H.R. 2218, which was introduced by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, was approved last Wednesday by a vote of 34-5 by the Education and Workforce Committee. The bill is the second bill proposed by the Republicans to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind. The bill would amend the charter school program which authorizes funding for states to plan and start up charter schools. H.R. 2218 would authorize $330 million for Fiscal Year 2012 and for each of the next 5 years to states to award grants for replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools.
The bill includes measures designed to hold charter school accountable for educating all children with disabilities. Most children with disabilities who attend charters have learning disabilities and disabilities such as attention deficit disorder. Charters typically have not educated children with more significant disabilities.
The first bill to amend ESEA was passed by the committee last month and would cut half of the current Department of Education programs.
The Senate continues working on a comprehensive overhaul of the law. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, had said the Committee would mark up a bill after the spring recess but he has not yet released legislation.