US

Biden Admin makes ‘backdoor attempt’ to limit school choice

The Biden administration is making a “backdoor attempt” to limit school choice by proposing a policy that would significantly change how charter schools are approved for federal funding, according to Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC).

In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Monday, Budd referred to a proposed rule that would require new charter schools to demonstrate “sufficient demand” in a community to be eligible for a federal grant.

Budd told Cardona that, for many families, charter schools are “an escape from poorly run school systems” and can “address students left behind by public school systems,” adding that creating such institutions should not be discouraged by politics.

The US Congressman and Senate candidate continued:

The DOE’s false assumption that prospective charter schools must demonstrate a need within a given time frame
community represents a devious attempt to limit parental and student choice,” “These kinds of burdensome requirements would never be applied to school systems beholden to powerful teachers’ unions that organize against the interests of families and students. .

Under the policy, which was released March 14, new charter schools would also be required to detail “target student and staff demographics” and how the applicant “plans to establish and maintain populations.” of racially and socio-economically diverse students and staff…,” the policy language states.

“…including proposed strategies (which comply with applicable legal requirements) for recruiting, enrolling, and retaining a diverse student body and for recruiting, hiring, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce and talent pool at all levels ( including leadership positions),” the policy continues.

The proposed policy adds that if it is not possible to promote “diverse” student and staff populations due to community demographics, the federal government could still fund such requests. However, the policy states that such schools should submit a plan detailing how they “would not increase racial or socio-economic segregation or isolation in such schools”.

In a March 21 Washington Post report, the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools said it was “unhappy with several provisions of the proposal.”

“It’s unclear why the department and administration are trying to limit charter school opportunities,” spokeswoman Jennifer Diaz said.

According to To post, the biggest proposed change is that charter schools would not be eligible for federal funding if they are run by for-profit management companies. The report states:

Nonprofit organizations could outsource particular tasks – such as payroll, for example – to for-profit companies. But arrangements in which for-profit companies handle the entire operation under contracts called “sweeps” would not qualify for start-up grants. The proposal specifically prohibits arrangements under which a for-profit management company “exercises full or substantial administrative control over the charter school…or over programmatic decisions.”

Conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute president told the publication that while some profit limits aren’t a bad idea, the rules could end up being too broad.

“It looks like an aggressive attempt to block schools run by for-profit companies from receiving these funds,” he said.

Budd concluded his letter to Cardona by encouraging him to back down on the proposal.

“While I am aware of your close relationship with teachers’ unions, I urge you to rescind this harmful provision that will limit students’ educational opportunities to their postcode,” he wrote.

The charter school proposal is open for public comment until April 14.

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