Joe Biden’s Department of Education (DOE) is set to roll out a new series of rules and regulations that will weaken charter schools, while also giving greater power to teachers’ unions.
As reported by the Daily Caller, the DOE’s 2023 budget proposal includes rules that will make it much harder for charter schools to qualify for and receive funding from the federal charter school program, which currently has a budget of $440 million. Among other restrictions, the DOE will now require charter schools to prove that there is a demand for education that only they can provide, as opposed to other educational institutions like public schools. Another provision orders charter schools to plan a collaboration with at least one public school that will “lead to increased educational opportunities and improved student outcomes.”
Grants awarded to charter schools from the federal program would often provide such schools with the funding needed to hire teachers and provide key resources to students, while also allowing for the expansion of charter schools that are already high quality.
“The toughest period for new charters is at start-up,” said Ray Domanico, director of education policy for the Manhattan Institute. “And a modest federal grant is an important piece of support in that phase of development.”
In addition to the punishments for charter schools, the DOE’s new budget also allows for teachers’ unions to be given greater control over education. Corey DeAngelis, national director of research at the American Federation for Children, pointed out that the new anti-charter school regulations would boost teachers’ unions by cracking down on the kinds of schools that provide the biggest competition for public schools. Currently, 90 percent of the 2.6 million public school teachers in the country are members of either the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) or National Education Association (NEA).
“The Administration gave away the game by requesting that charter schools provide evidence of ‘over-enrollment of existing public schools,’” DeAngelis explained. “They’re focused on protecting failing government schools as opposed to doing what’s best for families.”
“Imagine if Trader Joe’s were required to prove that a nearby Safeway had too many customers in order to open up. That wouldn’t make any sense, unless your goal was to protect Safeway at all costs,” he continued. “If anything, the case for opening up a Trader Joe’s could be strengthened by the fact that the Safeway was so bad that no one wanted to shop there.”