Education Watch: Federal charter school funding update: worst regulations removed, redundancy remains

Jul 14, 2022 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Quinton Klabon

Biden’s new charter school regulations are death by 1,000 cuts. Though not lethal by themselves, the future buildup of similar rules would get between new, high-quality schools and the kids who need them.   – Quinton Klabon, IRG Senior Research Director

  • What happened last time? IRG publicly argued against new rules for the Charter School Program, the main federal program for starting up and expanding charter schools. The Biden administration proposal deterred applicants by duplicating state requirements at the federal level. It also penalized schools for opening in middle-class suburban areas or in shrinking urban and rural districts. Wisconsin is halfway through its current $95 million grant, meaning these negative rules would affect our next application. Anti-charter folks loved it.


  • What happened now? Thanks to IRG and thousands of others, the final rule set lets charters open anywhere, adding a new, one-time public meeting requirement instead. Charters can argue that they are needed to offer higher school quality or specialized programs, not just to take non-existent overflow.


  • What should be done? However, the Department of Education will still prefer charter-district collaboration, giving unions veto power over innovation. Worse, Wisconsin schools will have to jump through the same hoops twice, once for Madison and once more for Washington. Those requirements should disappear as soon as voters make it possible.