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Lankford Stands Against Biden Admin Rules to Limit School Choice

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today voted on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to disapprove of the Biden Administration’s new rules adding burdensome requirements to charter schools seeking funding. Lankford, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), and 20 of their colleagues introduced the resolution in September. The measure failed in a vote of 49 to 49 

“Parents around Oklahoma and the nation are ready for the government to stand up for them, not against them,” said Lankford. “Today, I voted to put kids and parents first—ahead of teachers’ unions and progressive policies. Charter schools are public schools, they give public school parents an essential option if their local school does not meet the needs of their child. Kids can’t wait for local districts to improve, they need education options now. The Biden Administration should stop trying to divide public school teachers and parents as they both work for what is best for each child.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Education announced new rules overhauling the 28-year-old, bipartisan Charter School Program (CSP). The changes would place federal, one-size-fits-all requirements on charter schools, making it difficult—if not impossible—for many of these high-quality public schools to receive funding. Despite substantial bipartisan backlash, the administration is moving ahead with its plans, which will strip families of education choice and give more power to big labor unions and bureaucrats in DC. 

Lankford gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor yesterday to highlight the problems these rules pose, especially for top-notch public charter schools like Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma and for private charter schools as well. In his speech, Lankford highlighted that among many great public and private charter schools in Oklahoma and around the nation, Harding Charter Prep ranked 115th out of 18,000 schools in a US News and World Report ranking of the top schools in the US. Lankford pointed out in his speech that at Harding, which is located in Oklahoma City, 100 percent of the students engage in Advanced Placement (AP) classes and 72 percent of students at Harding Prep are minority students, highlighting that this school is successfully serving students from diverse backgrounds with a high-level education.

Lankford remains a strong school-choice and parental rights advocate that puts parents at the helm of their kids’ education. When these new rules were under consideration, he urged the Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules redefining the Charter School Program. He stood firmly for parental rights and school choice when he called for the Senate to immediately pass his resolution to support parents having the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their kids and remain in control of whether or not they want their children exposed to “woke” ideologies at school, including Critical Race Theory and others. Democrats blocked the Senate from unanimously standing up for American parents.