DFER CEO Jorge Elorza Responds to Sec. Cardona’s Testimony at FY25 Budget Hearing

Press Releases

April 16, 2024

New York, NY (April 16, 2024) – Today, DFER CEO Jorge Elorza released the following statement in response to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s testimony during the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Hearing:

“We commend Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, for his recent public support of public charter schools during the House Appropriations Committee meeting hearing on the Department’s proposed FY25 budget. We must support all federal programs that provide a diverse ecosystem of high-quality public education options that allow all parents and students to attend the school that provides them with the highest level of education and opportunity regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic status.

However, we must correct the record that demand for public charter schools has decreased. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ recent report, ‘Believing in Public Education,’ highlights that from 2022 to 2023, charter school enrollment grew by 2%, welcoming 72,241 new students, while district school enrollment remained stagnant with only a 0.02% increase. In the last four school years alone, charter schools have gained over 300,000 new students, showcasing a 9% increase.

Furthermore, the Department’s own budget justification reveals that on average, 167 public charter schools are opening each year, underscoring the continued demand for these innovative educational options.

We urge Congress to bolster its support for a diverse high-quality public school ecosystem. Specifically, we request that Congress increase crucial support for public charter schools by appropriating $500 million for FY25. The Department should also streamline application processes, reduce burdens, provide increased outreach, and offer technical assistance to educators seeking to establish public charters in their communities. This support is crucial, especially as charter schools serve only 7.5% of the nation’s public school students yet are experiencing significant growth and meeting unique educational needs.”