Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Federal Programs and Their Impact on Charter Schools

Vic Klatt, Ursula Wright and Lisa Grover presented a workshop on federal programs at the 2012 National Charter School Conference.

Here are a few points that were made:
* There is complete gridlock in Washington. The ESEA was originally intended for reauthorization in 2007, but it still hasn't been done. The House put the ESEA in five chunks; only one passed and that includes the Charter School Program.
* NCLB is totally done. AYP is done. Teacher accountability is on the rise and there is general support for charter schools.
* The new waivers policy under U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is huge. In essence, every state with waivers has their own ESEA in 2-3 year segments. Waiver requests contains lots of jargon and confusing language; it's possible the ED doesn't even know what's in some of the approved requests.
* It will probably hold off until after the November elections, but there is a "fiscal Armageddon" coming between election day and January when the newly-elected members of Congress are seated. There will be an automatic 9% cut and cuts to military spending; the debt limit and unemployment tax needs to be addressed; and Bush tax cuts are still in place but will be revisited.
* Obama and Romney are fairly similar on education issues.
* There was no competition for SEAs to get CSP money in 2012 and probably won't be again in 2013. In 2010 funds were overcommitted and so states awarded in that year that are on 5 year grant cycles are probably the only states that are safe. The CSP grant is much more competitive.