National Alliance Announces 2015 Champions for Charter Schools

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Washington, D.C. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools recognized eight leaders from across the country as Champions for Charter Schools, thanking them for their deep support and commitment to the public charter school movement.

Each year, the National Alliance honors individuals at the federal, state and local level who lead the most impactful public charter school initiatives, serve as the most visible charter school advocates and tirelessly support charters as a high-quality public school option for children and their families.

"The Champions for Charter Schools award recognizes and honors the tremendous work of extraordinary public officials who are committed to providing families with high-quality public school options for their children," said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "The public charter school movement achieved several major goals this year, including passing a charter school law in Alabama, improving the charter law in Oklahoma to allow more charter schools throughout the state, and securing increased funding for the federal Charter Schools Program. These accomplishments would not have been possible without this years champions for charter schools."

The 2015 Champions for Charter Schools

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
While serving as the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Michael Bennet made a bold push for education reform and innovation and strongly supported the growth of public charter schools. Since arriving in Congress, Sen. Bennet has continued to be a strong advocate for public charter schools, pressing for increased funding for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) and introducing legislation to update and modernize the CSP.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. McMorris Rodgers is a vocal supporter of charter schools and their ability to provide a more personalized learning environment for children. She has been a leading advocate for increasing support for the federal Charter Schools Program to help launch new schools and give parents more choices when it comes to their children's education.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D)
Mayor Hancock has been a steadfast supporter of public school options for children, consistently advocating the benefits of charter schools for Denver families. He is also using his growing profile outside Colorado to encourage mayors in other large cities to embrace charter schools as a way to improve public education for all families.

Alabama Leaders

In March 2015, Alabama enacted a public charter school law, joining 42 states and D.C. to allow public charter schools. The law closely adhered to the National Alliances Model Public Charter School Law and will create an environment of choice and accountability that will benefit Alabama's children. The National Alliance honors two Alabama state legislative leaders whose commitment to ensure that all families have high-quality educational options made this victory possible:

Alabama State Sen. Del Marsh, President Pro Tem (R-Anniston)
Alabama State Rep. Terri Collins, Chair, House Education Policy Committee (R-Decatur)

Oklahoma Leaders

In April 2015, Oklahoma passed Senate Bill 782, which allows public charter schools to open throughout the state and strengthens accountability for charter schools and their authorizers. Previously, public charter schools we're only able to operate in about 4 percent of the states school districts, leaving many children with no public school options. The National Alliance recognizes three Oklahoma leaders for their efforts year in and year out to improve public charter schools and expand educational opportunity to more families:

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R)
Oklahoma State Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond)
Oklahoma State Rep. Lee Denney, Speaker pro tempore (R-Cushing)

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 independent 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 our website at www.publiccharters.org.