Steel proposes legislation to support charter schools

In an effort to protect parents’ choices on where their children attend school, U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) sponsored a bill last week that would support charter schools across the country.

The congresswoman introduced the legislation in response to a proposed rule the U.S. Department of Education released on March 14 that would stifle the growth of charter schools by mandating they meet several burdensome requirements before being eligible for grant funds through the federal Charter Schools Program, Rep. Steel’s office explained.

“Parents, not teachers unions or DC bureaucrats, know what is best for their children, and we cannot allow the Administration to remove school choice as an option for countless families,” Rep. Steel said.

The proposed rules would require that a grant applicant conduct a community impact study that proves there is a need for the charter school to operate; require charter schools to create a plan for increased diversity regardless of their location, and would mandate that charter schools partner with traditional public schools for funding, according to the congresswoman’s staff.

Rep. Steel introduced the Protecting Charter Schools from Federal Overreach Act of 2022, H.R. 7525, on April 14 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA). The legislation, if enacted, would prohibit the Secretary of Education from finalizing or implementing the proposed rules relating to charter school programs and grant funding.

“The federal government has no business restricting families’ options for their children’s education,” Rep. Steel added.

More than 3 million students attended charter schools during the last school year, while the number of students who enrolled in charter schools during the first school year of the COVID-19 pandemic topped 200,000.

Rep. Steel is a member of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, where H.R. 7525 is under consideration.