Charter Champions: 2011

U.S. Representative Howard P. McKeon (CA)

As the former chairperson and ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, McKeon ushered in a bill to improve and reauthorize the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP), an essential piece of legislation for helping new charter schools open. This bill was the first to focus on replication and expansion of the best charter school models. McKeon has continued to show his support for annual increases in appropriations for the CSP.

New Mexico Senator Mark Boitano

New Mexico Senator Mark Boitano has demonstrated steadfast support for public charter schools during his 11 years in the legislature. In particular, his sponsorship of the 1999 Charter Schools Act and leadership in strengthening it in 2006 continues to open up countless new public education opportunities for children, teachers and principals throughout New Mexico.

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist

Gist has led Rhode Island policymakers to partially lift the state cap on charter schools, and strengthen charter school accountability. Gist also pushed legislators to approve a school financing formula, which improved funding equity for all public schools including charters.

St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay (D)

Slay is a vocal advocate for increasing the presence of high-quality public charter schools in St. Louis. His work to attract high-quality charter operators to St. Louis – and support them during the application development and approval process – is a national example of how mayors can work directly to improve their cities’ public education offerings.