WASHINGTON, D.C. - The push for high-quality charter school expansion grew stronger as Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) re-introduced the Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Act bill today. The legislation, which will reauthorize the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP), is identical to the CSP provisions in Chairman Alexander's discussion draft to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
"There is a need for high-quality charter schools throughout the nation, and we are very grateful to the senators for their support in introducing this important legislation," said Nina Rees, president and CEO at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "This legislation will modernize the Charter Schools Program and enable many more children to attend high quality schools."
The federal CSPs primary purpose is to help expand the number of high-quality charter schools across the country through targeted grants. The Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Act will:
- Give priority to states that provide equitable funding to charter schools;
- Supporting federal grants for the replication and expansion of high-quality public charter schools and funding sufficient to support the expansion of these schools consistent with current appropriations level;
- Prioritize grants to states that ensure start-up funds are awarded only to charter schools with fundamental autonomy over budget, operations and personnel;
- Prioritize grants to states that assist public charter schools with accessing facilities;
- Setting aside a portion of state grant funds to improve the quality of public charter school authorizers.
"We strongly believe the provisions in the new legislation will benefit hundreds of thousands of students and families hoping for the opportunity to attend a high-quality public charter school," said Rees. "As the Senate considers the reauthorization of the ESEA, we hope that this bill provides the structure and guidance for charter school growth, expansion and replication within the new law."
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.