Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a comment letter to the Department of Education expressing concern over its proposed rule regarding the charter school programs (CSP) grants, which sends a hostile message to charter schools and supporters of educational freedom.

In the letter, Republican Leader Foxx writes that the proposed rule would: “…prevent the CSP from achieving the primary purpose of the program: to provide educational opportunities for students, particularly traditionally underserved students.”

She continues: “In addition to the legal concerns, there are ample policy concerns to justify rescinding this notice. Taken as a whole, these priorities are intended to limit severely the ability of state and local authorities to utilize the appropriated money for these programs to faithfully meet the intended purposes of the law…”

The letter concludes: “This notice makes non-elected U.S. Department of Education employees the arbiters of the final requirements grantees must adhere to in order to receive funding. These priorities exceed the Secretary’s authority, are overly broad and vague, and are counter to the purpose of the federal grant program. The law as written was developed with thoughtful consultation with stakeholders, Members of Congress, their constituents, and the administration. The requirements in the law were carefully debated and determined. The Secretary should rescind these priorities and implement the grant programs as negotiated on a bipartisan basis by Congress and agreed to by the President.”

Read the full letter here.

BACKGROUND: In March 2022, the Biden administration unveiled a new list of proposed requirements to be incorporated into the bipartisan CSP grants. These requirements would levy a significant—if not insurmountable—regulatory burden on program applicants and provide the Secretary of Education with much greater control over charter schools. Establishing the Department of Education as the gatekeeper to charter schools–which are community-oriented alternatives to traditional government-run schools–undermines the foundational principle of charter schools.

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