LOUISVILLE, KY - Today the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools joined Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and local education, business, and faith community leaders in Kentucky to launch a public awareness campaign to support a public charter school law in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky is one of only eight states in the country without charter schools.
"At an education summit hosted by the Kentucky Charter Schools Association, representatives from the National Alliance, Democrats for Education Reform, the Black Alliance for Education Options, and Senators McConnell and Paul, all spoke of the need for Kentucky to embrace public charter schools so that children not being well-served by their current school would have options.
"All children have the right to go to a public school that will challenge them and prepare them for the future," said Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "For many children, their neighborhood public school works great. But for others, it doesn't. Those students need options so they have the same opportunity to flourish as their peers."
"According to The Nations Report Card only one in three Kentucky fourth and eighth graders read at or above grade level. In Jefferson County, where Louisville is located, its even worse. The district is home to 18 of the states 41 schools identified as failing under federal standards. And a staggering one out of every four Louisville teens drops out of high school.
"If our schools are failing, our Commonwealth fails with them. Students, parents, and communities across Kentucky must demand schools that put students first, produce results, and reward outstanding teachers. Public charter schools can do that," said Senator McConnell.
"A recent report by the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University found that public charter schools do a better job educating low-income, and minority children, as well as students who are still learning English than traditional public schools.
"Senator Rand Paul emphasized that public charter schools are able to innovate because they face less red tape than traditional public schools; and innovation, he said, is key to their success.
"Charter schools are closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students across the country. Nothing else comes close to the success that charter schools have at preparing low-income and minority children for successful futures," said Rees. "We hope that Kentucky lawmakers will embrace the possibility that charter schools hold for their children."
"Rees and Joe Williams, the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, co-authored a column that appeared in the Louisville Courier Journal today. In the piece, they say passing a strong charter school law will open the doors of educational opportunity to all children.
"The Kentucky Charter Schools Association will lead the efforts to educate lawmakers and Kentuckians about public charter schools and the benefits they could bring to families and children. Nationwide, about 2 million students attend more than 6,000 public charter schools. There are almost one million names on charter school wait lists across the country."
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.