New Orleans, LA – In a bold move to improve the quality and accountability of public education for students across the nation, 39 state- and city-based public charter school support organizations, collectively signed the “National Public Charter Schools Commitment to Quality” at the National Charter Schools Conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana. This grassroots, state- and city-based initiative undertaken by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ State Leaders Council is the first of its kind in the public education system to take ownership over ensuring a quality education for all students and address the persistent challenges facing communities with underperforming schools.
“The reality is the current education system is not preparing all students for the future demands of college, career, and the global economy. The students we continuously see affected by these achievement gaps are low-income students, whose schools tend to offer fewer opportunities and produce weaker results,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Public charter schools are beacons of hope for families in need of options. They have pioneered and led many of the innovations that have successfully improved student performance over the past two decades. That is why it’s fitting for leaders in the movement to take charge on a collective effort to commit to actions to improve school quality and accountability for all students.”
Today, there are more than 6,700 public charter schools across the country serving nearly three million students with nearly one million families on charter school wait lists looking for high-quality public school options. The organizations supporting the “National Public Charter Schools Commitment to Quality” represent 95 percent of charter school families nationwide and have pledged to ensure public charter schools are high-performing, fiscally responsible options that are accessible to all families while supporting the closure of low-performing charter schools.
“As Georgia’s charter school advocacy and support organization, we firmly support this national quality statement. Charter school advocates have a responsibility to ensure that charter schools truly deliver their promise of innovation, improved student achievement and high accountability,” said Dr. Tony Roberts, president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA). “We take this responsibility so seriously that GCSA is preparing to release a state-wide charter school rating initiative that will help parents better evaluate charter school options in Georgia. It will rate each charter school’s academic record, its student-teacher ratio, class size, school leader experience, financial stability, and more. There is no room for mediocrity in our charter schools. They cannot simply offer alternatives to traditional public schools, they exist to drive change and outperform the status quo so that all students can succeed in the 21st century.” Roberts said.
Since the beginning of the charter school movement in the early 1990s, quality and strong accountability have been at its very core and led to improved student outcomes. By taking a collective stance in the states, the charter school support organizations on the ground are putting in motion efforts to better realize the charter school promise. These organizations firmly commit to increased resources and support to grow and replicate their state’s high-performing school models to serve more families; seed the next generation of innovative schools; and advocate for closure or reconstitution of schools unable to meet student needs while supporting families through the difficult transition process.
“Charter schools are providing remarkable opportunities for students across the nation,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. “But we know that many more families are seeking high-quality schools for their children, so we must do all that we can to replicate the charter schools that are serving students well and provide parents with the peace of mind of knowing their child is in a high-performing school environment. I am confident that this commitment to accountability and the supports necessary for a healthy and quality public charter school environment will not only benefit our students in California but that together, we will ensure that students across many states will have access to great public school options.”
“We know in Michigan that achievement needs to be significantly improved, that charter schools need to lead the way. We need to be more aggressive and bold in our actions to get there,” said Dan Quisenberry, president of Michigan Association for Public School Academies and chair of the State Leaders Council. “Every child deserves a quality education in a quality school, so charter schools, charter authorizers, and organizations must be high-quality and effective. We as charter leaders must be as relentless in demanding quality performance from ourselves and those we work with, which is why we need to work hard to establish a policy environment where parents have a variety of diverse, high-quality, publicly financed educational options for their children.”
The organizations signed on to the “National Public Charter Schools Commitment to Quality” include: Alabama Coalition for Public Charter Schools, Arizona Charter Schools Association, Arkansas Public School Resource Center, California Charter Schools Association, Colorado League of Charter Schools, D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools, Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FocusDC), Delaware Charter Schools Network, Florida Charter School Alliance, Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, Georgia Charter Schools Association, Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network, Idaho Charter School Network, Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, Maine Association for Charter Schools, Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, Michigan Association for Public School Academies, Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, Charter School Partners (Minnesota), Mississippi Charter Schools Association, Missouri Charter Public School Association, Charter School Association of Nevada, New Hampshire Center for Innovative Schools, New Hampshire Public Charter School Association, New Jersey Charter Schools Association, New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools, New York City Charter School Center, Northeast Charter Schools Network (Connecticut and New York), North Carolina Alliance for Public Charter Schools, North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association, Ohio Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, Pennsylvania Coalition of Charter Schools, Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina, Tennessee Charter School Center, Texas Charter Schools Association, Rhode Island League of Charter Schools, Washington State Charter Schools Association.
About the State Leaders Council
The State Leaders Council (SLC) is an advisory body of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, made up of the leaders of state-based charter school support organizations. The SLC is responsible for identifying issues affecting public charter schools and the state and local organizations that serve them, and for advising the National Alliance’s board of directors on ways to improve the policy and support environment for public charter schools.
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom t
o 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 www.publiccharters.org.