Following up on his remarks earlier this week at the National Charter Schools Conference in Washington D.C., U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today issued the following statement urging states to work with charter school operators to turn around struggling schools and provide innovation and choice to students and parents:
“States need to have a plan to turn around their lowest-performing schools. I’m an advocate of using whatever model works for children and I want charter schools to join that work. But they won’t be able to get into the turnaround business in states that restrict the growth of charters. States that slow innovation are limiting opportunities for students and placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage for $4 billion in Race to the Top Fund grants.
“For example, in Indiana and Maine, state legislatures must act in the best interest of students and open doors to education entrepreneurs, like those running charter schools. While some states limit the number of charter schools, others like Louisiana and Tennessee, have lifted their caps on charters, giving more students the opportunity to attend higher performing schools.
“Let me be clear, I am not simply advocating for more charter schools. We need more good charter schools. There needs to be a high bar set for entry during the charter application process, and accountability systems need to link student achievement to instruction.”
“Many charter school operators are today’s top education innovators and entrepreneurs. Children need more high-quality educational options, and charter schools have an important role to play in the school turnaround business.”