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Moving in the Right Direction

#StudentSuccessAct Expands the Promise of America’s High-Quality Charter Schools

This week marks National Charter Schools Week, when parents, students, educators, advocates, and policymakers recognize the successes of the charter school movement.

Twenty-three years ago, parents, teachers, and state and local leaders joined together to launch a new kind of public school – a charter school – that would promote parental choice, foster innovation, and ensure a high level of accountability. Today, there are approximately 6,700 charter schools serving nearly 3 million students across forty-three states and the District of Columbia.

Unfortunately, current federal policies hinder the ability of families to access quality charter schools.   

  • States, school districts, and charter school operators cannot use existing federal resources to replicate or expand quality charter schools;
  • It is difficult for states, school districts, and charter school operators to share best practices and address the quality of their schools; and
  • Charter schools struggle to secure facilities, and, once they do, often have challenges obtaining the funds necessary to build or rehabilitate facilities.

As a result, the demand for these schools far outpaces the supply. Currently, more than one million names are on charter school wait lists.

The Student Success Act includes reforms that will help ensure these children are no longer names on wait lists, but students in quality classrooms. These reforms – which have enjoyed broad, bipartisan support – will improve and expand educational options for families by:

  • Promoting state efforts to develop, replicate, and expand quality charter schools;
  • Supporting the sharing of best practices between quality charters and traditional public schools; and
  • Encouraging quality charter schools to reach out to special populations, including at-risk students, students with disabilities, and English learners.

As we reflect on the success of the charter school movement, let’s also reaffirm our commitment to helping every child access an excellent education by expanding the promise of America’s high-quality charter schools.

To learn more about the Student Success Act, click here.

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