From the WSJ. NM ruled to help charter schools but it may not be that easy especially with ABQ having a serious loss of students.
A Case of Charter School Sabotage
Biden’s regulators find another way to undermine school choice.
WSJ Opinion Mar 27, 2022
The Biden Administration is deep in the tank for the teachers unions, and it is proving it again by imposing new rules to sabotage a modest $440 million grant program for charter schools.
The 28-year-old federal Charter Schools Program helps pay for charter start-up expenses such as technology and staff. The funds go chiefly to state agencies, which award the money to charters, and to nonprofit charter management organizations. The federal Department of Education recently proposed new rules that would discourage charters from even applying for grants—which may be the goal.
Applicants will now have to describe “unmet demand for the charter school.” Having hundreds or thousands of children on charter waiting lists won’t suffice. The Administration wants evidence of “over-enrollment of existing public schools,” as well as proof that the new charter “does not exceed the number of public schools needed to accommodate the demand in the community.”
This means that charter applicants in school districts with shrinking enrollment, which includes many big cities, would almost certainly be rejected. “Demand for charter schools isn’t just about demand for the availability of any seat but the demand for a high-quality seat,” says Karega Rausch, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. That’s why charters have waiting lists in cities with empty public-school buildings.
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The Administration also plans to require applicants to “collaborate” with a traditional public school or school district on an “activity” such as transportation or curriculum. In other words, charter operators will be obliged to give the teachers unions that dominate traditional school systems a say in how their charters are run.
Charters would also have to show “plans to establish and maintain racially and socio-economically diverse student and staff populations.” Many charter schools serve chiefly black and Hispanic students in cities. Charter advocates worry this needless diversity rule could discourage schools that don’t prioritize racial diversity in their enrollment models. The rule could also deter schools from opening in suburban areas, or from hiring white teachers even if they are willing, able and qualified.
States and local school districts are the main regulators and funders of charters, which are public schools. But the Administration is trying to leverage federal dollars to limit school choice and prop up failing union-run schools that received an incredible $200 billion in Covid relief since 2020.
After unions spent two pandemic years keeping public schools closed, while many charters and most private schools stayed open, this is an educational and moral disgrace.