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U.S. Rep. McKeon and Mayor Villaraigosa Named “Champions for Charters” by National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) recognizes U.S. Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for their commitment to promoting high-quality charter schools. Annually, the Champions for Charters awards recognize public officials for leading a major public charter issue or initiative, serving as a highly visible public charter school advocate, and consistently supporting charters as a high-quality public school choice option.  The honorees are announced during National Charter Schools Week, which runs May 1-7.

“Charter schools are delivering high-quality, public education options for children who may otherwise be trapped in chronically failing schools, and these unique schools are made possible through support from policymakers, ” said Peter C. Groff, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “On behalf of the 1.6 million families with children enrolled in charter schools, we thank Representative McKeon and Mayor Villaraigosa for their courage and commitment to high-quality public charter schools.”

As the former chairperson and ranking member of the House Education and Labor 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.

Mayor Villaraigosa courageously backed charter school operators in their efforts to take over new and low-performing campuses in Los Angeles. Villaraigosa has also led efforts to give charter schools access to bond agreements and facilities throughout the city.

“We congratulate Mayor Villaraigosa and Rep. McKeon, whose support for charter schools and education reform truly embodies the term ‘charter champion.’  We are very appreciative of the Mayor’s commitment to expand charter schools, increase accountability, and improve charter-district relationships in order to ensure that every family and student in Los Angeles has the choice to attend a school that will deliver on its promise of a quality education,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the CCSA.  “Rep. McKeon has also demonstrated long-term support for charter schools at the federal level by supporting the Charter Schools Program and standing up for families across the country. Our charter school sector in California would not be the success it is without the support of these two charter champions.”

Also receiving the honor this year are Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and New Mexico State Senator Mark Boitano.

Today marks the beginning of the 12th annual National Charter Schools Week celebrating the ways in which charter schools are helping children and families. Charter schools are independent public schools that are free to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement. They foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students to create an environment in which parents can be more involved, teachers are given the freedom to innovate and students are provided the structure they need to learn.  This week, public charter school supporters around the nation are hosting and participating in numerous activities to mark the movement’s success and growth.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (http://www.publiccharters.org) is the national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. NAPCS works to increase the number of high-performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and underserved families who currently do not have access to quality public schools. NAPCS provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement. More than 1.6 million students attend nearly 5,000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia.