Dear Joe Biden: Rethink Your Stance on Charter Schools.

This is an excerpt from a statement from Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, in response to the House Appropriations Committee cutting $40 million from federal charter school funding and the recommendations from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations for K-12 schools.

This week, we are also disappointed by the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations on K-12 education which are harmful to charter schools. I encourage Mr. Biden to reject these recommendations because they will hurt the most vulnerable students in America. If adopted by the Biden Campaign, these recommendations would send a clear signal that the campaign values the status quo more than the needs of schools that serve predominately Black and Brown students, and students from low-income families. This is not the time to move our country backwards on education.

We urge several important changes to the platform recommendations. First, charter schools should be listed among the multiple public school pathways that provide access to the opportunities students deserve. To omit charter schools from this groups suggests either a lack of understanding or a deliberate snub. Further, federal charter school funding for charter schools should not be contingent upon a review by a school district. This is clearly problematic because districts have a conflict of interest and often see charters as competitors. In addition, increased federal regulation of charter schools would override local control by charter school authorizers, even though states already hold charter schools accountable to higher standards of transparency than district schools.

Mr. Biden should be careful not to turn his back on the Black and Brown families who support him, and who also overwhelmingly support charter schools. In communities across the country, these voters showed up for him and secured his place as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. The Biden Campaign should remember these facts:

  • Charter schools are an important part of public education and they deserve fair funding and support.
  • Charter schools disproportionately serve Black and Brown students and students from low-income communities. When you shortchange charter schools, you shortchange those families.
  • There are 3.5 million students in charter schools across the country, and their parents, teachers and school leaders vote.
  • The federal Charter Schools Program has enjoyed bi-partisan support since the first grant was awarded in 1995, because it works.

What do you think?

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