Bill includes several key provisions to improve access to charter schools
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — An education bill passed by the House this could expand access to charter schools. Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218) for the first time gives states access to resources to replicate successful charter schools that have increased student achievement. The measure includes several key provisions of Colorado Rep. Polis’ bipartisan All Students Achieving through Reform (All-STAR) Act (H.R. 1525), first introduced in 2009.
“With provisions of the All-STAR Act as its foundation, this bill will take the very best practices of America’s charter schools and bring them to additional communities across America so that all students can achieve,” Polis said. “This bill will provide hope and opportunity to tens of thousands of additional children at new or expanded charter schools. The bill is proof that we can make bipartisan progress on education reform this year if we’re all willing to work together for the sake of America’s students.”
During consideration of the bill, the House adopted a Polis authored amendment that would promote innovation and quality by prioritizing alternative charter school authorizing agencies, in addition to local education agencies.The House also accepted a bipartisan amendment offered by Polis and Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) that would provide funding to allow successful charter schools to expand more rapidly.
Other provision in the bill would:
• Improve state monitoring of charter schools by prioritizing funding for entities that have established policies that encourage success and that detail academic performance:
• Require strategic plans for authorizing or approving public charter schools;
• Condition charter school expansion and replication funding on the use of student outcome data, such as high school graduation rates and student assessment growth;
• Ensure that charter schools include priorities and plans for serving underserved students, including students with disabilities and students who are English language learners;
• Encourage blended or hybrid online charter school models;
• Insist that charter schools have strong financial plans, financial controls and audit requirements;
• Strengthen charter school reporting and accountability requirements to ensure student achievement; and,
• Promote quality school meals and transportation services for charter school students.