House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.


Fact Sheet

June 28, 2007

The Charter School Program Enhancement Act

Charter schools are public schools created by teachers, parents, and other community stakeholders to educate students of all backgrounds and educational abilities.  In exchange for greater accountability for student achievement, these schools are free from many local and state regulations.  This flexibility and accountability has allowed individuals with non-traditional backgrounds to create high-achievement cultures that have made charter schools top academic performers – often in some of the nation’s largest cities.  Because of this unique approach to education, demand for these schools has been remarkable.  Just one charter school existed in the 1992-93 school year, while more than 4,000 schools serving over one million students operated during the 2006-07 academic year.

Unfortunately, of the 40 states that have passed charter school laws, 25 of them and the District of Columbia have placed a cap on charter school growth.  Instead of stifling growth, states should focus on providing the resources, oversight, and accountability that helps charter schools thrive.  With that in mind, House Education and Labor Committee Republicans, led by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), have introduced the Charter School Program Enhancement Act.

As Congress prepares to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, this measure would increase the public’s awareness of successful charter schools and the innovations those schools may have utilized in attaining that success.  In addition, it will also direct more funds to states that do not place a cap on new charter schools in an effort to influence state legislatures with cap law to re-evaluate and lift their restrictions.  Specifically, the Charter School Program Enhancement Act would:

  • Limit applications for federal charter school grants from states that have charter school cap laws, unless the state can demonstrate that such laws do not limit growth.  This is meant to encourage states to re-evaluate and lift caps placed on new charter schools;
  • Create a new charter school grant program for states, local school districts, authorized public chartering agencies, non-profit organizations, or a consortium of charter schools designed to increase the number of high-quality charter schools nationally; and
  • Call for an annual review and evaluation of any charter school receiving grant funds.

Studies indicate that charter schools deliver promising results for student achievement. The Charter School Program Enhancement Act would aim more federal dollars to states that embrace and promote these schools, ensuring that they may continue to serve even more students for years to come.