Encouraging the spread of charter schools
A speech by the Secretary of Education delivered on June 22, 2009 at the National Charter School Conference............
AN ESTIMATED 365,000 students are on waiting lists to get into charter schools. More than half of all charter schools across the country report having to disappoint parents who want their children in better schools. Yet many states, for reasons that have nothing to do with sound educational policy, discourage or even forbid the growth of charters. It's a ridiculous situation, and we hope that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is serious about not rewarding states hostile to charter schools.
Mr. Duncan recently put states on notice that they risk their shot at millions of dollars in federal stimulus money if they are not open to public charter schools. As a former head of Chicago's public schools, Mr. Duncan knows firsthand the benefits of charters. Freed from the constraints of union contracts and one-size-fits-all school policy, they've been able to innovate successful new approaches to learning. They give parents an important choice about where their children go to school and, in many cases, are the best bet for a decent education.
Charters Schools at the focus of discussions regarding the "Race To The Top" priorities. Secretary Duncan explains the impacts on States in their competition for the AARA funds during a conference call on June 8, 2009....
"States that don’t have charter laws or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools would jeopardize their application under the Race to the Top Fund. Simply put, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage for the largest pull of discretionary dollars states have ever had access to.
States have laws that encourage the expansion of charter schools will be better off under the Race to the Top. It should be clear that this administration is not looking to open thousands of unregulated and unaccountable schools. We want real economy for charters while we also support a rigorous authorization process and high performance standards. Those three criteria are all widely important and must work together.
Our top priority is to provide new high quality learning options for children and communities across the nation."