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Charter school success ignored and stymied by U.S. Senators

There is growing evidence that charter schools are empowering parents, pioneering fresh teaching methods, encouraging state and local innovation and help students escape underperforming schools.

Charter school
Morguefile

During a “Raising the Bar” hearing at the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce Chairman Rep. John Kline (R-MN) said

For many children and their parents, charter schools are a beacon of hope for a better education—and a better life.

This is the reason that charter schools continue to be in demand and there are long waiting lists. However The Student Success Act that would encourage the growth and expansion of charter schools has been held up in the Senate for more than six months.

According to Rep. Kline

Each day without Senate action is another day that thousands of students remain trapped in underperforming schools …If the Senate refuses to bring education reform legislation up for a vote, then the House will explore opportunities to advance targeted legislation to encourage charter school growth.

One example of the success of charter schools is Breakthrough Schools where during the 2012-2013 year students outperformed their peers across the city of Cleveland and in Ohio in every subject according to a study by the CREDO Institute at Stanford University.

According to sponsors of the Student Success Act:

"The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind, has been due for reauthorization since 2007. Despite its best intentions, there is widespread agreement that the current law is no longer effectively serving students. No Child Left Behind’s ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ (AYP) metric proves one-size-fits-all federal accountability mandates hamper innovation and limit states’ and school districts’ ability to effectively gauge and improve student learning. The antiquated ‘Highly Qualified Teacher’ requirements value tenure and credentials above a teacher’s ability to actually teach. And despite a monumental investment of taxpayer resources and more than 80 federal programs tied to K-12 classrooms, student achievement levels are still falling short."

Instead of working with Congress to fix the law, in 2011 the Obama administration began offering states temporary waivers from some of No Child Left Behind’s most onerous requirements in exchange for new mandates dictated by the Department of Education. These waivers are a short-term fix to a long-term problem, and leave states and school districts tied to a failing law. School leaders face uncertainty, knowing the federal requirements they must meet to maintain their waiver are subject to change with the whims of the administration."