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Today, twenty-five Republicans in both the U.S. Senate and House Education committees told U.S. Secretary of Education to kill the “supplement not supplant” regulation that has drawn the ire of the majority of the teaching profession in America. In a nutshell, this regulation would completely change the way Title I funds are disbursed to schools, would cause severe damage to the teaching profession, and would grant Title I funds to schools that are not Title I schools. I wish some Democrat members of these committees would speak up!
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: Press Office|
|November 7, 2016||(202) 226-9440|
The regulatory proposal would change the longstanding requirement that prevents school districts from using federal Title I funds as a replacement for state and local funds in low-income schools.
In comments submitted to Education Secretary John King, the members said the rule “draws broad and inaccurate conclusions about what Congress intended when amending the [‘supplement not supplant’] provision that are not supported by the statutory text and violate clear and unambiguous limitations on the Secretary’s authority.”
The members said certain provisions of the rule are “unlawful, unnecessary and could result in harmful consequences to [local educational agencies], schools, teachers, and students.”
You don’t have to click on the link, you can read the entire letter below:
We strongly oppose the inclusion of this requirement, which is not authorized by the statute. The Department bases this proposal on a desire “to provide transparency.” (No further justification is provided in the NPRM.) We, too, support greater transparency, regarding both charter and non-charter schools, but this requirement would result in the reporting of misleading data. Moreover, the proposed requirement appears to be based on the premise that charter schools should look the “same” as district public schools in close proximity, when by definition charter schools are open enrollment. Lastly, the proposed requirement that is not in the statute, and would not equally apply to all public schools – only charter schools would be included.
The National Association for Public Charter Schools gave a very long public comment for the draft regulations put forth by the United States Department of Education and Secretary John King. Even they aren’t happy with parts of these regulations. Many felt the Every Student Succeeds Act gave gifts to the charters, but apparently the charters do not like some of these regulations.
The most important question is not who is enrolled in a charter school; it is whether all students and families who may wish to enroll have the opportunity to enroll – only then is the parent’s choice a meaningful one. The comparison data that the Department is asking for would not reflect this factor because the data would confuse and conflate the decision to enroll with the opportunity to enroll. As such, comparison data may be one indicator of meaningful access but comparison data are not the correct, best or only frame with which to evaluate equity.
I find some of their statements very ironic. Especially for some charter schools in Delaware where the opportunity to enroll is buried in selective enrollment preferences and factors that lead to very low populations of at-risk students: African-Americans, students with disabilities, and English Language learners. So much so that the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights in December, 2014.
Like some charters in Delaware, this collection of America’s largest charter school organizations and franchises want to cherry-pick through the regulations to insert additional language in the Every Student Succeeds Act. This is the one that disturbs me the most:
We recommend that the Department revise proposed section 200.24(d)(2), by adding a new clause (iii) reading as follows:
“(iii) Using funds that it reserves under section 1003(a), directly provide for the creation of new, replicated, or expanded charter schools to serve students enrolled in schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement, and other students in the local community, provided that:
“(A) The SEA has the authority to take such an action under State law or, if the SEA does not have that authority, the SEA has the LEA’s approval to use the funds in this manner; and
“(B) Such charter schools will be established and operated by non-profit entities with a demonstrated record of success (particularly in serving students from communities similar to those that would be served by the new charter schools), which the State shall determine through a rigorous review process.”
This language would be consistent with other provisions of the proposed regulations that support the concept of making charter school options available to students who would otherwise be enrolled in low-performing schools. It would take a different approach than just authorizing conversions, by making it possible for students enrolled in comprehensive support and improvement schools (as well as other students in the neighborhood or local community) to have the opportunity to transfer to a charter school run by a highly successful operator. We emphasize that the language would allow an SEA to use section 1003 funds for this purpose with the approval of the affected LEA, unless state law gives the SEA the authority to take such an action without LEA approval. (It would thus be somewhat parallel to the language currently in section 200.24(d)(2) allowing the SEA, with the LEA’s concurrence to provide school improvement activities through external partners). We strongly recommend that the Department adopt this recommendation.
I have no doubt you strongly recommend the Department inserts this into the law. We have yet to see, based on equal demographics, that charter schools do better than traditional public school districts. There are many charter schools that seem to work merely as rigor universities for high achievement on state assessments, but that is not a true barometer for student success which has been proven time and time again.
To read the rest about what the charters want and ALL the organizations and charters that signed this comment, read the entire document below:
***UPDATED*** Ignore the below comments I made based on this public notice. School Improvement Grants, otherwise known as SIG funds, are grants given to schools that may or may already be in a priority school status. The waiver Penny Schwinn is requesting is to have the availability of these funds extended from 2016 until 2020. Schools actually request these, as can be seen on this list of schools that have applied for SIG funds in the past. Yes, I do correct mistakes!
I just found this on the DOE website while trying to find other information:
Notice is hereby given, that the Delaware Department of Education (Department) has posted the following for comment:
An application for Title I, 1003(g) School Improvement Grant funds, which can be found here, will be submitted to the US Department of Education on April 15, 2015. The application will include the waiver shown below. The Delaware Department of Education will accept comment on this request through May 15, 2015. All comments received on the request will be forwarded to the US Department of Education through May 15, 2015.
The State requests the following waiver:
- In order to extend the period of availability beyond September 30, 2016, waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of FY 2014 school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2020.
Public comment regarding the waiver request mentioned above can be submitted to: Penny Schwinn, Chief Accountability and Performance Officer, Accountability, Assessment, Performance Management and Evaluation, Telephone (302) 735-4090; FAX: (302) 739-3092; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If I were a parent or educator in any low-income school that receives Title I funding, I would send an email of opposition to Penny Schwinn as soon as possible. Because this is not about the existing priority schools but using funds to create new ones. This was at the very bottom of Schwinn’s link to the application:
A “new award” is defined as an award of SIG funds to an LEA for a school that the LEA was not previously approved to serve with SIG funds in the school year for which funds are being awarded—in this case, the 2015–2016 school year. New awards may be made with the FY 2014 funds or any remaining SIG funds not already committed to grants made in earlier competitions.