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UPDATED: H.R. 2218, The Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act


Charter schools empower parents to play a more active role in their child’s education, open doors for teachers to pioneer fresh teaching methods, encourage state and local innovation, and help students escape underperforming schools. Despite high demand and an estimated 420,000 students on charter school wait lists, significant barriers to quality charter school growth exist.

  • Charter schools are public schools created through a contract with an authorized agency or local school district. The federal government supports the opening of public charter schools through competitive grants issued by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s Charter Schools Program.

  • The current Charter School Program does not support funding for the replication or expansion of high-quality charter schools. Many charter schools also have difficulty securing financing to build or rehabilitate facilities.

  • Additionally, few guidelines exist to monitor charter school quality and support successful charter schools.


As we work to improve the nation’s education system and raise student achievement levels, much can be gained from expanding access to high-quality charter schools. That’s why the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218). This bipartisan legislation has received support from several organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Chiefs for Change, the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. H.R. 2218 was approved by the House of Representatives on September 13, 2011.


  • Encourages states to support the development and expansion of charter schools. 
  • Streamlines federal Charter School Program funding to reduce administrative burdens and improves funding opportunities for the replication of successful charter models and facilities assistance. 
  • Supports an evaluation  of schools' impact on students, families, and communities, while also encouraging sharing best practices between charters and traditional public schools.
  • Offers incentives to states that use charter schools to reach out to special populations, including at-risk students.  

The Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act will facilitate the establishment of high-quality charter schools and further encourage choice, innovation and excellence in education. To read a bill summary, click here. To read full bill text as approved by the committee, click here.

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