Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4502. This legislation threatens federal funding for public charter schools. In fact, the bill includes a $40 million cut to the federal Charter Schools Program, as well as the following problematic language (in Section 314):
“None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be awarded to a charter school that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school.”
Read a blog post from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools about the bill.
A straight party-line vote
The legislation passed along a straight party-line vote. Here’s a screenshot of the vote:
Following the vote, in an email to state leaders, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools wrote:
The two amendments offered by Republicans during consideration by the Rules Committee to reverse the CSP cut and to remove the Section 314 language were not allowed to come to a vote on the House floor. In addition, the final bill included an amendment calling for oversight of so-called for-profit charter schools. This amendment didn’t receive its own vote, but rather passed as part of a block of Democratic amendments.
Now, the fight moves to the Senate. Hopes are high for a better bill. But, differences between House and Senate versions will need to be reconciled in conference. As the Alliance noted, “We will have to fight hard to ensure the expected Senate version prevails.”
Thank you to those of you who reached out to your elected representatives individually –or educated members of your school community about this legislation.
Last week, the Coalition signed on to a letter to congressional leaders. Signed by 70 organizations nationwide, the letter called for fair funding for charter schools in the bill. It was spearheaded by the Foundation for Excellence in Education; find a statement from Patricia Leveque, the Foundation’s CEO, here. The full text of the letter follows the statement.
The Senate will likely tackle this issue after Labor Day, according to the Alliance. We will update you as events warrant. The Coalition intends to push back to ensure public charter schools are treated fairly. There is work to do, and we will all need to make our voices heard!