House opens debate on charter school reform bill

The House on Thursday evening began debate of a bipartisan bill to overhaul access to charter school funding.

Votes on amendments and final passage of the measure, H.R. 10, will be held over until Friday. 

ADVERTISEMENT
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. George Miller (Calif.), negotiated a bill to consolidate the two federal charter school programs into one. The program would award grants to state entities like charter school boards.

Kline said the measure would help give Americans more options for their education and improve the quality of charter schools, which receive public funding but operate independently.

"The federal charter school program is need of key reforms to enhance access to quality education," Kline said. "We must present charter schools as an alternative to failing public schools."

Republicans have long touted charter schools as a way to limit the federal government's role in education.

"H.R. 10 will ensure that a student's zip code does not determine the quality of their education," said Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.). "Charter schools are not tied down by a lot of red tape and outdated traditions."

Miller also said the bill would help present charter schools as an alternative to public education.

"This is about increasing the equality, equity and transparency in the charter sector," Miller said.