Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, issued the following statement on the vote for the Congressional Review Act to overturn the U.S. Department of Education’s Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria (NPP) for three grant competitions of the Charter Schools Program:
“The National Alliance thanks Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and all 48 Senators who voted in favor of taking action for their support of invoking the Congressional Review Act to strike the recently enacted U.S. Department of Education rules impacting the Charter Schools Program. While the Department took some steps to modify the final rules to meet the needs of the sector, these rules continue to add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy on the only federal program that supports the growth, replication, and expansion of public charter schools across the country. We are grateful for these champions of public education as we continue to push back against these burdensome rules.
“In the words of Senator Scott, ‘Quality education changes lives.’ He introduced the bill by reminding other members of the U.S. Senate what is at stake. ‘Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to vote for students, tomorrow we have the opportunity to vote for parents…they need flexibility, they need choice, they deserve access to high-quality charter schools.’
“Public charter schools are an important and needed part of the public education landscape, and any efforts to limit access to funds to support these innovative public schools are misguided. Since the beginning of the pandemic, charter schools gained approximately 240,000 students—a 7% increase. During the same time period, nearly 1.5 million students (3.5%) switched out of their district school, a clear indication that parents want choices beyond the schools their children are zoned to attend. In a survey of 5,000 parents conducted by the Harris Poll, we found that 89% of parents whose children have switched school types report that they or their child experienced a positive change as a result of the switch—namely that their child is happier (57%).
“Parents value choice—93% agree one size doesn’t fit all in education. Eighty-six percent of parents want options for their children other than the district school they are zoned for or assigned to attend and 74% of parents would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area. Given this demand from families for something better in their child’s education, the proposed rules were especially out of touch.
“We look forward to continued work with congressional champions and the Administration to ensure the Charter Schools Program is set up to effectively meet its key purpose. The Charter Schools Program was created to expand opportunities for all students, particularly those who have been historically underserved, to attend high-quality public schools and to increase the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the United States.”