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Messer Statement: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute for H.R. 10

I am pleased today to offer the amendment in the nature of a substitute for H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act.

As Chair of the House School Choice Caucus, one of my top priorities is ensuring more families have access to high-quality education options. Supporting the growth of successful charter schools is an important part of this effort.

I had the good fortune last month to join Chairman Kline on his trip to visit Minnesota charter schools, where I was impressed by the energy, excitement, and progress happening in the classroom. Charter schools like Minnesota’s Global Academy and Aspen Academy – along with the many exceptional charters in my home state of Indiana – are encouraging creativity, promoting parental engagement, and giving kids a shot at a better future. I’m especially proud that Ball State University in my congressional district sponsors 32 charter schools, which makes them the largest authorizer in the state.

The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act will help more students and their families gain access to high-performing charter schools by supporting state efforts to start, expand, and replicate successful charter schools.  The amendment in the nature of a substitute will strengthen the underlying legislation by making a number of technical changes. However, there are three larger provisions included in the amendment that I’d like to highlight.

First, the amendment will address concerns about so-called “faux” charter schools, or schools that are reportedly trying to operate as charter schools but lack the autonomy necessary to be truly successful. The amendment requires schools receiving charter school funding meet the definition of a charter school, and be free from rules that inhibit flexible operation and management.

Second, the amendment clarifies that schools working to replicate a high-quality charter school model can do so under a new charter, if the state so requires. This provision is designed to ensure the legislation won’t interfere with current state requirements for charter schools to operate under new charters, even if a school is a replication of a high-quality charter school model.

The third and final change in the amendment that I’d like to mention is a provision that directs states to assist students and their families in identifying other school options in their area, should their current charter school close. No child should be trapped in a failing school, and this language will help ensure families have the resources they need when choosing a better school for their children.

For parents across the country, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act could be the key to a brighter future for their children. I strongly encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting the amendment in the nature of a substitute and the underlying legislation.


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