Elizabeth Warren Accused of Lying to School Choice Activist: ‘No, My Children Went to Public Schools’

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) takes questions from the media at a town hall event on August 17, 2019 in Aiken, South Carolina. Warren has held more than ten 2020 campaign events in the early primary state. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is facing backlash for telling a school choice supporter that her children went to public schools, despite the fact that her son attended a private school, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Warren released her education plan in October, which called to eliminate school vouchers, tuition tax credits, and federally funded expansions of charter schools, as Breitbart News reported.

“We should stop the diversion of public dollars from traditional public schools through vouchers or tuition tax credits – which are vouchers by another name,” Warren wrote.

“We should fight back against the privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools,” she continued.

A school choice activist confronted Warren at a campaign event in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, the same activist who reportedly led the protest against the presidential candidate during her speech at Clark-Atlanta University the same day.

“We are going to have the same choice that you had for your kids because I read that your children went to private schools,” the activist, Sarah Carpenter told Warren.

“My children went to public schools,” Warren told her:

However, according to the Free Beacon, Warren sent her son Alex to a private school:

A school yearbook obtained by the Washington Free Beacon indicates, however, that Warren’s son, Alex Warren, attended the Kirby Hall School for at least the 1986-1987 school year, Warren’s final year as a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The college preparatory school is known for its “academically advanced curriculum” and offers small class sizes for students in grades K-12. The yearbook indicates that Alex Warren attended as a fifth grader.

Warren’s campaign confirmed that her son went to private school – a private school that currently costs roughly $15,000 per year. “According to the Austin American-Statesman, Kirby Hall’s tuition was $4,700 a year in 1995, the earliest record of the school’s tuition costs reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon,” the outlet reported.

“Elizabeth’s daughter went to public school. Her son went to public school until 5th grade,” Warren communications director Kristen Orthman said in a statement to both Free Beacon and Fox News.

She added:

Elizabeth wants every kid to get a great education regardless of where they live, which is why her plan makes a historic investment in our public schools. Every public school should be a great school. Her plan does not affect funding for existing non-profit charter schools, but she believes we should not put public dollars behind a further expansion of charters until they are subject to the same accountability requirements as public schools.

Warren’s current stance stands in stark contrast to the position she held during her 2012 senatorial campaign. At the time, she emphatically supported charter schools and school vouchers.

During an interview with Fox Business in May 2011, she said:

The point is, we have a private school system now, only the way it’s doled out is instead of paying tuition, you buy a house in a certain zip code and pay taxes and keep everyone locked out who’s not in that zip code. We call those public schools. But look at the financing for them. If every child in the state of Massachusetts — every child in this country — got a ticket, and the ticket was funded by taxpayers, because I believe in public education, but it could be used at any school regardless of what kind of house parents can afford to buy, it would first take the pressure off parents in terms of having to buy those houses, and second would mean that those schools now compete with each other for offering the kind of education that really produces results and parents can buy into and believe in.

Warren’s current education plan also includes a proposition for “free” universal pre-k, the cancellation of student lunch debt, and enhanced protections for illegal immigrant students.

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