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07/04/22

WASHINGTON – US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on the Biden administration to roll back its new proposal that imposes harmful regulations on the Charter School Program (CSP) and makes it harder for charter schools to receive federal grants. On March 14th, the Department of Education (DOE) proposed rules that require new charter schools to show an “unmet demand for the charter school” and an “over-enrollment at existing public schools” in order to be established.

“Our country’s charter schools are under threat from the far-Left and Teachers Unions who seek to shut them down because charter school staffs are very difficult to unionize,” said Dr. Cassidy. “At a time when students are falling behind in record numbers, we need new and innovative approaches to our education system, not to just hand the keys over to the Teachers Unions.”

“Parents and students should have the ability to choose a learning environment that is best for their child… Not a school board. And certainly not bureaucrats at the Department of Education, ” continued Dr. Cassidy.

On April 6th, Cassidy led 12 colleagues in urging the Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules redefining the Charter School Program, stripping parents of their ability to choose the best school for their child.

Click here to watch Cassidy’s full speech.

Cassidy’s speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:

Mr. President,

Some students learn differently than others.

As a parent of a child with Dyslexia, it’s clear a “one-size-fits-all” education system does not work for many students.

Parents and students should have the ability to choose a learning environment that is best for their child.

Not a school board. And certainly not bureaucrats at the Department of Education.

The Charter School Program was created by Congress for that exact purpose — ensuring parents can choose what is best for their children.

Giving parents the power is crucial to allowing every student to succeed.

Unfortunately, there are groups working to undermine that choice.

The Education Department has decided to disregard what is in the best interest of the student with a new proposed rule that would add new requirements for applicants that are entirely unrelated to student outcomes.

Applicants would have to demonstrate “unmet demand for the charter school” and provide evidence of “over-enrollment at existing public schools,” to establish a charter school.

It seems as if the Department of Education is putting up arbitrary barriers to opening a charter school simply because they have a prejudice against them.

Our country’s charter schools are under threat from the far-Left and Teachers Unions who seek to shut them down because charter school staffs are very difficult to unionize.

Teachers Unions know it is much harder to spread their influence in charter schools. In some cases, it is impossible for charter school teachers to unionize.

The giant Teachers Unions see this as simple problem. They know the more charter schools there are, the less possible revenue they can take in.

So, their solution is equally as simple: take away power from parents with layers of new bureaucracy and government overreach.

We can not let that happen.

Since the pandemic began, public charter schools have seen a substantial increase in demand. They opened up sooner and stayed open in larger numbers than public schools.

We know open schools were better for our children

Parents want to send their children to a school where they feel like they have a voice — where they know their children can succeed.

Let’s be clear who this rule is written for. It’s not written to help the student. It was written to help Teachers Unions exercise more control over students’ lives.

This rule makes no mention of how any of these new restrictions will improve student achievement or help students who need it most.

At a time when students are falling behind in record numbers, we need new and innovative approaches to our education system, not to just hand the keys over to the Teachers Unions.

The truth is, these rules will give less choice to families, will hold students back, and will do more harm than good.

The Charter School Program has enjoyed bipartisan support for nearly 30 years.

Any substantial changes to the program should go through Congress and receive thoughtful consideration.

School choice in America should not be gutted by an informal committee of Teachers Union employees and Education Department officials.

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