The federal charter school program: The Biden Administration took a major step forward in March in proposing a new set of priorities and requirements for applicants for federal charter school grants. In addition to eliminating for-profit providers from eligibility, the new priorities encourage collaboration with local public school districts, encourage school diversity where possible, and require a “community impact analysis” to prevent urban charters from causing deeper poverty concentration and student need in the public schools they draw from. Our comments were strongly supportive of the new priorities, citing evidence of the impacts of charters in several states.
HUD’s incomplete Racial Equity Plan: Last week, HUD joined a dozen other federal agencies in issuing its “Equity Action Plan“ pursuant to last year’s racial equity executive order. HUD’s plan focuses on equity in procurement, increased funding for HUD’s fair housing office, the racial homeownership gap, and reducing homelessness. These are all important racial equity goals, but aside from briefly mentioning the planned reinstatement of the AFFH rule, the Action Plan appeared to sidestep one of HUD’s core civil rights obligations, to reduce racial segregation and promote racial integration, including in the administration of its own programs. We hope that HUD will continue to prioritize this crucial racial equity work across all of its program areas.
Right to remain: We joined an important letter led by the Shriver Center urging HUD to follow the original intent of a HUD program designed to help tenants remain in place after their building converts from public to private financing. As the letter points out, these properties are most often located in higher opportunity areas (or neighborhoods facing gentrification pressures), giving the issue an added fair housing priority.
This evening! Join the Baltimore Regional Housing Campaign for a “Conversation w/ Sheryll Cashin” (discussing her excellent recent book, White Space, Black Hood).
More housing history: The Opportunity Starts at Home campaign has put together a helpful blog post on the history of segregation in federal housing policy, and efforts to undo it (see also our 2018 timeline).