Just when you thought the Biden Administration had bottomed out, now they are coming after charter schools

Click here to submit comments by April 13th (UPDATE: the deadline is now Monday, April 18) to the US Department of Education, letting them know you oppose new rules being considered by the Biden Administration that would negatively impact charter schools.

The following are several specific impacts of the proposed rules (RGF’s Comments follow the bullets):

  • Through a new prescriptive definition of “community impact”, the Department seeks to limit funding to ONLY charters that show they aren’t reducing district enrollment. This requirement empowers grant reviewers to veto state and local decisions to authorize schools by denying applicants funding based on whether the reviewers, who typically are not part of these communities, agree that community needs are met.
  • The new definition of “community impact”, puts the interest of the district above the interest of students and families, and does not consider the quality of the open seats, therefore restricting minority and low-income students to open seats. These students not only deserve an open seat; they deserve a high-quality seat.
  • This proposal exhibits a stunning lack of recognition of current realities. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation’s children are in crisis. Widespread school closures produced dramatic learning losses, a decline in college enrollment, and a rapid rise in mental-health challenges experienced both by adults and students that are profoundly challenging families and public education. During this time more, rather than fewer, parents have sought to enroll their children in high-performing public charter schools.Overall, the rules make no mention of how any of these new hurdles will address learning loss or improve student achievement for the most vulnerable student populations. In fact, “academic achievement” is only mentioned twice in the text of the rule and not in a manner that shows how any requirement will improve such achievement.
  • The rules would require applicants to propose racially and economically diverse models, without a definition of diversity and regardless of community needs. This will disadvantage urban areas, culturally affirming school models and models serving indigenous populations. These are the very kind of schools that communities of color have been asking for, and that research supports as effective for historically underserved students
  • The regulations also shift power to the districts, and away from families, by mandating that charters partner with districts to receive priority points and funding in state competitions. There is no corresponding obligation or expectation that district schools invite, pursue, or be open to such cooperative arrangements. This requirement places the power of a community’s educational choices right back in the hands of the district they opted out of, regardless of how willing the charter is to build a partnership.
  • The number of new requirements on top of an already complex program will discourage smaller and more innovative models. These models are the very schools that are often led by leaders of color and by leaders from the community they are seeking to serve.

The Rio Grande Foundation is a public policy think tank based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and that works on public policy issues throughout the State.

New Mexico has historically been one of the very worst performing states in the entire country, consistently ranking 49th of 50th on various indices of school performance. That was BEFORE students lost a full year in their classrooms during the Pandemic. Since then, further data has indicated that New Mexico students have fallen even further behind.

Charter schools are the only form of school choice available to most New Mexican students. Charters have performed at higher levels than traditional public schools and provide unique options for students in this uniquely diverse state. Many of the highest performing schools in New Mexico are charter schools.

These proposed regulations provide a number of unnecessary hoops for New Mexico families who wish to purse charters. The regulations would also have a negative impact on the ability of charter schools to be formed and to provide the unique educational options that simply aren’t available in traditional public schools.

I urge you to reject these regulations that will negatively impact charter schools in New Mexico and across the nation.

Seen and Heard: Thousands of Pro-Charter School Parents Turn Out to Rally Ahead of Controversial Moratorium Vote at L.A. Board Meeting | The 74


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6 Replies to “Just when you thought the Biden Administration had bottomed out, now they are coming after charter schools”

  1. The thought of doing anything to make the creation or operation of charter schools more difficult Is exactly what we should NOT be doing. Charter schools represent the parent’s effort to emancipate their children from a failed public school system, even though it is at the expense of having to drop off and pick up their children and endure other demands and inconveniences not required at public schools. Creating and attending charter schools should be as pain-free as it is to attend a public school. The existence of charter schools is a vivid illustration of the shortcomings and inadequacies of our public school system. Let the marketplace adjust and deal with this chronic problem. Stay out of the way!!, and quit pandering to the teachers unions.

  2. As a public school teacher of nearly 30 years, I know first hand the mindset of the majority of administrators and teacher. I have seen schools dumb-down curriculum, inflate grades to the point that they mean nothing, pass students who were failing, ban homework, include inappropriate reading material, tell the answers to tests claiming the practice is a last minute review just before students take the test, cancel or shorten class periods for social and emotional learning g units which promote “group think” and is really LGBT indoctrination, have low expectations for minority students and find ways if not including the standardized scores in the school performance record.
    The beauty of charter schools that focus on academics is that they focus on academics. Real history, real science, grade-level or higher reading material, mathematics curriculum that is based on achievement and nit racial quotas!
    Let public money follow the student whether it be public, private, charter, homeschool or religious school. Parents will not continue to choose a school that oversteps its function, disrespects it’s tax-paying parents, fails the community, and is concerned more about indoctrinating students, sexualizing students, grooming students for LGBT community, or disrupting the family if the student (“don’t tell your parent…).

    1. It is so good to hear from a teacher’s prospective about New Mexico public schools.
      We are already ranked one of worst states for education and now the feral government wants to take away our charter schools who perform better then our public school system.

      I encourage everyone to voice your opinion.

  3. Charter schools offer so much more for all students. This is not a good move for New Mexico’s children. As a private school educator our children are at least two years behind the “at level” curriculum. Families need options and opportunity. Government needs to stop pretending they know what we need. Parents should have freedom of choice. Stop this nonsense!

  4. New Mexico Education is ranked almost the worst State in our country and that was before COVID. Since COVID our children are even farther behind along with many other children throughout the country because the Teacher’s Union would not allow many schools to open and forced young kids to wear masks. Not allowing charter schools or making it more difficult to approve charter schools IS THE WORST POSSIBLE IDEA . Parents should decide whether to send their children to charter schools, specialty schools, or public school. Parents’ tax money which is now only used for public schools should follow the students and they should have the right to choose where their children go to school, especially if the public schools are failing their children. It should not be only the wealthy that can afford to send their children to a private school of their choice.

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