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ERIC Number: ED535992
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 27
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Federal Investment in Charter Schools: A Proposal for Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Lazarin, Melissa
Center for American Progress
The charter school landscape is dramatically different today compared to when the federal government first forayed into the field in 1994. That year it established the Charter School Program as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. The Charter School Program, which is designed to support the startup of new public charter schools, was established at a time when only seven states had charter school laws on the books and 60 charter schools were in operation. Today, there are more than 5,000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia, and the long waiting lists indicate that there is a demand for many more charters. Meanwhile, concerns over quality, accountability, and access continue to be hot-button issues for the charter sector. The long overdue ESEA reauthorization presents an opportunity to take stock of the small but growing and changing role of charter schools in American education. The Obama administration has recently offered states flexibility around the current law while Congress continues to debate revising ESEA. The new flexibility does not address charter schools. So ESEA remains the main vehicle for addressing charter schools in the country. This paper outlines some of the key issues facing the charter sector at this important juncture. Congress and other policymakers should bear these issues in mind as they determine how best to support the next generation of effective charter schools. Namely, Congress should: (1) Ensure charter schools are held to the same accountability standards as traditional public schools and support the creation and expansion of high-quality charters that serve the needs of all students; (2) Ensure equitable funding for charter schools; (3) Strengthen charter authorizing practices; (4) Encourage states to lift caps on the development of high-quality charter schools; (5) Prioritize states that implement smart effective quality control policies for federal competitive dollars; and (6) Reward states and districts that engage high-quality charters in turning around their chronically underperforming schools. The effectiveness of charter schools: What does the research say? is appended. (Contains 39 endnotes.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; Race to the Top