National Charter School Week, running from May 4-10, celebrates the work charter schools have done to improve the education system across the country.
In the United States today, there are approximately 3 million students enrolled in around 7,000 charter schools throughout 43 states and the District of Columbia. Most of these schools have a waiting list for even more students who want to enroll, holding an average of around 300 students each.
Supporters of the movement, including the Obama administration, feel that the schools could offer parents additional freedom when choosing a school for their child, as well as the ability to choose the best school for their child’s individual needs.
“No matter who they are or where they come from, all children deserve the best education possible. During National Charter Schools Week, we recognize the role public charter schools play in providing America’s daughters and sons with a chance to reach their fullest potential, and we recommit to strengthening our Nation’s classrooms for all,” Obama wrote in presidential proclamation.
Obama went on to say that his administration is hard at work trying to raise educational standards, improve teacher effectiveness and help struggling schools across the country. In order to do so, they have also increased support to high-performing public charter schools. Charter schools, especially in low-income communities, have played an important role in increasing access to a high-quality education in addition to helping to close the achievement gap.
The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) has joined charter school advocates across the country in celebration of the week by honoring black charter school leaders across the country in addition to sharing charter school statistics.
Recently the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released a report titled “Urban Charter School Study” which focused on 41 urban communities across 22 states. According to the findings, the average student in an urban charter school setting received 40 additional days of learning in math and 28 in reading when compared to their peers enrolled in traditional public schools.
A separate 2013 study by CREDO titled “National Charter School Study” revealed that Black and Hispanic charter school students made stronger gains in reading and math than their traditional public school peers.
“There are examples of progress made for charter schools as recently as this year. Alabama just passed its first charter school law creating a pathway to charters in the state,”said BAEO Interim President, Jacqueline Cooper. “Year after year, we are seeing charter schools improve outcomes for student achievement and we want to ensure that message is heard.”