Charter school parents protest in Washington DC

WASHINGTON, DC — New rules proposed by the Biden administration restricting federal funding of charter schools are drawing with criticism from parents of charter school children.


What You Need To Know

  • The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says 3.6 million children attend public charter schools and that two-thirds “are from low-income, Black or Hispanic communities”
  • Charter schools are funded by the government but run privately
  • The current federal budget contains $440 million for charters. The Education Department is expected to make a final decision on the proposed rules in the next few months

They say the proposal would make it more difficult to open and expand the schools.

Julie Gonzague says her 11-year-old daughter, Julianie, has benefited from attending charter school. “I appreciate the education, the values, the morality, the systems and just how much they pour into my child, Julianie,” she said.

Gonzague, who lives in Rochester, NY, is not alone. Jessica Rodriguez of Miami says a charter school was the best choice for her 10-year-old son, Tyhler.

“Most charter schools are found in inner city neighborhoods and our neighborhoods are not offering high quality education,” Rodriguez said.

Gonzague and Rodriguez joined hundreds of other parents in Washington this week to protest new rules proposed by the Education Department. Charter schools are funded by the government but run privately. The changes would require a charter seeking federal funding to demonstrate a need for the school – for example, by showing over-enrollment of nearby public schools.

“These changes can impact the growth of charter schools, not only where I’m from in Miami, but also nationwide. And it will impact the capacity of or the ability of our families to access high quality education,” said Rodriguez.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says 3.6 million children attend public charter schools and that two-thirds “are from low-income, Black or Hispanic communities.” The schools and their advocates charge the rules were developed to stifle the growth of charters, which generally are opposed by teacher unions.

The Education Department’s press secretary responded on Twitter this week, saying, “Our proposed priorities are aimed at making sure students are delivered the highest quality education in excellent public charter schools,” and that “the impact analysis we proposed wouldn’t mean that charters would only be eligible for funding if they could show that traditional public school enrollment is at or above capacity.”

Still, charter school parents say they want to make sure there are no barriers to expanding charter schools not just in their neighborhoods, but nationwide.

“I want it for everybody. I want every African-American family in Rochester, in America to have that choice,” Gonzague said.

The current federal budget contains $440 million for charters. The Education Department is expected to make a final decision on the proposed rules in the next few months.

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