U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) is a cosponsor of the Charter School Quality Act of 2011, which was introduced Wednesday to bring a critical focus to charter school authorizing standards and to improve the quality of education in American charter schools.
"I take very seriously the responsibility of ensuring that our children are provided with the resources they need to reach their highest educational potential," Senator Coons said. "Charter schools are a growing part of the education landscape in Delaware and around the nation, but so far they have produced mixed results. As the number of charter schools grows, we must ensure that they are offering the highest quality of education."
Delaware's first charter school opened in 1996, but there are now 19 charter schools in operation around the state serving more than 8,500 students. Another four new charter schools are expected to open in Delaware this year.
The Charter School Quality Act of 2011 will modify the Public Charter Schools Program by giving grant priority to states that ensure their charter school authorizers follow research-based best practices, evaluate the effectiveness of their authorizers and publically report such evaluations. It will also require student academic achievement to be a primary factor in charter school approval, renewal, and revocation decisions.
The legislation -- which carries no new cost -- would also establish a new competitive grant program for high-quality charter schools, authorizers, and nonprofit charter-support organizations to disseminate best-in-class innovations to other schools, authorizers and states.
The bill was introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and was cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). It has been endorsed by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.