Seeing the impact of such schools in neighborhoods across 40 states and the District of Columbia, parents want more access to excellent charter schools but current capacity cannot meet the demand. About 365,000 students are on public charter school waiting lists nationwide, including 38,000 in Colorado. To address this problem and expand access to hope and opportunity, I introduced HR 4330, the All Students Achieving through Reform (All-STAR) Act, which will enable and encourage successful public charter school models that get the job done to expand, replicate and serve more at-risk students. By building on what we know works, All-STAR would allow more at-risk students to attend a great school and realize their full potential.
All-STAR is not about promoting charter schools for the sake of promoting charter schools – it’s about promoting high-quality charter schools serving underserved students. It strengthens accountability and transparency by encouraging new rigorous levels of reporting and oversight for charter school authorizers, including closing bad charter schools and encouraging solid state charter laws. Quality control is the key for ensuring that the charter movement remains a source of successful innovation that adds value to our public school system as it grows.
The bipartisan ALL-STAR Act is supported by several major education and civil rights organizations, including the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, Education Equality Project, United Negro College Fund, National Council of La Raza, Thomas Fordham Foundation, Democrats for Education Reform, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Center for American Progress Action Fund, among others.
Educating every American student to graduate prepared for college and for success in a new workforce is a national imperative. President Obama and Secretary Duncan have embraced public charter schools as one avenue toward achieving this goal. The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act offers a historic opportunity to do the right thing for all of our children. Scaling up outstanding schools’ remarkable success is not a silver bullet for all that ails our education system; however, this proposal represents an important way for more students to achieve educational excellence and success.
This article is cross-posted from the Committee on Education and Labour website.