We see charters as an important part of a much broader effort to revitalize public education in America. Already, in cities such as New York, Denver, St. Louis and Houston, we see ourselves as partners, not competitors, with traditional school districts. These partnerships, we hope, will only grow in the future.But to make that broader vision work, we need federal support for all schools, for all kids, not just kids in “choice” schools.
We support and appreciate an increase in federal funding for charter schools. All families deserve the opportunity to choose a school that best meets the needs of their children. However, we are deeply concerned about proposed cuts to other important education programs, as charter schools are part of — not a substitute for — a strong public education system. Charter schools cannot succeed without strong teachers and a seamless, affordable path to college for their graduates. Unfortunately, this proposed budget harms programs that are important for students, teachers, and public education. We look forward to working with Congress to finds ways to support both charter schools and all of public education.
President Trump demonstrated that he is a strong supporter of charter public schools. The charter school movement is grateful for the president’s support, and we applaud his commitment to providing critically needed funding for the Charter Schools Program (CSP). This funding will allow more high-quality charter schools to open, expand, and replicate — and will help finance facilities for charter schools — so that more students have access to the great education they deserve.
The way the Trump administration is spinning this combination of funding cuts and increases — and the way nearly every news outlet is reporting them — is that there is some sort of strategically important balance between funding programs for poor kids versus “school choice” schemes, as if the two are equivalents and just different means to the same ends. Nothing could be further from the truth. . . . The message being spun out of Trump’s education budget is that it takes money away from those awful “adult interests” — like, you know, teachers to actually teach the students and buildings so students have somewhere to go after school to play sports, get tutored, or engage in music and art projects — to steer money to “the kids” who will get a meager sum of money to search for learning opportunities in an education system that is increasingly bereft of teachers and buildings.Even competent education reporters are falling for this spin, writing that education policy is experiencing a “sea change in focus from fixing the failing schools to helping the students in the failing schools.”