Tuesday, July 27, 2010

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Finds Eight Race to the Top Finalists Supportive of Charter Schools

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today released the following statement from president and CEO, Peter Groff. This statement is in response to the announcement of 19 finalists in the second round of competition for Race to the Top funding under the U.S. Department of Education.

"We are pleased to see strong representation from states supportive of charter schools as finalists in the second round of the Race to the Top competition. Eight of the finalists rank among the top 10 states shown to support the growth of high-quality charter schools in our annual examination of state charter laws. We commend these states for the commitment they've shown to education reform by enacting legislation that supports high-quality charter schools.

They are: Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New York. Two of the other finalists, Florida and Pennsylvania ranked eleventh and twelfth out of forty states with charter laws. We wish them success in their continued pursuit of a high-quality charter school sector within a healthy public education system.

Six states have raised or eliminated caps that hinder the growth of high-quality charter schools in response to Race to the Top. We are pleased to see Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and Rhode Island advanced to the final stage of the competition.

Unfortunately, three finalists fail to meet at least one Race to the Top guideline because they continue to block charter school growth. They are: Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio. Despite education reform efforts that may exist in these states, they are keeping high-quality charter schools from bringing parents another public school option. Kentucky, in particular, has yet to pass a charter school law.

Maryland, also a finalist, was shown to have the worst charter school law in the country according to our rankings.

The remaining states, New Jersey and South Carolina, have charter laws that could be improved, but do not restrict the growth of high-quality charter schools with caps.

The Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Education have created an unprecedented opportunity for reform with the Race to the Top. We applaud the Department's efforts to date and urge them to reinforce their commitment to the growth of high-quality charter schools by awarding grants only to those states with a track record of supporting high-quality charter schools."

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (http://www.publiccharters.org/) is the national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. The Alliance works to increase the number of high-performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and minority families who currently do not have access to quality public schools. The Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement. More than 1.6 million students attend nearly 5,000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

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