H.R. 2218: Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act
H.R. 2218, the “Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act,” streamlines the administration of the Charter School Program (CSP) and expands its scope. The bill restructures the current program so that grants are delivered by and operated by a state level entity. State educational agencies (SEAs), state charter school boards and governors are eligible to apply for five year grants. While continuing to support the planning, development, and initial implementation of charter schools, H.R. 2218 also make funds available for the expansion and replication of high-quality charter schools. Ninety percent of each grant must support startup, expansion, and replication activities. State entities must use the remaining 10 percent of each grant for technical assistance and quality authorizing.
In addition to structural changes, H.R. 2218 promotes quality and improves accountability for charter schools. H.R. 2218 puts student achievement at the center of decisions on charter school quality, including decisions for renewal, replication and expansion. To ensure the expansion and replication of quality schools, applicants must demonstrate that charter schools meet the definition of “high-quality” outlined by the Secretary in the FY10 competition. The bill also includes provisions that increase access and improve services for traditionally underserved populations, including students with disabilities and English language learners. For example, charter schools must have recruitment and enrollment practices that promote inclusion, retention, and engage students with limited opportunities to attend.
H.R. 2218 would continue to authorize both the Per-Pupil Facilities Aid program and the Credit Enhancement program, with priority for the Per-Pupil Facilities Aid program. The facilities financing assistance programs and the charter school grants are authorized for a total appropriation of $300 million. Under H.R. 2218, 15 percent of the total appropriation for Title-V-B-I would be used for facilities financing assistance, up to five percent for national activities, and the remaining funds for the charter school grants.
- This reauthorization of the Charter School Program increases charter school accountability and transparency and makes critical improvements to return charter schools to their original purpose as public schools that identify and share innovative practices that lead to improvements for all public schools.
- Under this reauthorization, students with disabilities, English language learners and other traditionally underserved students will have increased opportunities to attend and succeed at high-quality charter schools.
- This bill holds charter schools accountable to their performance, their students, and their community though strengthening quality authorizing practices, providing transparency on financial audits, and putting student achievement and equal access at the center of decisions on renewal and expansion.