New York, N.Y. (June 5, 2023) — Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jorge Elorza released the following statement in response to today’s decision by the Oklahoma Virtual Charter School Board to approve the first sectarian charter school in the country:
“Today’s decision by the Oklahoma Virtual Charter School Board to approve a sectarian charter school is disappointing, but we cannot let this anomaly detract from the vital role that public charter schools play for millions of students within our nation’s public school system.
At DFER, we will continue to support public charter schools that are nonsectarian, tuition-free, have fair and open admissions processes, are held to the same federal accountability standards as traditional public schools, and that abide by federal civil rights protections. To be clear, any school not meeting these criteria is not a public charter school and should not be eligible for federal funding under the Charter Schools Program.
DFER’s north star has always been advancing evidence-based policies that enable the American Dream for all students. For the past 30 years, public charter schools have delivered exceptional results educating Black, Brown and low-income kids throughout the country, and they’ve shown that a great public school education is not reserved for only the affluent. This is why support for high-performing charter schools among low-income Black and Brown families consistently polls extraordinarily high. Put simply, low-income Black and Brown families have seen great public charter schools and they want more of them.
We urge Democrats to stand against public dollars being used to support religious instruction, and to also continue protecting and expanding high quality public charter schools that are providing an excellent education to students across our nation.”