Displaying a clear loyalty to going “woke” over proficiently and equally educating America’s youth, President Joe Biden has released a 13-page list of new rules and regulations for charter schools that make it far more difficult for them to receive federal funding. The precisely timed sneak attack against these schools was carried out under the camouflage of other breaking news – Democrats apparently hoping it would go unnoticed. Sadly, it means low-income families will likely be deprived of the opportunity for their kids to obtain a premium education.
The New Rules
Charter schools have been an incredible option for underprivileged kids, especially when traditional public systems are having a tough time providing quality education. Parents finally had another choice. But without financial assistance from the government, this system will likely falter and kids will be forced to attend underperforming and understaffed public schools.
Under the proposed changes, charters must team up with one or more public institutions to produce a letter that proves collaboration in adhering to the new rules. This is a tall order considering many public schools blame charters for their decreased enrollment and are not likely to be overly helpful.
Additionally, charters will face massive and excruciatingly tedious paperwork to meet the new requirements. The proposal also requires them to supply reports outlining the socioeconomic and racial diversity within the student body and staff, even though it is well known that these particular schools exist to furnish a better learning environment for low-income students.
Maybe the most significant blow to the charter school system is the slashed funding. Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, applauded some of Biden’s changes but is less than thrilled with his choice to defund charters. Rees said, “Many students who attend public charter schools are part of these groups and have been historically underserved – nearly 70% of charter school students are Black or Brown and nearly 60% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. We were therefore disappointed that President Biden’s FY23 budget proposal did not include an increase in funding for the Charter Schools Program (CSP). The CSP is the nation’s only source of dedicated federal funding for the creation of these unique public schools.”
Build Back Better?
Biden has clearly spoken about education and its role in his Build Back Better initiative that purports to emphasize equity, promising to make vast improvements and create academic opportunities for impoverished black and brown communities. With more than 3.5 million students attending public charter schools, it seems counterintuitive to suspend their ability to improve the educational experience for so many young people.
Equity, defined as fairness and impartiality, would seem to demand more, not fewer, opportunities for those who need them. However, this new proposal could result in those same children losing their chance to gain more thorough training and instruction. Rees addressed this as well: “The President’s budget, released on the heels of new CSP rules and regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Education, sets a troubling pattern. The proposed rules and regulations would disproportionately impact single-site, rural, Black, Brown, and Native charter school leaders, and the very students the Administration is looking to support in significant parts of the President’s budget. This back-door attempt to prevent new charter schools from opening runs counter to the very purpose of the CSP.”
Why would the Biden administration propose the kinds of changes that adversely affect demographics supposedly targeted for greater assistance? Like so much else about Mr. Biden’s handling of economic and social policy, that is not at all clear.