National School Choice Week: Celebrate Recent Congressional Support!

With 16,140 events occurring around the nation for National School Choice Week January 24-30, 2016, you may want to participate in your state’s events with local parents, teachers and students.  Find an event near you here.

What better time than now to celebrate passage at year-end by the U.S. Congress of significant funding boosts for charter schools across the nation? The omnibus education appropriations bill now signed by President Obama included a nearly 32% ($80 million) funding increase for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) for fiscal year 2016. The $80 million increase brings total funding for the CSP to $333.1 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. In total, the federal CSP has grown more than $117 million under the tenure of President Barack Obama, with bipartisan support from the Congress. Too bad the President didn’t mention that in his State of the Union address.

The additional funding will provide more educational opportunities for students and families and will reduce charter school wait lists that currently include nearly one million student names nationwide.

A second bill, called “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes” (PATH) Act of 2015, also benefits charter public schools and teachers. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, this bill includes:

  • A permanent extension of the above-the-line deduction for eligible expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers. Beginning in 2016, the deduction cap of $250 will be indexed to inflation and include professional development expenses.
  • Authorization to allocate $3.5 billion of New Markets Tax Credits for each year from 2015 through 2019. New Markets Tax Credits are a great help to finance construction of charter public schools.


All of this was passed by a bipartisan coalition of our nation’s policymakers. Now that’s something to celebrate during National School Choice Week!

However, seven states can’t access these funds because they do not yet have a charter school law. Check out Thursday’s blogpost for promising developments in two of them.