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Public Charter School Events Receive Attention from Federal Lawmakers

Over the past two weeks, the National Alliance has coordinated several events to give federal lawmakers the opportunity to learn more about the public charter schools. Here are just a few key highlights:

Members of Congress Celebrate School Choice Week at D.C. Charter School

NLK_5442During School Choice Week, the National Alliance hosted members of Congress at DC Prep’s Edgewood Elementary Campus to celebrate National School Choice Week. Congressmen Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Tom Petri (R-WI), and Jared Polis (D-CO) toured the school’s Pre-K to 3rd grade campus and observed teacher-led classrooms, small group learning, and students engaged with tablets and computers. DC Prep CEO Emily Lawson spoke with the congressmen about the importance of federal support for charter schools. DC Prep has been named Washington, D.C.’s highest-performing network of public charter schools for the second consecutive year. Network-wide, the school serves roughly 80 percent students from low-income backgrounds.

 Photo: Emily Lawson, Rep. Paulsen, and Rep. Petri speak with a third grade student. Photo credit: Nora Kern

Senate Charter Schools Caucus Hosts Panel on Special Education in Charter Schools

NLK_5302 - CopyOn Tuesday, January 28, the Senate Charter Schools Caucus, co-chaired by Senator Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Alexander (R-TN), hosted a panel on special education in charter schools. National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees moderated the panel that featured school leaders and a parent from Bridges Public Charter School, a public charter school in Washington, D.C. Nina was joined on the panel by Paul O’Neil with the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) and Alex Medler with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. For more information about the work of the National Alliance and NCSECS, see Improving Access and Creating Exceptional Opportunities for Students with Disabilities in Public Charter School.

Photo: Keesha Blythe, Bridges Public Charter School Director of Student Support Services, explained the challenges specific to classrooms that serve children with high-level special education needs. Photo credit: Nora Kern.

National Alliance Organizes Day on Capitol Hill for State Charter School Leaders

On February 11th and 12th, 25 state leaders from charter support organizations across the country met with more than 100 U.S. senators, representatives, and their staffs to educate them about public charter schools and to advocate for increased funding for the federal Charter Schools Program. During the visits, the state leaders encouraged members of Congress to visit a public charter school in their state. To learn more about this day of advocacy and how you can ask your members of Congress to support charter schools, sign up to receive our newsletters.

Kim Kober is the federal policy coordinator at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.