Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) praised House passage of the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218) earlier today:
"Providing a quality education for our children is necessary for the United States to remain competitive," Griffin said. "Charter schools enable parents to play an active role in their child's education by allowing them to decide where their child is educated. They also provide students with a better chance to reach their educational potential because charter schools on average outperform traditional public schools. I was proud to support this bill, which will encourage states to support the development and expansion of charter schools."
Charter schools are public schools created through a contract with an authorized agency or local school district. According to the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas has 29 active charter schools serving over 11,000 students. An estimated 420,000 students are currently on charter school waiting lists across the nation.
Scott Smith, executive director of the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (ARSRC) and an advocate for public schools in Arkansas, said he is encouraged by the passage of this bill.
"APSRC supports the approval of H.R. 2218 as it forces states around the country to get serious with the idea of creating greater choice opportunities for students interested in attending public charter schools while also creating accountability for higher quality charter schools," Smith said.
The federal government offers local school districts competitive grants, which are issued by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act's Charter Schools Program (CSP) for the opening of public charter schools. Currently, CSP does not provide funding for the replication or expansion of high quality charter schools. H.R. 2218 would streamline CSP by reducing administrative burdens and providing funding opportunities for the replication of successful charter schools.