NEWS: Bill to Expand Charter Schools Moves to U.S. Senate


WASHINGTON, D.C. — On a largely bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives this week approved legislation aimed at expanding and promoting charter schools throughout the country.

The Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act, passed 364-54, and now goes to the Senate for further consideration. Although the bill, designated as H.R. 2218, had wide backing from both parties, including “ayes” from Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., skepticism about the effectiveness of charter schools looms over the legislation.

Organizations opposed to the bill as it currently reads include the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher organization, the American Association of School Administrators, and Parents Across America.

According to staffers on the Education and the Workforce Committee, from which the legislation emerged, H.R. 2218 is designed to facilitate states’ expansion of charter schools and make it easier for them to obtain federal funding, as well as support an evaluation of such schools and encourage them to recruit troubled students.

Originally intended for struggling students, charter schools are publicly funded but, unlike most public schools, are not subject to strict government rules or regulations. However, charter schools are generally required to show their students have made significant educational improvements each year to continue to receive public funding.

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