Washington, D.C. - Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released the following statement after the passage of S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
"The National Alliance applauds the Senate for passing the Every Child Achieves Act with a strong bipartisan vote. In particular, we congratulate Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) for shepherding a bipartisan bill through the Senate process for final passage.
"S. 1177 makes significant improvements to the Charter Schools Program (CSP), including broadening the range of entities eligible to receive state grants, adding more flexibility in the use of funds, creating a dedicated funding source for the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools, and improving current language on the use of lotteries for student enrollment. These provisions will support the opening of new high-quality public charter schools to serve the growing number of students on charter school wait lists.
"In addition to the strong charter school provisions in the base bill, we are grateful to Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for his amendment to ensure that Title I funds can be used to support the replication and expansion of high-performing public schools, including charter schools. In addition, we appreciate the efforts of Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) for their amendment to ensure that charter school representatives are formally included as states and school districts develop their Title I plans. Because the majority of students attending public charter schools qualify for free and reduced priced lunch, it is appropriate that charter school leaders are consulted in the use of Title I funds.
"We also appreciate the efforts of Senators Murphy (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Coons (D-DE), Warren (D-MA), Durbin (D-IL), Mikulski (D-MD) and Feinstein (D-CA) to require states to identify and improve the lowest performing schools. We also support their call to create goals for the academic progress of students in key subgroups. However, we believe that the reauthorization of ESEA must continue to focus on clear indicators of academic achievement and provide students in the lowest performing schools with access to seats in high-quality schools, including charter schools. We hope that House and Senate conferees will improve these provisions as the bill moves to conference so that parents are empowered with school performance data to make informed decisions, and that the most disadvantaged students have access to higher quality schools.
"We believe this legislation provides a strong foundation for moving forward with ESEA reauthorization and hope to see a bipartisan bill on President Obama's desk in the coming months."
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 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.