Las Vegas, NV- Today more than 5,000 charter school leaders, educators, and policymakers will gather during the 2019 National Charter Schools Conference (#NCSC19) for an all-conference rally to push back against bureaucratic interests and fight for all students to have the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school. All public schools deserve equitable funding and every child deserves access to an excellent education regardless of their zip code. Today’s rally will inspire charter school advocates to return to their hometowns and champion the free public-school option that charter schools provide families. There are currently an estimated five million families who would attend a charter school if one were available to them.
Dr. Howard Fuller, a civil rights activist, school choice champion and founder and director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, will open the rally, Keri Rodrigues, founder and mom-in-chief at Massachusetts Parents United, will speak to the needs facing the charter school sector and share a parent’s point of view on how the charter school model provides families with a high-quality public school option and Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), will close the rally with a call for unity and action among supporters.
“The charter school movement is in a critical time in its history. We need all advocates – teachers, education leaders, parents and influencers – to come together and raise their voices on behalf of the 3.2 million students we serve,” said National Alliance president and CEO, Nina Rees. “Our movement is at a crossroads and we are eager to see who in our country, especially among politicians, is dedicated to putting the needs of students first. When it comes to finding solutions to the access and opportunity gap facing public school students, we know that charter schools are on the right side of history.”
In 2014 - 2015, 55 percent of charter school students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. According to a 2015 Stanford University CREDO report, students in urban charter schools gained 40 additional days of learning in math and 28 additional days of learning in reading per year as compared to their district school peers.
The rally speakers released the following statements about the state of the charter school movement nationally:
"Parents need options. Without them, many of our kids are destined for the school to prison pipeline and a life that leads to poverty, incarceration or even death,” said founder and mom-in-chief of Massachusetts Parents United, Keri Rodrigues. “We must work harder and advocate for the schools that provide educational outcomes that lead our kids on a path to opportunity. Our children need all of us — charter school leaders, elected officials and parents — to come together and fight for their futures even when it gets tough."
“These are polarizing times where education stakeholders have passionately disparate views about the vision for America’s public-school system,” said CCSA president and CEO, Myrna Castrejón. “We must put the needs of students first, ahead of the bureaucracy, to ensure all kids can access exceptional educational options. And when defenders of the status quo try to end our movement, or rip opportunity from students where they now are finding belonging, we will not go quietly. We must take a stand for all students and fight back.”
“I have dedicated my life to fighting for the realization of freedom for black people in this country,” said founder and director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, Dr. Howard Fuller. “Education is one of the most important levers in that struggle. One thing that is certain for children from the families of the “disinherited” in our community, they will never get the education they need if they only have one option. The fight for parent choice including the chartering process is a righteous battle. Those who want to maintain the “one best system” must not go unchallenged. We must not allow them to turn back the clock. Now is the moment to mobilize and organize to ensure all of our children will have the opportunity to choose the educational environment that will give them the skills they need to engage in the practice of freedom.”
The general session and conference rally will be livestreamed on the National Alliance’s Facebook Page. All the times indicated above are in Pacific Time (PT). Every conference session will be hosted on level two of the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center.
About Public Charter Schools
Charter public 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 www.publiccharters.org.