Republicans Pushing Back Against Biden’s Assault on Charter Schools

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Democrats can’t stand the idea of parents choosing where and how their children are educated. This is a reality that has become even more clear over the past year as people became fed up with school districts infusing problematic progressive ideology into K-12 classrooms. The furor over the issue has motivated many to pull their children out of public schools and look at other options like homeschooling, charter schools, and private institutions. Public school attendance has dropped precipitously.

In March, President Joe Biden and his merry band of Democrats in Congress responded to the new trend in education by trying to slip provisions into the $1.5 trillion proposal to fund government agencies that would essentially force many charter schools to close their doors and make it more difficult to open more. The provisions included a slew of new rules and regulations that charter schools would have to adhere to in order to obtain federal funding.

Now, top Republicans in the House and Senate education committees said they would initiate a congressional review “if a proposed Biden rule restricting eligibility for federal funding for public charter schools is finalized” according to the Washington Examiner, which also reported:

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) reminded Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Thursday that under the Congressional Review Act, the Department of Education is required to submit the charter school regulation to Congress, which can then initiate a review and even vote to repeal it.

The regulation was first proposed in March and would severely restrict which public charter schools are eligible for federal funding, something that experts have warned could force hundreds of such schools nationwide to close their doors.

The two lawmakers wrote a letter to the Department of Education asking it to comply with the Congressional Review Act if the rules are finalized. They wrote:

While we hope the Department decides against finalizing this misguided proposal that would be catastrophic to the future of charter schools, in the event that the Department moves forward, we ask that you confirm in writing by May 12, 2022 that, if finalized, the Department will comply with the Congressional Review Act and promptly submit the priorities to Congress.

The act enables Congress to repeal regulations by government agencies with a simple majority vote. However, this action would require a presidential signature.

Democrats currently control both chambers of Congress, which might appear to signify that such a repeal would not go through. However, Biden’s effort to limit charter schools was also criticized by folks on the left side of the aisle. It is not unthinkable that some Democratic lawmakers would vote for the repeal. Indeed, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Michael Bennett (D-CO) joined GOP senators in urging Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to make changes to the proposed provisions because they would “not prioritize the needs of students and limits high quality choices to certain families.”

Charter schools exist, in large part, to serve low-income minority students, many of whom have benefitted from these institutions. One would think the party that claims to champion the cause of marginalized racial minorities would want to make it easier for charter schools to exist, not harder. But it seems that with growing calls for school choice, the Biden administration and most Democrats have seen the writing on the wall and are going to do whatever they can to limit the ability of parents to decide where and how their children are educated.

Unfortunately for the anti-choice left, the movement is still growing. Public school attendance has dropped sharply. More parents are looking into homeschooling and private and charter schools. Hopefully, Republicans will succeed in pushing back against Biden’s war on charters. But even if they don’t, perhaps they can undo these measures once they have control of Congress. Otherwise, the Democrats who are against choice might become emboldened to take even more steps to decrease educational options for parents.


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