Owens Advocates for Utah Charter Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) co-signed a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on a proposed rule change to the Charter Schools Program that would limit school choice access for families. The letter was cosigned by Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (NC-05) and 21 other Members of Congress.

On March 14 the Department of Education published a Notice of Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria (NPP) for programs under the Charter Schools Program in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The proposal places new requirements and regulations on the opening and operation of charter schools which would threaten their ability to provide alternative education options for families and their long-term viability.

“The NPP goes beyond your statutory authority to add or change requirements under the law. The NPP makes the application process more complicated and burdensome and will thus limit the growth of charter schools. Charter schools provide a free, public education to families who choose to enroll in these schools. Limiting the growth of these institutions will harm students seeking learning options beyond the traditional public school system, which is beholden to teachers’ unions rather than to parents and students,” the Representatives wrote.

“The federal program is meant to increase the number of charter schools, expand opportunities for children with special needs and other traditionally underserved students, and increase schools’ accountability. The NPP, if implemented as proposed, would lead to fewer state applications, fewer schools eligible for subgrants, and weakened school operations,” the Representatives wrote.

 “When the federal government oversteps its authority and sets more regulations for how these schools should interact with the community – which is exactly what the NPP does – the process of opening a charter school is unnecessarily and unjustly complicated. When the federal government takes away the locally responsive aspect of charter schools, it undermines the value and purpose of charter schools and hurts the students those schools exist to serve,” the Representatives concluded.

The full letter is available here.

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