Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, March 10, the Oklahoma House and Senate passed two nearly identical public charter school bills that would allow public charter schools to open throughout the state.
The Oklahoma House passed HB 1696 by a vote of 61-32, while the Oklahoma Senate passed a similar charter school bill, SB 782, by a vote of 27-18.
Nina Rees, president and CEO at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released the following statement:
"We applaud the members of the Oklahoma legislature for passing strong charter school bills that will lead to more public school options for families across the state.
"According to our recent rankings report, Oklahoma has one of the weakest state public charter laws in the country. The current charter school law allows charters only in approximately four percent of the states school districts mostly those located in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. We expect Oklahoma will move significantly higher in our rankings if these bills become law.
"Both the House and the Senate bills would allow charter schools to open throughout the state. The bills also raise the accountability on charter schools to higher levels than any other public schools in Oklahoma.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Senator Clark Jolley, the bill sponsor in the Senate and Representative Lee Denney, the bill sponsor in the House, for their leadership on behalf of the states students. We also want to thank the wide variety of organizations that have been working with us on this legislation, including the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association, the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, the Oklahoma State Chamber, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association."
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, manyindependent research studieshave 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.