleled energy to his work. During his time as Secretary, Arne has made almost unprecedented strides in changing the direction of education in this country through his work to improve graduation rates, expand access to community colleges and raise academic standards for students all across the country. He has also done tremendous work through Title IX to make campuses safer for women and girls. He’s a man of great character and principle and he has become a close friend to Jill and me.” (“Vice President Biden Statement On The Resignation Of Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan,” The Obama White House, 10/2/15)


Previously, Biden Supported The Idea That Competition From Private Schools Was A Good Thing And Expressed Support For Federal Funding Of Charter Schools

In 1997, Biden Rejected The Argument That School Vouchers Diverted Money From Public Schools. “In a 1997 speech on the Senate floor, he said he was questioning his own conclusion that it was unconstitutional to send tax dollars to religious schools. He also said he was no longer persuaded that diverting tax dollars to private schools would hurt public schools. ‘When you have an area of the country — and most often here we are talking about inner cities — where the public schools are abysmal or dysfunctional or not working and where most of the children have no way out, it is legitimate to ask what would happen to the public schools with increased competition from private schools,’ he said. ‘Is it not possible that giving poor kids a way out will force the public schools to improve and result in more people coming back?’” (Laura Meckler, “Democrats Abandon Charter Schools As ‘Reform’ Agenda Falls From Favor,” The Washington Post, 6/25/19)

  • Biden: “Is It Not Possible That Giving Poor Kids A Way Out Will Force The Public Schools To Improve And Result In More People Coming Back?” SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Most of the opponents of private school vouchers argue that with more kids attending private schools, the support for public education will be drained. To date, that assertion has largely gone unchallenged. I am not sure it should any more. Is it not possible that giving poor kids a way out will force the public schools to improve and result in more people coming back?” (Sen. Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 9/30/97, p. S10193)

  • Biden Said Some Children Were Getting Caught In “Failed” Public Schools, And That “We Must Start Asking…If Public Education Is Still The Only Answer.” SENATOR JOE BIDEN(D-DE): “But, for those kids who are presently caught in a failed public school, we must start asking – only asking – if public education is still the only answer. I do not know the answer to that or any of the other questions I have raised today. But, I believe the questions need to be asked. And, it may be that the only way that we will find out the answers is to create a limited private school voucher demonstration project.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 9/30/97, p. S10193)

In 2001, Biden Defended Federal Funding Of Charter Schools.  SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “The second point I would like to make to my friend is that we are not nationalizing anything. Let’s understand what this does. Right now, if Houston or North Carolina has a charter school, that charter school has to have comparable services that exist within that school district, or they could not have the school. It could not be a public school. So all we are saying is you should do--and I apologize for saying this--what we do in Delaware. In Delaware, the State funds 70 percent of the funding of every school district, every school in the State. Not just the district, every school in the State. We have comparable funding, comparable education, required by our law.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks On The Senate Floor, 6/6/01)

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  • In His Speech, Biden Admitted That Many Children Receive Inadequate Schooling In Poor Neighborhoods. SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Guess what. My friend from the State of New Hampshire says he wants a national standard. We did not say we want a national standard. The President said he wanted a national standard. My friend from New Hampshire wants a national standard. They want to judge how fast every kid can run. They want to judge how fast every kid can read. They want to judge how well every kid can write. OK, fine, but do not do to those kids the same thing as my fictitious example on the track. Do not judge the kid who comes from a school district where they spend $5,000 per pupil, with teachers who have their teaching certificate in the area in which they teach--do not judge them by the same standard that you are going to judge kids who have $1,500 spent on them per pupil, who have a majority of teachers who are not certified in the area they teach, who teach in classrooms that are leaky, some of them unsafe, and without an adequate number of textbooks.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks On The Senate Floor, 6/6/01)

The Obama-Biden Administration Supported Charter Schools

The Growth Of Charter Schools Was A “Key Priority” In The Obama-Biden Administration. “Because the growth of charter schools was a key priority in his administration’s overall school reform program. Promising to promote the expansion of charter schools was one of the ways that states could win some of the money in Obama’s signature $4.3 billion Race to the Top funding competition. Today, 6 percent of U.S. public school students attend charter schools, up from about 3 percent when he took office in 2009. (It was 2 percent in 2004.) And he was standing in a city that has one of the most successful charter school sectors in the country.” (Valerie Strauss, “Obama’s Real Education Legacy: Common Core, Testing, Charter Schools,” The Washington Post, 10/21/16)

