President Joe Biden, joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to the press and departs the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, en route to the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
Just as I predicted in August 2020, Joe Biden has declared war on school choice.
When he ran for president, Biden told voters in Georgetown, South Carolina, in February 2020: “I am not a charter school fan because it takes away the options available and money for public schools.”
An equally ungrammatical Biden said in Pittsburgh on Dec. 14, 2019: “And so, if I’m president, (then-Education Secretary) Betsy DeVos’ whole notion from charter schools to this are gone.”
Alas, Biden has decided that persecuting charters should be among the few promises (or threats) that he keeps.
Biden has proposed a brand new collection of flaming regulatory hoops through which charter schools must leap to score $440 million in grants that Congress recently enacted to launch and nurture such learning centers.
This is neither a frugal effort to save taxpayer money nor a federalist bid to extricate Uncle Sam from local education. Instead, Team Biden’s new rules seem handcrafted to torture charter school managers.
Biden would require that charter schools that seek this federal aid recruit partners among traditional, union-run government schools. This is like telling steak houses that their Small Business Administration loan applications must be cosigned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Biden would mandate that charters find partners among community civic groups and list their names, responsibilities, reporting patterns, and further administrative details.
Imagine that you envision opening a school with the aid of these federal grants. And then these regulations insist that you must
conduct a community impact analysis to inform the need, number, and types of charter schools to be created in a given community. The community impact analysis must describe how the plan for the proposed charter school takes into account the student demographics of the schools from which students are, or would be, drawn to attend the charter school.
The community impact analysis must also describe the steps the charter school has taken or will take to ensure that the proposed charter school would not hamper, delay, or in any manner negatively affect any desegregation efforts in the public school districts from which students are, or would be, drawn or in which the charter school is or would be located, including efforts to comply with a court order, statutory obligation, or voluntary efforts to create and maintain desegregated public schools, and that it would not otherwise increase racial or socio-economic segregation or isolation in the schools.
How do your charter school dreams feel now?
To fathom Biden’s sense of priorities, consider how often these words appear among these draft regulations:
Diverse/diversity – 24
Racial/racially – 15
Demographic – 14
Achievement – 6
Success/successful – 4
Intelligence – 0
Excellence – 0
Reading – 0
Writing – 0
Arithmetic – 0
All of this is too much even for the leftist, pro-Biden Washington Post. In an April 2 editorial, it denounced Biden’s “sneak attack” on charters and lamented that “the proposed rules would add onerous requirements that would be difficult, if not impossible, to meet and would scare off would-be applicants. Those most hurt would be single-site schools and schools led by rural, Black, and Latino educators.”
Biden and the Democrats announced these proposed rules on March 11—a Friday—when the whole world was watching Ukraine, rising gas prices, inflation, and so much else.
Notwithstanding White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s Inauguration Day claim that Biden would “bring transparency and truth back to the government,” the public comment period on these largely overlooked regulations is just 30 days, not the usual 60 to 90 days.
Consequently, the hour is late: The public comment period ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, April 13.
A website that I sponsored feeds into the Education Department’s public comments portal. Please visit BidenHatesSchoolChoice.com, follow the links, and tell Biden and his Democrat teachers union comrades what you think about their scheme to close the minds of American boys and girls who simply want to thrive at local charter schools.
The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.