The National School Boards Association (NSBA), the leading advocate for public education representing more than 90,000 local school board members, is opposed to H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, which is scheduled for a floor vote this week.
Decisions regarding charter schools should rest with the state and the local school board, not federal lawmakers, NSBA contends. The legislation also fails to recognize that to protect student outcomes, charter schools should be authorized exclusively by the local school board.
“Charter schools absent school board oversight have far less accountability for student achievement than traditional public schools,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “The school board governance model protects student outcomes for the many, not the few, and strives to resolve inequities in educational delivery and service.”
Further, lawmakers must focus on adequately funding the primary system of public education instead of creating a secondary system of education that siphons off essential funding. With multiple chartering authorities, local school districts can be adversely impacted as the per-pupil expenditures are re-allocated or deducted from operational revenue essential to maintain already cash-strapped school district operations.
America’s school boards agree that charter schools are facing challenges with overwhelming operational costs, facilities in need of repair or renovation, and technical support vital toward improved teaching and learning—yet traditional public schools grapple daily with these very same challenges.
“The future of America is dependent on ready access to a high-quality education,” said Gentzel. “If Congress passes legislation to help states and local communities improve the quality of their public schools absent federal intrusion, we applaud it, but this should apply to all students equally, not just those enrolled in charter schools. The call to action the legislation raises is that our nation must create a level playing field for public charter schools and traditional public schools alike.”