  • In 2008, Obama Campaigned On Doubling Funding For Federal Charter Schools. “Back in 2008, President Obama promised to ‘double funding for the Federal Charter School Program to support the creation of more successful charter schools.’ Fast forward 8 years, and funding for charter schools has increased, but not by as much as Obama promised.” (Rachel Tiede, “Increased Funding For Charter Schools, But Not Doubled,” PolitiFact, 9/12/16)

As Vice President, Biden “Spoke In Favor” Of Supporting Charter Schools, With A Near Doubling Of Charter School Enrollment From 2008 To 2016. “As vice president, Biden spoke in favor of the so-called school reform agenda, which doubled down on NCLB’s draconian testing mandates and made federal funding contingent on states supporting charter schools — nearly doubling charter enrollment from 2008 to 2016. Linking teachers’ pay and job stability to student test scores proved so destructive that the National Education Association called for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign, and parents, students, and teachers formed a movement to opt out of high-stakes testing.” (Heather Gautney And Eric Blanc, “Joe Biden Is No Friend Of Public Education,” Jacobin, 3/10/20)

  • By 2016, The Obama-Biden Administration Increased Federal Funding For Charter Schools By $125.2 Million And Supported Legislation Which Included Measures To Increase The Number Of Charter Schools. “Although the funding promise was not met fully, funding for charter schools did increase by $125.2 million and continues to increase. In addition, No Child Left Behind was replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act, which included measures to increase the number of charter schools. We rate this promise Compromise.” (Rachel Tiede, “Increased Funding For Charter Schools, But Not Doubled,” PolitiFact, 9/12/16)


Biden Has Pledged That Charter Schools Will Be “Gone” If He Is President

In May 2019, At An American Federation Of Teachers Event, Biden Said Charter Schools “Sipho[n] Off Money From Our Public Schools.” QUESTION: “Year after year, research shows that charter schools leads to more segregation for these students with needs are left behind yet unregulated from profit charter school continue to pull money out of our public schools for staffing and services for students.  What is your plans to slow – stop the growth of unregulated for-profit charter schools.” JOE BIDEN: “I’ll stop them, I don’t support it … I do not support any federal money – private money – for for-profit charter schools period. And number two, there are – we started off initially talking about magnet schools but now we call charter schools, there are some charter schools that work but the truth of the matter is that I don’t think any charter school system that does not allow for total enrollment based upon the fact that where you live, your access whether it is a lottery or not should be in a position where they make those kind of choices.  So, the bottom line is it siphons off money from our public schools which are already in enough trouble as well  as it siphons off other assets as well” (Joe Biden, Remarks At An American Federation Of Teachers Conference, Houston, TX, 5/28/19)

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At The MSNBC Public Education Forum In December 2019, Biden Pledged That That The Whole Notion Of Charter School’s Will Be “Gone” If He Is Elected. JOE BIDEN: “And so if I’m president, Betsy DeVos’ whole notion from charter schools to this are gone.” (Joe Biden, Remarks At The MSNBC Public Education Forum, Pittsburgh, PA, 12/14/19)

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In February 2020, When Confronted On Being “Lukewarm” On Charter Schools, Biden Clarified That He Is “Not A Charter School Fan.” SARAH CARPENTER: “With a group on powerful parents from all over the country and our children are stuck in failing schools. I know Obama was for chores and charters. You seem lukewarm about it and why. Our children, I got 15 grandbabies, and we have to drive all over the city to find a great school. We shouldn’t have to leave our community to find a great school. JOE BIDEN: You’re absolutely right . . . I am not a charter school fan because it takes away the options available and money for public schools.” (Joe Biden, Remarks At A Campaign Event In Georgetown, SC, 2/26/20)

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Biden Started Criticizing Charter Schools Due To Pressure From The Growing Nationwide ‘Red For Ed’ Movement. “When it comes to school privatization, Biden has been inconsistent at best. Though he has voted against vouchers for private schools, he did speak of them favorably in a 1997 floor speech. Under pressure from the growing nationwide Red for Ed movement, he acknowledged that charter schools take resources away from public schools.” (Heather Gautney And Eric Blanc, “Joe Biden Is No Friend Of Public Education,” Jacobin, 3/10/20)

