Charter Champions: 2008

U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE)

Carper has been a stalwart supporter of charter schools since the first bill he sponsored in the U.S. Senate in 2001, the Empowering Parents Act. He has consistently supported the funding needed to grow and sustain high-quality public charter schools, and was instrumental in securing passage and signing into law Delaware’s charter schools bill in 1995.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenneger has consistently fought to maintain the flexibility and accountability in California’s charter law that has allowed these innovative public schools to flourish. He expanded the charter facility grant program, which specifically targets low-income communities, and his administration created and implemented a more independent statewide charter school authorizer through the state board of education. As a result of these actions, the number of charter schools in the state has expanded by more than 50 percent since he took office.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg has advocated and supported the significant growth of public charter schools since taking over the city’s public school system in 2002. Under his and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s direction, the New York City Public Schools have given charter schools free access to district facilities, start-up funding of $15 million and provided additional support for special education students in charter schools. Mayor Bloomberg also provided critical support to raising the state-imposed cap on charter schools in New York.

Colorado State Senator Peter Groff

Groff co-sponsored an innovative law enacted in 2004 that created the Colorado Charter School Institute, which is the state’s independent charter authorizer. He has consistently fought to increase the state’s support for charter school facility costs and has helped defend the state’s charter law against various attempts to weaken it.