New US rules for charter school funding face pushback
President Joe Biden’s administration is considering new rules on federal funding for public charter schools.
Charter schools are different from traditional public schools. They operate in the same way as private schools, but still receive money from the government.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools asserts that charter schools are a public “choice school.” They are free to attend like other public schools.
Charters have more freedom than traditional public schools in the operation and development of study programme. They are not governed by local school boards and are free from many states and local regulations. To obtain permission to operate, a school must establish a “charter”, promising to meet certain academic criteria. standards.
The Federal Charter Schools Program gives money for the planning and design of new charter schools, also known as startups.
The new rules proposed by the administration would not affect existing charter schools. But new charter schools seeking federal funds would have to meet new requirements. For example, the federal government would give priority to charter schools that work with local school districts.
The new rules would also prevent for-profit charter schools from receiving government funding. For-profit charter schools are controversial because they are run by for-profit companies. The Biden administration has been highly critical of for-profit charter schools, arguing that public money should not go to for-profit companies.
Proponents of charter schools say it’s good that they have more freedom in what and how to teach. But critics argue that charter schools should be overseen by state and local governments. They also argue that public money for charter schools takes away such support from traditional public schools.
The administration requires new charter schools to prove that there is a demand for their school. They must also prove that they would not worsen school segregation, a major criticism of charter schools. A 2017 study by The Associated Press found that 17% of charter schools are made up of at least 99% minority students. Only 4% of mainstream public schools are made up of 99% minority students.
Opponents of the new rules for the federal charter school program say they would limit the growth of charter schools. They argue that the new requirements are too difficult to meet.
But Assistant Education Secretary Roberto Rodríguez argued there should be more control over how charter schools are funded. In an interview with chalk beat last week, he said 15% of charter schools that received federal start-up funds never opened. He said it cost the federal government $174 million.
The Washington Post Editorial Committee published an article in April criticizing the administration’s new rules, calling them “sneak attack.” He argues that the rules are “designed to to crush charter growth.
Nina Rees is the president of the National Alliance. She said: “Traditional schools can be under-registered, but parents are looking for more than just a seat for their child. They want high quality seats.
Rees’ organization says charters currently serve more than 3.4 million students. This number represents approximately seven percent of all public school students.
Charter schools enjoy support from all political parties. Research has also shown that they have improved over the past few years and sometimes outperform traditional audiences. But many charters have also had mixed success.
An upcoming Supreme Court decision could also change how charter schools operate.
Many states, such as Maine, offer “voucher” programs. This is a program in which the government provides money, or vouchers, to families to attend a private school of their choice. Private schools are not run by the government and cost money to attend.
A Maine law challenged in the Supreme Court prohibits families from using the money to attend a religious-based private school.
This could cause all states with voucher programs to include religious schools. In the United States, it is illegal for the government to directly fund religious and other schools. establishments because of the separation of church and state in the US constitution.
Lawyers say this raises the question of whether religious schools are included in voucher programs, could religious schools be included in charter programs? Enrollment in religious schools has declined in recent years. They may look to religious charters as a way to increase enrollment again.
Some legal experts say that because charter schools aren’t officially run by the government, they should be allowed to be religious.
An article by the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research asserts that “religious charter schools are not only constitutionally permitted in most states…but where they are permitted, they may not be. prohibited.”
But charter schools in most states are still defined as “public,” which means they can’t be religious. And many supporters of charter schools hope they will remain non-religious.
“The bottom line is that charter schools, as public schools, can never be religious institutions,” Rees said in chalk beat. “And anyone who says otherwise is absolutely wrong.”
I am Dan Novak.
And I’m Caty Weaver.
Dan Novak wrote this story for VOA Learning English, with additional reporting from Chalkbeat.
words in this story
study programme— nm courses offered by a school, college, etc.
regulation — nm a formal rule or law that says how something should be done
Standard — nm a level of quality, achievement, etc., considered acceptable or desirable
priority — nm something that is more important than other things and needs to be done or dealt with first
sneak — adj. done while others are not paying attention
to crush— v. stop continuing to do or say something
registration — nm a policy or process by which parents can send their children to a public school that is different from their own community
segregation — nm the practice or policy of separating people of races, religions, etc. different from each other
institution — nm an established organization
to forbid — v. order someone not to use or do something