US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander and Landrieu Celebrate National Charter Schools Week

Senators mark annual event, commend the more than 6,000 charter schools across the nation

Thursday, May 02, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

Washington, D.C., May 2 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), co-chairs of the Senate Public Charter Schools Caucus, today expressed strong support for public charter schools and marked the start of the 14th annual National Charter Schools Week, which lasts from May 5 to May 11 this year.

Alexander said: “Charter schools give principals the freedom to lead, teachers the freedom to exercise their own good judgment and parents the freedom to choose the school that is best for their child. This is the formula to help our children learn what they need to know and be able to do so they can succeed in life.”

Landrieu said: “Our future will continue to be shaped by how well we prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges.  The freedom charter schools have to innovate has invigorated the public education system in New Orleans and across Louisiana, providing parents with a quality choice for their children. Across the country, they are helping shape the conversation about how to improve our education strategy and outcomes, and they should remain one of the key components of that mission.”

Today, there are more than 6,000 charter schools serving over 2.3 million students, representing growth of about 7 percent over the past year.  Charter schools are publicly funded K-12 schools that are exempted from certain public school regulations, but required to meet specific criteria for results. A school’s charter is reviewed periodically and can be revoked if guidelines on curriculum and management are not followed or if the standards are not met.

The senators, along with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), introduced a budget amendment in March that would support the expansion and replication of charter schools that have a proven record of success.

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