House to consider charter school bill

The House will consider legislation next week to expand access to charter school funding.

The bipartisan legislation written by House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and the panel's top Democrat, George Miller of California, would replace the current two federal charter school grant programs with one that would award grants to state entities, such as charter school boards and local agencies. 

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The state grants would be used for expanding and replicating high-performing charter schools. At the federal level, the secretary of Education would be authorized to maintain a grant competition for charter schools that did not win state grants. 

The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved the legislation on a 36-3 vote in April. All three "no" votes were from Democrats.

The issue of school choice has long been championed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as a means of limiting potential federal overreach. 

And although the bill is sponsored by Miller, one of the most liberal members of the House, it may not win the backing of all of his colleagues. Some Democrats oppose charter schools because teachers unions, a key party supporter, can consequently have less authority.  

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