Stories about charter schools and their role in the education landscape in America are nothing new. NPQ has covered many stories over the years. The debate over privatization, the people involved, and whether the oversight is adequate to ensure young people get the highest possible quality of education rages on. Last week was no exception, with three widely varying stories emerging from the federal government in support of charter schools, a new report decrying what is essentially described as theft, and the New York City government’s attempts to institute greater oversight requirements.
Members of the federal government are so excited about charter schools that they are considering legislation to expand charter schools around the country. The bipartisan bill that is being proposed in the Senate matches a similar one just passed in the House would increase funding for charter schools by $50 million, would encourage districts using privatization to rescue struggling public schools, and would make it possible for charter schools to purchase or build new facilities at low cost.
Proponents of charter schools in the House and Senate are excited because their bill has received some support from liberal Democrat legislators as well. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) is a self-described supporter of public education, so it’s something of a surprise to hear he is supporting a bill to expand charter schools. The bills represent an investment in what the sponsors consider to be high performing charter schools, although the term “high performing” is not defined.