The Biden Campaign’s Education Plan Opposes Charter Schools. “Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday released the first major policy platform of his campaign, a sweeping education proposal that urges federal investment in low-income schools, supports universal prekindergarten and higher teacher pay, and, he added in a public appearance later, opposes for-profit charter schools.” (Katie Glueck, “Joe Biden Debuts Education Plan, Then Touts It to Teachers’ Union,” The New York Times, 5/28/19)


Biden Has Repeatedly Opposed The District Of Columbia’s Successful School Choice Program

In 1997, Biden Voted Against The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. (S.Amdt. 1269 to S. 1156, Roll Call Vote #260,  Rejected 58-41, 9/30/97, Biden Voted Nay)

  • The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program Gives Low-Income Parents The Choice To Send Their Children To “Higher-Performing” Private Schools In DC. “The purpose of the act is to provide low-income parents residing in DC, particularly parents of students who attend elementary or secondary schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under Title I, with expanded opportunities for enrolling their children in higher-performing private elementary or secondary schools in DC.” (Fact Sheet, “DC Parental Choice Incentive Act of 2003 (H.R. 2556),” U.S. Department Of Education, Accessed 12/23/19)

In January 2004, Biden Voted Against H.R. 2673. (H.R. 2673, Roll Call Vote #3,  Adopted 65-28, 1/22/04, Biden Voted Nay)

  • The Bill Contained The DC School Choice Incentive Act Of 2003 Which Authorized School Choice Programs In The District Of Columbia. “DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 - (Sec. 304) Requires the Secretary of Education to award five-year grants on a competitive basis to educational entities of the District government, nonprofit organizations, and consortia of nonprofit organizations (eligible entities) with approved applications to carry out activities to provide expanded school choice opportunities to students who are DC residents and who come from households with incomes not exceeding 185 percent of the poverty line (eligible students). Authorizes the Secretary to award a single grant or multiple grants, depending on the quality of applications submitted and the priorities of this title.” (H.R. 2673, Introduced 7/9/03)


Biden, As Well As His Three Children, All Attended Delaware’s Private Archmere Academy. “Biden, who graduated from Archmere in 1961, has had three children graduate from the school: Joseph ‘Beau’ Biden III, Delaware’s attorney general, graduated in 1987; Hunter Biden graduated in 1988; Ashley Biden graduated in 1999.” (Edward L. Kenney, “Biden Has Kept In Touch With His Claymont Roots,” The News Journal, 8/27/08)

In 2013, Vice President Joe Biden Visited Archmere Academy Where He Told Students He Owes The School “So Much.” JOE BIDEN: “I was, if you guys didn’t know any better, I was class president through my years at Archmere. In my senior year, everybody you read in the paper occasionally about Biden being a good public speaker or something about my speaking. When I was here at Archmere, one of the things I owe so much to Archmere, I owe Archmere so much, I used to stutter really bad. I used to talk like that, were I not a hell of a good athlete and relatively were able to handle myself would not have been a neat thing. But the priests here at Archmere, and they were almost all priests at the time, they gave me the confidence to speak, they taught me and they made me stand up in front of the student body.” (“Remarks By Joe Biden While Visiting His High School Alma Mater,” Archmere Academy, Claymont, DE, 5/17/13)

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Frank Biden Used Washington Connections To Get Charter School Contracts

Joe Biden’s Brother, Frank, Allegedly Used Biden’s Connections In Washington, D.C. To Land “A Series Of Charter Contracts” To Open Charter Schools In Florida. “Frank Biden, a longtime real estate developer in the state, accepted the offer, and over the years, he touted his famous last name and prominent connections in Washington to help land the company a series of charter contracts from local officials in Florida to open charter schools, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars over a five-year period from the company in the process.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

Frank Biden Has Admitted His Last Name Is “A Tremendous Asset” For Gaining Business. “In media interviews at the time, Frank Biden was unabashed – calling his last name ‘a tremendous asset’ because of the family’s record of ‘taking care of people who need help,’ and telling people it brought him ‘automatic acceptance’ as he sought government approvals for the for-profit Mavericks in Education.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

  • The Mavericks Schools – Biden’s Charter Schools Which Focused On Educating At-Risk Teens, A Ploy To Get More Government Funding – Eventually Failed Due To “Mismanagement.” “Claims of mismanagement would ultimately bog down many of those schools, which focused on educating at-risk teens with troubled backgrounds. In at least two separate lawsuits, Mavericks schools faced allegations of inflating enrollment as part of a scheme to garner more government funding. The charters were eventually sold and the schools reorganized under new management.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

