US House to vote on bad charter bill today

Please call your congressman today and ask him/her to vote NO on HR 2218 (see press release below). This bill is called the Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools bill, but we believe that it only serves to empower charter school operators and not parents or students. Look at the list of endorsers if you doubt who is behind this.

Parents Across America has taken a position against HR 2218.

Because the vote is happening today, you need to keep your message short and strong. Parents do not want this bill  – we want Congress to concentrate on help for all of our schools. We need to monitor the charter schools that exist now, not add more. Too many of the charter schools we have now are

* not providing a quality education
* not accepting more challenging students while pushing others out
* not operating in a transparent manner or offering parents a real voice in decision making, which is a key element for student progress
* raising too many unanswered questions – see PAA Fact Sheet detailing some of the problems and concerns raised about charter schools in just the past year.

Questions about the Noble Network of Charter Schools

While in Washington, D.C. for the SOS March, we learned that the Noble Charter Network in Chicago has been held up as a model to provide a justification for expanding all charter schools nationwide, but we know that congressmen were not told the real story about Noble schools. One Noble school parent wrote this in a discrimination complaint she filed with the USDE’s Office for Civil Rights: “As punishment for detentions students are charged $5 weekly, pay hundreds of dollars for night and summer school classes and are retained in the same grade.”

It’s time to slow down charter growth, not speed it up.

US House Press release:
September 8, 2011     CONTACT: Press Office
(202) 226-9440

House Begins Consideration of First
Education Reform Bill
H.R. 2218 Will Expand Access to High-Quality Charter Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin consideration of the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218). H.R. 2218 will facilitate the establishment and replication of high-performing charter schools, as well as encourage choice, innovation, and excellence in education.

Numerous organizations representing American students and families have voiced their support for the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, including:

California Charter Schools Association: As Congress further deliberates the reauthorization of the ESEA, inclusion of the charter model as an effective option to create learning environments where both students and teachers thrive, will be critical to ensuring an educational system that is rigorous and robust.

Charter School Lenders’ Coalition: Thank you for your leadership in promoting educational opportunities for disadvantaged communities through the replication of high-performing public charter schools …H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, would provide essential tools and resources to address the dire need for quality education for low-income students.

Chiefs for Change: We strongly support the approach of empowering states to tailor grant programs in a way that best meets our unique state and local needs …We appreciate the effort made to streamline the programs as well as the emphasis placed on replicating high performing schools.

Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP): We applaud your aim within the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act to enable successful charter schools to replicate, expand, and serve more students. We appreciate that this legislation encourages rigorous levels of reporting, oversight, and accountability for charter school authorizers.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: The Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act brings to House consideration a significant reauthorization proposal that has the support of the charter school movement. This legislation provides the much-needed resources to help high-achieving charter schools overcome the myriad of obstacles that prevent them from growing to serve thousands more students.

National Association of Charter School Authorizers: As a strong proponent of quality charter schools, [we] support H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, which will improve the quality of charter school authorizing…By strengthening charter school authorizing, H.R. 2218 will support the growth in both the number and quality of charter schools while also ensuring that charter schools are open to and serve all students.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Inc.: We are pleased that this bill will protect access to charter schools for students with disabilities. Charter schools can be a valuable educational option for students with disabilities, and we are encouraged by the steps Congress is taking to ensure that their needs are met.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: [We] believe that dramatically improving the performance of the K-12 education system in the United States is essential to providing a strong foundation for both U.S. competitiveness and for individuals to succeed. Public charter schools are one of the most promising education reform innovations of the last several decades.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is advancing a series of legislation designed to reform elementary and secondary education law, currently known as No Child Left Behind. Over the summer, the committee approved the first three bills in this series: the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891), the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218), and the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act (H.R. 2445). H.R. 2218 is the first piece of education reform legislation to come before the full House of Representatives for a vote.

The committee is in the process of developing legislation to address accountability and teacher quality issues, and expects the full package of education reform legislation to be considered this year.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Uncategorized

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