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URGENT ACTION NEEDED – Federal Charter School Program


May 7, 2014

TO:  U.S. Charter School Leaders

CC: Parents, Advocates, and Friends

FROM: Kara Kerwin, President

RE:  URGENT ACTION NEEDED  – Federal Charter School Program

Tomorrow, the United States House of Representatives is slated to vote on the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, which reauthorizes both the federal Charter School Program and the Charter School Credit Enhancement Program.

As you know, we were concerned with some elements of the proposal and shared those concerns with charter leaders across the country. Last week, CER headed to Capitol Hill to offer our feedback and share the concerns of charter leaders to seek some clarity.

We met with the House Education & the Workforce Committee staff and senior counsel, as well as Members and their staff. We shared our frustrations together and agreed to promote the best, and most important parts of this proposal, which have been drowned out by advocates and opponents alike.

H.R. 10 – the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act is indeed about fostering innovation in the charter school sector. At its core, and the signature piece of the proposal is to incentivize states to encourage new schools that can meet the educational demand found in communities across the nation.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on other key and equally important components of the proposal to help replicate and expand existing high-quality charters. But H.R. 10’s sponsors recognize that those “high-quality” schools would never exist if they too weren’t once just a start-up, a “mom and pop” operation, with an innovative and bold idea to transform student learning.

H.R. 10 supports, first and foremost, “the startup of charter schools,” AND [not OR] “the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools.”

H.R. 10 also “assists charter schools in accessing credit to acquire and renovate facilities.” Which is much needed support when charter schools typically do not receive funding to cover the cost of securing and maintaining a facility while already receiving on average 36% less per pupil than their traditional public school peers who also receive both facilities funds and buildings.

The greatest area of concern is in implementation at the state level and charter leaders and proponents must be aware of what the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act does, and how it prioritizes states based on the strength of their charter law. We will be sharing that guidance with you upon its passage.

But for now, YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION is needed.

Share this memo with your parents, teachers, and community leaders.

Go to to register an opinion and learn more about how you and your school community can help in this eleventh hour.

Email or call us at 1-800-521-2118 and we can help connect you to your Members of the U.S. House of Representatives to voice your support today.

All it takes is one click or a two-minute phone call.

We’re standing by to help!