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Celebrating the Success of the National Charter School Movement
posted by: Alix | May 09, 2012, 06:59 PM   

As we highlighted Monday on the AAE blog: May 7-11, 2012, is National Charter Schools Week. This is a time to celebrate the important role charter schools have in improving our education system. This year is particularly noteworthy as public charter schools in the U.S. are celebrating twenty years of success.

With more than two million students in 41 states and the District of Columbia attending public charter schools, and another 400,000 students on waitlists, charter schools are clearly in great demand. Considered to be institutions of innovation and creativity, charter schools are public, tuition-free schools that often operate under less bureaucratic oversight even though they are held to the same academic standards as traditional school district counterparts. Charter schools, like traditional public schools, are also required to accept any student who wants to attend, and when applications exceed capacity, as they often do, acceptance is determined by lottery.

The concept began as a simple idea in 1991. "At the time, people wanted more experiential and class-based learning," recalled National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Interim CEO Ursula Wright, "People wanted to make sure there were opportunities for those who ... for whatever reasons weren't necessarily having the greatest success in the traditional school system." What followed has turned into a 5,600-school movement touted as a key component of education reform in this country.

Amazingly after only twenty years, U.S. News and World Report hails charter schools as some of the most excellent schools in the country. Four public charter schools rank among the top 20 high schools in America according to their latest analysis.

Key education advocates are taking notice as well. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) called the charter school movement a bipartisan cause. "Leaders on both sides of the political aisle agree charter schools play an invaluable role in our nation's education system," he stressed. "These schools offer groundbreaking programs, raise parental engagement, and encourage innovation–all in the name of inspiring students to reach new heights–and they deserve our strong support."

Here at AAE, we are proud to support the charter school movement and the thousands of hard-working teachers who are employed in the nation's public charter schools. As a vocal supporter of public charter schools and teachers, AAE is committed to working hand-in-hand with the nation's charter school stakeholders to ensure all educators have the tools they need to provide students with the best possible education.

This year alone, we have entered into partnerships with charter schools associations in Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, and Utah and have launched a new website for the charter school audience:

Public charter schools play an important role in our education system. We are thrilled to be able to support the movement this week and in the years to come.

What do you think about the success of the charter school movement?

Comment below.

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