Tuesday, August 24, 2010

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Issues a Statement on the Selection of Round Two Race to the Top Winners

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today released the following statement from its President and CEO, Peter Groff, on the states selected for funding by the U.S. Department of Education in the second round of the Race to the Top competition:

"We are pleased to see five states that are strongly supportive of public charter schools among those awarded Race to the Top grants today. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' annual rankings of state charter laws, the District of Columbia has the second strongest law in the country. Georgia has the fourth strongest, followed by Massachusetts, New York and Florida, with the fifth, eighth and eleventh strongest charter laws, respectively. These states are boldly incorporating public charter schools into their overall efforts to improve public education.

However, we are concerned that the selection of three states - Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio - sends the wrong message. They have clearly shown a resistance to embracing the role of public charter schools in education reform. Even the U.S. Department of Education scored theses states among the lowest of those awarded grants. Sadly, these states are still being rewarded for actively limiting public-education options for the families that need them the most. Maryland has the worst charter law in the country, North Carolina has a cap of 100 charters that it reached almost 10 years ago, and Ohio has some of the most arbitrary caps in the country.

Since the Race to the Top grants competition was announced in June 2009, 15 states have lifted their caps on charter schools and one state has enacted a charter law. We applaud the Obama Administration for its role in encouraging these positive changes. Overall, six of the 12 winners in the first and second rounds have removed restrictions on growth: Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

As we approach the potential third round of funding, we urge the Administration to recommit to only awarding grants to those states that are truly committed to all facets of education reform."

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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