States Open to Charters Start Fast in 'Race to Top'
Education Secretary Seeking Autonomy with Real Accountability for School Innovators
Archived Information

June 8, 2009
Contact: John White, Press Secretary
(202) 401-1576
More Resources
Transcript of conference call
download files  MS Word (92K)

Emphasizing the need for additional effective education entrepreneurs to join the work of reforming America's lowest performing public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told reporters during a conference call this afternoon that states must be open to charter schools. Too much is at stake for states financially and for students academically to restrict choice and innovation.

"States that do not have public charter laws or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools will jeopardize their applications under the Race to the Top Fund," Secretary Duncan said. "To be clear, this administration is not looking to open unregulated and unaccountable schools. We want real autonomy for charters combined with a rigorous authorization process and high performance standards."

This summer, the Department of Education begins accepting state applications for the federal government's largest one-time investment in K-12 public school reform. By the end of the year, the department will be distributing grants from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund. Also, $1.5 billion in Title I School Improvement Program funds is available to improve teaching and learning for all children.

"I am advocating for using whatever models work for students, and particularly where improvements have stagnated for years," Secretary Duncan said. "We cannot continue to do that same thing and expect different results. We cannot let another generation of children be deprived of their civil right to a quality education."

President Obama has called upon states to encourage the expansion of charter schools. A network of innovative and high-achieving charter schools can be an important part of a state's school reform effort. However, charter schools are facing significant obstacles to expansion in too many states.

For example:

These actions are restricting reforms, limiting choices for parents and students, and denying children access to new high-quality instruction.



Back to June 2009

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 11/27/2009