By Amy Carney
Joe Biden’s Department of Education can’t stop attacking charter schools. They were always going to be on the chopping block after the Trump Administration’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made developing charter school alternatives to public schools a focus of her Department of Education. The Left can’t resist the temptation to destroy everything the previous administration built, even if the consequences hurt children.
This latest move dovetails perfectly with Joe Biden’s DOE’s war against parents, their unwavering support of teachers’ unions over our students, and their carefree attitude toward political dogma in the classroom. Biden’s moves against charter schools may be the most severe impediment to large-scale education reform we’ve seen yet from this administration.
In recently updated rules regarding the Charter Schools Program, a federal program that funds charter schools, the current administration put new onerous provisions on funding. Among these is the requirement for a “community impact analysis” which goes further than the current woke Diversity-Equity-Inclusion bureaucracy. The community impact analysis would consider “unmet demand” when deciding whether to grant funding.
This “unmet demand” ties charter school funding to districts where public schools are overenrolled. Yet, this seems unreasonable, considering public school enrollment has plummeted in most districts across the country. Parents have purposely pulled their children out of the local public school system and enrolled them in charter schools for many reasons, such as limited access to good public schools, a desire to control their child’s education more directly, or a lack of resources designed for their child’s learning needs in the traditional system.
According to Biden’s updated rules, for a charter school to obtain funding, they need to be taking excess students from overcrowded schools only. This analysis would also require prospective charter schools to “provide evidence that the charter school would not exacerbate school segregation.” In addition, some of these rule changes ban certain charter groups from receiving any funding for new schools.
The blowback against these rule changes has been swift and decisive. Charter School groups and organizations have stood firm against these egregious changes, and politicians from both political parties have blasted the move as wrong. Even the Washington Post Editorial Board called the move “flagrantly wrongheaded,” – pointing out that the rule changes would deprive areas where community dissatisfaction with public schools is highest, areas with declining enrollment, from funding charter school development.
Since the Biden Administration announced these changes two months ago, they have relented, to a degree, and announced that it was revisiting these rule changes. That, however, is no consolation and no victory. The fact remains that charter schools face innumerable hurdles, especially in some blue states where they receive a disproportionately low amount of funding relative to the percentage of students enrolled in their schools. Our country needs an expansion of education opportunities, not closer monitoring and additional burdens on new and existing charter schools.
We must pay attention and boldly speak up against any policies and plans imposed on our children by our elected government officials and hired education bureaucrats. We must not allow their vindictive agendas to hurt the students and communities best served by the numerous charter schools and other education opportunities across our nation.