National Alliance Names 20 Elected Officials as 2018 Charter Champions

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Democrat and Republican lawmakers at federal, state, and local levels honored for their efforts to provide better educational options to students

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) announced today that 20 local, state, and federal elected officials have been named 2018 Champions for Charters. This year’s bipartisan cohort (comprised of 11 Democrats and 9 Republicans) joins a distinguished body of Charter Champions dating back to the award’s inception in 2006. 2018 honorees include:

Federal Charter Champions

State and Local Champions

“For 12 years, we have been honoring lawmakers at all levels of government who are making a difference for students by supporting high-quality charter schools,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “Each year, I am grateful for the ways these elected officials have been responsive to the students and families they serve by promoting more public school options. Without their support, the charter school movement would not be where it is today. This year’s honorees have fought for our students and deserve our gratitude and praise.”

In 2018, charter school enrollment surpassed 3.2 million students for the first time. And in 2017, Colorado became one of only three states where charter public school students are granted equitable access to local tax dollars raised through mill levy overrides, a success led by the Colorado legislators being honored this year.

This year, the National Alliance is adding two new awards. The first is Lifetime Achievement Champion for Charters which will be bestowed upon Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. For many years, Senator Hatch has worked to advance and fund the federal Charter Schools Program which helps new schools to open. He has also been a thought leader, helping advise groups and fellow lawmakers on new ideas to tackle the challenging area of charter school facilities financing.  

“We are grateful for Senator Hatch’s long record of supporting and championing more options for our students,” said Rees. “We could not honor a more worthy recipient for the very first Lifetime Achievement award. We thank him for his support and wish him all the very best in his retirement.”  

The second inaugural award is the Rising Champion for Charters, honoring an emerging leader for public school options for students. This honor is going to Congressman Adriano Espaillat of New York, a member of the US. House Committee on Education and the Workforce and a proponent of more charter school funding in FY18 appropriation negotiations.

“Representative Espaillat was a key advocate for more charter school funding during this year’s appropriations debate,” said Rees. “He has many charter schools in his district and understands firsthand how these schools can serve as a lifeline to students who need them most. We look forward to working with him for years to come and are glad to name him this year’s Rising Champion.”  

To learn more about other Charter Champions from 2018 and years past, click here.

For more information about National Charter Schools Week, visit


About Public Charter Schools

Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit