Michelle Steel Introduces Bill to Address Unfair Charter School Regulations

The federal government introduced new rules that could derail the opening of new charter schools across the country. U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel is combating it with a bold new bill.

 

Rep. Michelle Steel recently introduced a new bill that seeks to combat unfair charter school regulations and will expand access to education. 

On March 14, the U.S. Department of Education introduced new rules that could derail the opening of new charter schools across the country. In response to the department’s shift on requirements for charter schools, Michelle Steel, who represents California’s 48th Congressional District, introduced a bill – The Protecting Charter Schools from Federal Overreach Act of 2022, to address the issue.

This bill seeks to address the hurdles the new rules will impose on charter schools now trying to meet eligibility requirements for federal funding. 

Some of the new demands by the Department of Education would require that charter schools conduct a community impact study to include whether there is over-enrollment at public schools in the proposed area for the charter school, charter schools should prove (by signed letters) that there is an agreement to partner with a local public school, and must create a plan for diversity in the school’s population. 

This last requirement is of note as many charter schools have more applicants than spaces, so a lottery is used to ensure a fair selection for families wanting their children to attend. With a diversity requirement, some charter schools may have to invent new ways to select the student body.

A recent study shows that while public schools saw a drop in enrollment of over 1 million students, charter schools enjoyed an increased enrollment for the 2020-21 school year. Best estimates suggest 6 out of every 10 students enrolled at charter schools are eligible for free or low-cost lunches, and every 2 out of 3, are students of  color.

Advocates for charter schools see these new rules as an assault on school choice and an appeasement of school unions who would like to keep the status quo, as they watch enrollment numbers decline over the last couple years.

Steel introduced the bill in the House of Representatives on April, 14 2022 “To prohibit the Secretary of Education from finalizing or implementing a rule submitted by the secretary relating to charter school programs, and for other purposes.”

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