The Every Student Succeeds Act was released to the public on November 30, passed both houses of Congress with large majorities within 10 days, and was signed into law today by President Obama. That was fast. The good news is that No Child Left Behind is gone. There is so much we don’t know because there has been so little time to read it, discuss it, and hear different perspectives on how it will work.

 

 

Randi Weingarten here explains the charter portion of the law. Sure, some would prefer that the federal government stop subsidizing privatization. But this is a Republican-controlled Congress, so what did you expect? School choice is their favorite school reform.

 

Randi writes:

 

 

“This is what is in the bill on charters:

 
“The program is reauthorized through FY 2020 and replaced the current charter school grant program with a program awarding grants to states, and through them subgrants to charter school developers, to open new charters and expand and replicate high-quality charter school models. At the same time, ESSA strengthens and updates the charter school program by: · ensuring charter school quality, accountability and transparency including required fiscal audits; · incentivizes stronger charter school authorizing practices; · requires charter schools to improve community outreach and engagement · provides dedicated funding to expand and replicate the highest quality charter schools so that they can reach more students; · focuses on charter school practices recruitment, retention and discipline practices, particularly for underrepresented groups such as homeless and foster students. There is a grant priority for charter management organizations that operate racially integrated schools and prioritize serving a majority of low-income students. There is money for facilities assistance as the bill reserves 12.5 percent of the charter school program funding to be used for facilities assistance. ESSA also requires the Secretary of Education to address the recent findings of the Office of the Inspector General pertaining to operational challenges within the Charter School Program.”