Washington, D.C. The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill today that would allow public charter schools to open throughout the state.
On a bipartisan vote of 35-7, the Oklahoma Senate agreed with House amendments to pass Senate Bill 782. Under the current law, public charter schools can only operate in about 4 percent of the state's school districts, primarily those located in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.
Nina Rees, president and CEO at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released the following statement:
"We applaud the Oklahoma Senate for seeing eye to eye with the House and passing this crucial bill, which will allow charter schools to open in communities throughout the state giving parents more public school options for high-quality education.
"In addition to allowing the creation of charters in all school districts of Oklahoma, this bill strengthens accountability for public charter schools and their authorizing bodies. As a result, public charter schools will be the most accountable form of public schooling in the state.
"The National Alliance is grateful to Representative Lee Denney and Senator Clark Jolley, who recognized the successful track record of public charter schools and led the effort to expand this innovative option to every child in Oklahoma.
"We also want to thank the wide variety of organizations that have been working with us on this legislation, including the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association, the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, the Oklahoma State Chamber, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
"We now urge Governor Mary Fallin to sign this bill into law."
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, manyindependent research studieshave 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 our website at www.publiccharters.org.