Democrats vs. Biden on Charter Schools

8th graders perform at Henderson Hammock Charter School in Tampa, April 13, 2021.


Douglas R. Clifford / Zuma Press

The Biden Department of Education continues to make headlines with new regulations and proposed restrictions for federal charter school funding. Protests from parents and a growing number of Democrats are a warning to the Administration that their surreptitious attempt to limit their school choice is regressive and unpopular.

In a May 5 letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, seven U.S. Senators — including Democrats Dianne Feinstein (California), Michael Bennet (Colo.), and Cory Booker (NJ). ) —wrote that the Charter School Program funding application rules do not “prioritize the needs of the student” and limit “high-quality options for some families.”

The Senators took issue with the requirement that schools applying for the funds provide evidence of regulatory need and declining enrollment in district schools. “This will allow federal assessors to bypass state and local decisions to authorize new charter schools,” they wrote. These requirements can “make it difficult, if not impossible,” for charters to access federal funds.

Colorado’s Democratic Governor Jared Polis also opposed the rules. The “community impact analysis” requirement would give “anonymous funding reviewers in Washington the ability to veto parent, community, district, and state efforts to open a new school.” ,” he wrote last month in the Washington Post. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also adopted the new rules and backed them with donations from his foundation.

On Wednesday, hundreds of parents from 20 states will protest in Washington, DC, outside the Department of Education and the White House to protest the regulations. More than 30 advocacy groups for parents and related education, including charter networks in Texas and Illinois. Parents will speak, and opponents plan to send copies of the public comments to the Department of Education.

Janel Artis-Wright, executive director of the Liberal Alliance for Charter Schools and a parent of two daughters, said the protest was an opportunity for parents to express that federal rules “don’t work” attention” and was an “attack” on the educational choice of those who attended the charter. She says the rules are particularly offensive to black and Hispanic families — and “hypocritical” for an Administration that preaches diversity.

The protest is the latest sign of political backlash since the rules were enacted in March. The Biden administration is tight-lipped with teacher unions, but following its biased charter provisions was a mistake that would hurt children and do political damage to President Biden.

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Appears in print May 11, 2022. Democrats vs. Biden on Charter Schools

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