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Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 1149 which recognizes the important impact charter schools have on students across the nation who attend them.
Charter schools have been one of the fastest-growing innovative forces in education policy. In the past 4 years, 1,600 new charter schools opened and 500,000 additional public school students chose to enroll in charter schools nationwide.
In my home state of New Jersey, 68 approved charter schools serve more than 22,000 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. These schools, through creative solutions and selfless dedication, provide an invaluable service to children caught in failing public school systems.
I have been a longtime advocate of school choice. Giving parents options for their child's education not only helps to better educate students, but can also help to build stronger, more prosperous communities. As incubators of innovation in education, charter schools challenge other schools to do better.
Not every child in America is fortunate enough to attend a high performing public school or has the means to afford a first-rate private or parochial education. And, we all know the story of many failing public schools across the nation: Low graduation rates. High dropout rates. Low mathematics and reading scores. Charter schools, school vouchers and other programs that give families a choice in their child's education have and will continue to make a significant and positive impact on those statistics.
We can no longer be distracted by the ideological battles surrounding educational choice and competition while children graduate without the skills to succeed here at home, or even less so in our global economy.
Madam speaker, I close today in appreciation for the teachers and students of charter schools, and the communities and private donors that support them, for their contributions and achievements and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
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