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Congress Weighs Charter School Accountability

Donald Cohen

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Charter schools that receive public money should be held to the same standards as traditional public schools. That’s just common sense.

Unfortunately, many charter schools throughout the country don’t provide all students equitable access, and aren’t transparent and accountable when it comes to public funds.

The House Rules Committee has the opportunity to ensure that a major bill being voted on this week in Congress—H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act—would require that public charters meet high standards of equitable access, accountability and transparency. To do that, the Rules Committee needs to allow several important amendments to H.R. 10 to come to the floor for a vote. These amendments will help reclaim the promise of public education and require publicly funded schools to operate with integrity.

Email the House Rules Committee members and tell them that H.R. 10 needs stronger language to ensure transparency and accountability.

When public charters are held to the same standards of accountability, equitable access and transparency, all our students receive a better educational experience. But when they’re not held to those standards, student learning suffers and money is wasted.

One study of 20 large charter markets found hundreds of cases of fraud, waste and abuse totaling $100 million. This is unacceptable for publicly funded educational institutions.

The amendments we’re asking for would require financial oversight of charters, disclosure by charter schools of private contributions, transparency for information that would help parents make informed decisions about education options for their children, open and transparent board meetings, and an equal playing field for states that do regulate charter schools. We’re just asking that the bill require charters receiving public funds to be held to the same standards as traditional public schools.

Every student deserves a high-quality education in an accountable school. Let’s hold charter schools to the same standards as other public schools. Email the House Rules Committee here.

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