One Goal

High-Quality Public Education

News & Analysis

The Latest

Please Support the Proposed USDOE Rule Changes for the Federal Charter Schools Program

March 30, 2022

Public Education Partners (PEP) supports the proposed rules requiring that charter schools will not be affiliated with for-profit companies and that community impact studies will be required to inform the need, number, and types of charter schools to be created in a given community. The community impact study must describe how the plan for the proposed charter school takes into account the student demographics of the schools from which students would be drawn to attend the charter school. The community impact analysis must also describe the steps the charter school will take to ensure that the proposed charter school would not hamper, delay, or in any manner negatively affect any desegregation efforts in the public school districts from which students are drawn or in which the charter school is located.

The PEP board believes that the proposed rule changes should be absolute priorities. If charter schools must continue to exist as education options in Ohio, they should only operate with community input that’s coordinated with our public school districts.

PEP strongly supports the requirement for impact analysis. When the USDOE and the states decide who should get these grants, they absolutely should know the impact on segregation in the community. They should also know whether the charter school is welcoming a representative share of students with disabilities and students who are English language learners.

PEP strongly agrees with not allowing charters run by for-profit companies to get Charter School Program (CSP) funds. It is a disgrace how big for-profits run charter schools not in the interest of kids, but rather in their own financial interests.

Right now, in Ohio, nearly half of the charter schools are piggy banks for the for-profit corporations that run them. Two of the big for-profit chains, Accel and National Heritage Academies, run charters with sweep contracts. The non-profit schools are facades for the for-profit chains.

PEP wants the USDOE to keep its proposed regulations that ban schools run by for-profits from getting federal start-up and expansion funds. And don’t forget they have related corporations. Let’s close all of the loopholes and protect schools from profiteers.

Read this and this for more details.

Use the COMMENT button here to show YOUR approval for the proposed rule changes. If you need help with the message, here is some suggested commentary:

I am writing to express my strong support for the proposed rules for the Federal Charter Schools Program. There has been waste, fraud, and abuse associated with the program for far too long; I wish the proposed rules were even stronger.

As an Ohio resident, I support the proposed rules requiring that charter schools will not be affiliated with for-profit companies and that community impact studies will be required, and I believe those rule changes should be absolute priorities. If charter schools must continue to exist as education options in Ohio, may they only operate with community input that’s coordinated with our public school districts.

The Network for Public Education has a petition for you to sign as well.

Please send your comments and before April 13, 2022.

Keep reading

Get Involved

Upcoming Events

Our partners are hosting events all across Ohio. Attending an event is a great way to find out what’s happening in your community to protect public education.

Select an event on the map or search below.

Voices

Dawn’s Story

I am a public school teacher in Oberlin, Ohio. As I do year after year, I had my fifth-graders write editorials for the Newspaper in Education contest sponsored by our local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper. And as I always do, I gave the students free choice to choose their topics and to come up with their own polished submissions.

When so many of them started writing about testing, I freaked out a little because prior to this month’s AIR testing, I had rarely even mentioned the topic to them, refusing to stress them out about the upcoming three weeks of testing. I sent some of their work to our principal with a note that said, in so many words, “Holy smokes, look at what these kids are saying. I promise that I haven’t been stressing them out about these tests!” She wrote back saying she thought their submissions sounded just fine.

I’m so thankful to have a principal who values our students’ feelings.

When I talked to the kids about the testing, I told them how surprised I was by their topic choices and asked why they were feeling so worried. After all, I told them, I had barely mentioned the topic and told them I’d be the last person to put pressure on them or try to stress them out. One student told me, “You are working with the wrong kids, Mrs. Randall. You don’t have to stress us out. We stress ourselves out enough for all of us.”

They then started sharing stories about last year’s PARCC test, when they tested on and off from February through May when they were in 4th-grade. They shared about how scared they were that they wouldn’t pass the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee reading test the year before that and then fail the entire year. Ohio legislation is insane.

But worst of all, one student said, “This is the third new kind of test we’ve had in three years. When will Ohio get this right?”

This same student was the one who took it upon himself to go to the Ohio Department of Education website on his Chromebook and research his topic and find out that some schools were able to still do paper/pencil tests, and he was pretty upset that he couldn’t.

I sent a note to the newspaper staff member about all their submissions and she told me to please not censor their writing, but to send it all in. She wanted to see it all.

Today, I opened the newspaper supplement to these two student submissions ruling a whole spread. Apparently, the judges heard them loud and clear and felt their words needed to be heard by our community.

All this high-stakes testing is really starting to take a toll on kids. When will our legislature hear and care about their voices?

Each child in my class is the SAME child who has been forced to sit through high-stakes testing year after year after year. When will enough be enough?

Read more