Washington, D.C. Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released the following statement in response to the Center for Media and Democracy's report on public charter school accountability:
"We believe that the Center for Media and Democracy's report demonstrates a lack of basic understanding of the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) and public charter school accountability. Congress designed the CSP to foster innovation in public schooling. Public charter schools have done a great job teaching low-income students, minority students and students who are still learning English. It is no surprise that families are demanding more of them and that the number of public charter schools has grown quickly to try to meet such strong demand.
"Nor should it be a surprise that some public charter schools have closed. The public charter school bargain is more flexibility to innovate in exchange for accountability for higher student achievement. When public charter schools fail to meet their goals whether for academic, financial or operational reasons they should be closed, even if we have invested federal dollars in them. If we don't close them, we undermine the whole concept of public charter schooling.
"The CSP provides start-up funds for new schools and serves as an example of a helpful federal program.A large percentage of charter schools operating today have received support from the CSP.
"Effective oversight of public charter schools is essential and requires expertise among federal and state officials, authorizers, and public charter school governing boards. While we question the validity of the research in this report, we call on state legislatures to continually improve their laws to ensure only the highest quality charter schools can open and operate."
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, manyresearch studieshavefound 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.