WASHINGTON, D.C. — In tonight’s State of the Union address, the President discussed a number of issues of importance to the students and families served by the public charter school movement. President Trump said that an infrastructure bill will be among his Administration’s top priorities in 2018. However, we are concerned that the Administration’s proposal, leaked in recent days, does not include funding to reduce the costs of acquiring, renovating and expanding school facilities for either public charter schools or district-operated schools. Modernizing America’s public schools could be a lasting legacy for this President and his Administration given their focus and interest in expanding school choice.
Access to facilities and funding is a major concern for charter schools, which, unlike their district-operated counterparts, don’t receive funding for buildings or needed site improvements from most state and local governments. Without equitable access to public buildings and funding, many charter schools are forced to operate in facilities that were never designed to be schools—and financing these facilities often requires charter schools to divert funding that would be better spent on curriculum, teachers and classroom instruction. This is particularly problematic because most charter schools already receive lower per-pupil allocations than district-run schools.
Facilities funding challenges are among the biggest obstacles to providing more students access to the high-quality public charter schools they deserve. Given the Administration’s support for school choice, and the growing demand for public charter schools from parents, the federal government has an essential role to play in helping charter schools access facilities and secure the resources they need to grow. We urge the White House to include charter schools in the infrastructure proposal it sends to Congress. Families shouldn’t have to choose between high-quality facilities and a high-quality education when they choose their child’s public school.
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org