CONGRATULATING CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR THEIR ONGOING CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION -- (House of Representatives - May 04, 2004)
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Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, as a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, as well as co-chair of National Charter School Week, I strongly support the H. Res. 600, legislation honoring the fifth annual National Charter Schools Week.
Public schools are America's commitment to providing a high quality education for every child. I am dedicated to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to receive a quality education regardless of what public school they attend. This includes charter schools, which are models of successful education reform and one of the fastest growing education innovations working to improve our public education.
As a National Co-Chair of Charter Schools Week, I would like to take a minute to celebrate the first decade of Charter Schools in the United States. Traditionally, charter schools are independent public schools, designed and operated by educators, parents, community members and others. Since the first charter school began operation in 1992 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the number of charter schools has grown to nearly 3,000 serving 750,000 students around the country in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Charter schools have consistently been at the forefront of my priority list, and I am pleased that Wisconsin has 137 exceptional charter schools. In my congressional district alone, we have over 24 charter schools presently and that number grows each year. I have consistently advocated for increased funding for charter schools and supported the Charter School Facilities Financing Demonstration Program during consideration of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.
Mr. Speaker, I recognize that charter schools give parents options when determining the best public school in which to enroll their children. Thus, we must ensure that all our students reach their highest academic potential, which may require attending a charter school that provides a model better suited towards an individual student's needs.