4 Governors Talking About Charter Schools in 2022 State of the State Addresses

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Arizona Capitol Building

It is up to each state to determine the laws by which their citizens will abide. Whether that’s voting or gun rights, taxes, or marital law, folks in different states have different opportunities. 

Already in 2022, there are big changes happening across the country in arguably the most important sphere of policy: public education, and specifically, public charter schools. Public education is taking center stage in state capitols across the country—and with good reason. Throughout the pandemic, parents, teachers, and students saw just how much a child’s education can differ from that of their peers and neighbors. For some, school continued relatively seamlessly from personal laptops at home. For many more, school was majorly disrupted because of lack of funding and focus to support students in historically underfunded zip codes.  

In a mass reckoning, state leaders had to take responsibility for the public education options offered to students throughout their state. Through academic proficiency data paired with community anecdotes, many state leaders understood that public charter schools were better serving students during good times and tough times, and they vowed to improve access to public charter schools. Leaders saw students’ needs were being better met through innovative teaching methods, better social-emotional learning, and differentiated supports.  

Charter schools are not only part of our nation’s public education system—they are a key offering for parents and children in every state to access a different type of public education is high-quality and free. Parents need options and charter schools make finding the best learning environment their students possible.  

Luckily, there are state leaders who believe in the promise of a high-quality, public education through charter schools and are working to affect change in their states, including these four governors who made a pledge to parents during their 2022 State of the State addresses.  

1. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin 

“Let’s stop cheating our kids. On this we should join arms and purpose together so that when our time here is done we’ll collectively have raised education standards from the lowest to the highest in the nation. I’m also calling for $150 million to help us meet our goal of starting 20 new charter schools.” 

2. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey 

“Arizona has set the standard for school choice and innovative education solutions—and it’s because of the vision of Arizona leaders that paved the way. Leaders like Governor Fife Symington, Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan and Democratic Representative Armando Ruiz, who worked in a bipartisan way to create new opportunities for students—open enrollment, charter schools. They knew that parents were best equipped to make decisions around their child's education.” 

3. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey 

“To that end, I am proposing resources to support grants for failing elementary schools that are not one-size-fits all, but rather, are customized to the particular needs of each of those struggling schools.” 

4. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster 

“Charter schools in our state have seen explosive growth in both enrollment and demand. The South Carolina Public Charter School District and the Charter Institute at Erskine are expected to authorize a total of 67 charter schools for the school year starting in August. My Executive Budget provides an additional $60.2 million to meet the growing demand of parents seeking new educational opportunities and in-person classroom instruction for their children.” 

A common thread throughout these governors’ addresses is empowering parents with choices in education. Is that not part of the core of American democracy? Choice, individuality, and independence? A student’s education is one of—if not the most—significant factors for what their future holds.  

Data shows that public charter schools work for all students, regardless of background. These state leaders know that it’s up to a parent to choose what’s best for their family. We commend these leaders for fighting for their states’ children.  

We hope this is just the beginning of governors, nationwide and on both sides of the aisle, to focus on doing what’s best for the future of their state. 


Alanna Klein is the senior manager, media strategy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.