The U.S. Department of Education has extended the deadline for public comments about proposed regulations for the federal Charter Schools Program. This program started in 1995 with $6 million, when there were very few charter schools. Now there are more than 7,000 charters, many of them operated by for-profit corporations. The new regulations would ban federal funding to for-profit school operators and require new charters to do an impact analysis, showing the need for a new charter. Contrary to the charter industry lobbyists, no existing charter would be affected by these regulations, only new charters that seek federal funding.

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, asks for your support:

The US DOE has extended the comment period on their proposed tough Charter Schools Regulations until April 18.

If you have not done so, take one more easy action to stop for-profit-run charters from getting federal Charter Schools Program funds.

Click HERE and send your comment to the U.S. Department of Education via the National Education Association. The NEA has made it easy to do!

If you have sent that quick message, now personalize a longer, more thoughtful commentand submit it through the Department’s portal. Here is a sample you can cut and paste.

I support the proposed rule that schools run by for-profits should not get grants. Charter schools that are run in part or whole to create profit should not benefit from federal expansion or start-up funds.

The relationship between a for-profit management organization is quite different from the relationship between our district vendors who provide a single service. A public school can sever a bus contract and still have a building, desks, curriculum, and teachers. However, in cases where charter schools have attempted to fire their for-profit operator, they find it impossible to do without destroying the schools in the process. In addition, the spending of the for-profit is hidden from public inspection and is not subject to FOIA requests.

I fully support the proposed regulation that “the community impact analysis must describe how the plan for the proposed charter school take into account the student demographics of the schools from which students are, or would be, drawn to attend the charter school.” The reporting of needs based on enrollment patterns as well as the impact on local desegregation efforts is most welcome.

In the past, one of the most segregated charter chains in the country received CSP grants. Arizona’s BASIS schools, do not provide free or reduced-priced lunch nor transportation. BASIS expects parents to make donations to subsidize teacher salaries. In a state where 52% of all students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, the percentage in BASIS schools is only 1%. While 13% of Arizona’s public school students are students with disabilities, the percentage in BASIS schools is 3%. Latinx and Black students are dramatically underrepresented in the schools in this chain. Eight Arizona BASIS charter schools were recipients of CSP sub-grants between 2010-2017 receiving over $5 million dollars.

The inclusion of an impact statement will help reviewers make the best decisions regarding which schools should get awards. The impact analysis requirements should include a profile of the students with disabilities and English language learners in the community along with an assurance that the applicant will provide the full range of services that meet the needs of all students. Too often, the neediest students are left behind in our districts, while funding leaves the schools along with students who require fewer services.

I fully support priorities one and two. They will help us get back to the original purpose of charter schools—innovative places run by teachers and families in cooperation with our local schools. I do not want my tax dollars to go to create new schools for the benefit of the big EMO and CMO chains.

Submit your comment by cutting and pasting it here.

And then keep sending those tweets by clicking here.

Thanks for all you do.


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