The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) announced today that 19 local, state, and federal elected officials will be honored as 2017 Charter Champions at a reception taking place tonight in Washington, D.C. This years bipartisan cohort (comprised of seven Democrats and 12 Republicans) joins a prestigious body of Charter Champions dating back to the awards inception in 2006. 2017 Honorees include:
- State Representative Dan Burke, Illinois
- Governor Matt Bevin, Kentucky
- State Representative John Carney, Kentucky
- State Senator David Givens, Kentucky
- State Representative and Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover, Kentucky
- State Representative Phil Moffett, Kentucky
- State Representative Jonathan Shell, Kentucky
- State Senator Stephen West, Kentucky
- State Senator Mike Wilson, Kentucky
- State Representative Jonathan Windy Boy, Montana
- Assemblyman Troy Singleton, New Jersey
- Senator Cory Booker, New Jersey
- Representative Tom Cole, Oklahoma
- State Senator Anthony H. Williams, Pennsylvania
- Mayor James Diossa, Rhode Island
- Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina
- State Delegate R. Steven Landes, Virginia
- State Senator Mark D. Obenshain, Virginia
- State Senator J. Chapman Petersen, Virginia
"In the U.S. Congress, in statehouses, in mayors offices, on school boards anywhere education policy is made, we need charter champions," said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees in prepared remarks. "The men and women we honor tonight have been leading the charge to give parents and students better public schools and the freedom to choose the school that works best for them. At a time of great political polarization, its important to recognize leaders who put aside party differences and just keep working to help students. These are the policy heroes our students need and examples of leadership for elected officials everywhere."
With the support of the 2017 Charter Champions and elected officials from all states, 2017 has been a record-breaking year for charter schools. National charter school enrollment has surpassed three million students for the first time. In March, Kentucky became the 44th state in addition to Washington, D.C. to pass a charter school law. Charter schools in the Bluegrass State will soon join more than 6,900 charter schools across the country in delivering high-quality, public educational options to families.
"I wanted to convince folks that you could be a supporter of traditional public schools but also of school choice," said Kentucky State Representative John Bam Carney in an interview with The 74 Million. "One-size instruction does not fit all students, and I felt it was important to bring competition to Kentucky ... and give parents and students a choice for something that may fit their needs better."
"Being a Charter Champion means to me that I am committed to ensuring the success and vibrancy of our entire public school system," said Assemblyman for New Jerseys 7th District Troy Singleton. "I believe that students should be given the opportunity to academically succeed in whatever vehicle ensures that success. Simply relying on just one manner in which we deliver education in our country does a disservice to our future generations. An all-of-the-above strategy focused on student success, and less on the vehicle that delivers upon that success, will keep our children moving forward and achieving more."
Tonights Charter Champions ceremony comes amidst a busy week in the capital for charter schools. The Senate issued S.Res.148, a bipartisan resolution honoring National Charter Schools Week and the students, parents, teachers, and leaders of charter schools across the United States. The White House also issued a proclamation declaring National Charter Schools Week. And Congress approved a bipartisan spending bill which includes a $9 million increase for the federal Charter Schools Program.
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.