Frank Biden’s Role With Mavericks Was To Navigate Political Roadblocks For Financial Gain

Due To The Regulation Of Charter Schools, Mavericks Brought Frank Biden On To Persuade School Board Members And Other Elected Officials To Side With Them. “Frank Biden’s chance encounter in 2009 with a Mavericks executive launched his years-long effort to place the for-profit business in several Florida school districts. Charter schools are heavily regulated and depend on approvals by school boards and other government officials to operate, so convincing school board members of the company’s viability was a critical step for nascent charter management outfits. That was Frank Biden’s job for Mavericks.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

  • To Accomplish The Goal Of Garnering Charter School Contracts, Frank Biden Launched Media Interviews And Used His Older Brother’s Name And Influence. “As the project’s public face and biggest advocate, Frank Biden undertook efforts to win over school board members who were responsible for approving charter school applications. He did so, in both media interviews and school board meetings, in part by invoking the name of his brother, who was vice president at the time.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

  • Frank Biden Was A Registered Lobbyist For Mavericks. “Frank was registered to lobby on behalf of charter schools from 2011 to 2014, according to Florida state records. Frank Biden’s name is missing from a separate database in which Florida lobbyists disclose their compensation. In an email, Frank Biden said he did not file a compensation disclosure because he was a salaried employee of Mavericks and did not receive additional compensation for lobbying.” (Ben Schreckinger, “The Strange Tale Of Biden’s Bid To Ban Horse Meat,” POLITICO, 11/6/19)


(“2011 Registrations By Lobbyist Name,” Florida Legislature, 1/1/13)

Former Director Of The Palm Beach County School District’s Charter Schools Department, Jim Pegg, Called Frank Biden A “Front Guy” For Mavericks. “Jim Pegg, who served as director of the charter schools department for the Palm Beach County school district – which added a Mavericks charter school after Biden joined the company – until his retirement earlier this year, called Frank Biden the ‘front guy’ for the company, and suggested that the political connections associated with his last name earned him the Mavericks gig. ‘I think it would be safe to say that those charter schools that were associating with Frank were using the Biden name,’ Pegg said. ‘They wanted that out front.’” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

  • An Anonymous Former Mavericks Board Member Said The Company Brought Frank Biden In For His Name And Outlined How He Wore Cufflinks With The Presidential Seal On Them. “‘Our perception was [Frank Biden’s] name is what [Mavericks] had, and his name is what they used,’ the former board member said. ‘They brought him in for his name.’ The former board member said Frank Biden wore cufflinks bearing the presidential seal to meetings, and during a commencement address for one of the schools’ graduation ceremonies, he ‘spoke about his brother and about how his brother was the vice president. It was all about his brother.’” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

Frank Biden Reportedly Made $70,000 Per Year During the Five Years He Was At Mavericks. “A person familiar with Frank Biden’s role at Mavericks told ABC News he was paid $70,000 per year over the course of five years.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

Mavericks Was Sued For “Falsely Inflating The Operating Expenses” Of The School

In 2014, Two Pinellas County School District Executives Sued Mavericks Of “Falsely Inflating The Operating Expenses” Of Their Chart School Operation, Naming Frank Biden As A Defendant. “A 2014 lawsuit filed by two Pinellas County school district executives – which named Frank Biden as a defendant – accused Mavericks of ‘falsely inflating the operating expenses associated with the operations of the charter schools’ in an effort to ‘divert funds from the education of the students to the owners of [Mavericks]’ – to the tune of $22 million. The lawsuit was ultimately dropped.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

Earlier In 2012, A Former Mavericks School Teacher Filed A Whistleblower Lawsuit Accusing Her Superiors Of Altering Student Enrollment Records To Gain More Funding. “In 2012, a former teacher at the Mavericks school in Palm Beach filed a whistleblower lawsuit accusing her supervisors at the company of altering student enrollment records in an effort to secure more government funding. This case was settled out of court. The terms of the settlement were kept private.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

Several Former Educators At Mavericks Faced Legal Or Administrative Actions For Alleged “Inappropriate Interactions With Students.” “Several educators at Mavericks schools faced legal or administrative action for alleged inappropriate interactions with students. In 2015, for example, the principal at Mavericks High School in Palm Springs was fired after she was discovered with a student in the backseat of a car reeking of marijuana, with a bag of marijuana on the front seat.” (Lucien Bruggeman, “How Frank Biden Leveraged His Famous Name For Business Gain,” ABC News, 1/17/20)

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