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Statement on the Trump Administration's FY21 Budget Proposal


February 12, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Center for Education Reform (CER) released the following statement today by founder and CEO Jeanne Allen regarding the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 released yesterday by the Trump Administration.

“The proposed Education Department budget reflects a misconception of the ‘power’ of local control and the actual manner in which the public charter school grant program operates. It argues that through its move to ‘block grant’ charter school funds alongside many unrelated, supplemental programs that it is returning local control to states.

“There is no question that governors should have control over how education funds are spent in their respective states. But it is state education departments — often without accountability even under the most progressive of governors — that control those funds and tend to disseminate them to vested interests over student interests. Giving those institutions block grants for a concept that is designed to bypass layers of bureaucracy just increases their power. Conversely, charter schools value the most local of interest groups — parents, students, and the educators who sign up to lead them, on contract, and with accountability for results.

“The charter school program has enjoyed since its inception broad, bipartisan support nationally and in the states. That’s because the program’s funding incentivizes states to apply and create the programs that best meet their needs, but within specific guidelines that require those funds to be spent in the service of expanded charter opportunities for students. Changing that will remove the incentive and thus slow charter expansion.

“Ironically, this same budget proposal creates a new education freedom scholarship which we have applauded, and which is very similar in purpose to the charter grant program, intended to stimulate and foster educational options in states. We urge the Administration to retain the charter school program, which has helped millions of traditionally underserved students achieve great success at the most local of levels.”


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