For Immediate Release
Posted: April 18, 2022

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Governor Chris Sununu Joins 17 Other Governors in Opposing Federal Rule on Charter Schools

Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu joined 17 other governors in writing to United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona expressing their opposition to new mandates altering the U.S. Department of Education Charter School Program (CSP) and asking the Biden Administration to reconsider and allow public comment to remain open.

Governors joining Governor Chris Sununu in signing this letter include Governors Bill Lee (TN), Kay Ivey (AL), Mike Dunleavy (AK), Doug Ducey (AZ), Asa Hutchinson (AR), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Eric Holcomb (IN), Kim Reynolds (IA), Larry Hogan (MD), Charlie Baker (MA), Tate Reeves (MS), Mike Parson (MO), Pete Ricketts (NE), Mike DeWine (OH), Kevin Stitt (OK), and Greg Abbott (TX).

A copy of the letter can be read here.

Excerpts of the letter are included below:

"We oppose any attempts by the federal government to act as a national charter school board, impose a top-down and one-size-fits-all approach, and undermine the authority of parents to choose the educational option best for their child. Specifically, we take issue with both the substance and process of the proposed rule, and therefore, we ask that the comment period be extended, the community impact analysis requirement be removed, and implementation be delayed by one year.

"Charter schools are public schools, and many of the 3.5 million American students enrolled in charter schools are educated through the public education system in our states.  Charter school leaders are essential partners in offering high-quality options that deliver outcomes for students and provide competition to lift academic achievement in nearby schools.

...

"The Administration seeks to impose a new standard that will require charters to demonstrate that the relevant school district is 'over-enrolled.' By focusing on the number of seats, rather than the number of 'high-quality' seats, the new standard fails to consider that a driving force in a parent’s decision is the desire for their child to attend a school that meets their child’s unique needs.

...

"It is a certainty that the expansion of such burdensome regulations will make it more difficult—if not impossible—for independent and smaller charter schools to access federal funds.  Accordingly, we ask that the Administration:

  1. Extend the unprecedentedly short comment period to reflect the magnitude of changes proposed and solicit meaningful public comment;
  2. Remove all provisions that limit local control, including the new requirement for a community impact analysis, which would mandate school districts be over-enrolled and put federal officials in the place of local parents in determining the need for high-quality choices; and
  3. Delay any changes to the program to the next fiscal year so that the current program can be administered under rules that are long-standing and well understood by applicants."