CONGRATULATING CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR THEIR ONGOING CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION -- (House of Representatives - May 04, 2004)
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Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of H. Res. 600, congratulating charter schools and their students, parents, teachers,
and administrators across the United States for their ongoing contributions to education. This week is the fifth annual National Charter School Week and provides a great opportunity for Congress to recognize and honor charter schools and those involved for the role they play in reforming and improving our nation's public education system.
Charter schools are public schools that agree to improved academic achievement and accountability in financial and other operations, in exchange for increased flexibility and independence. The greater autonomy allows charter schools to focus on increasing academic achievement in each student, rather than bureaucratic paperwork. Charter schools must meet all the same No Child Left Behind achievement goals as other public schools.
Charter schools are adept at meeting the specific needs of the local community in which they are located, especially in low-income communities. Nationwide, almost half of charter schools serve students considered at-risk or who have previously dropped out of school. Charter school students share similar demographic characteristics with students in all public schools, and serve significant numbers of students from low income families, minority students, and students with disabilities.
This being the case, charter schools allow many parents and students freedom of choice that otherwise would not be available, enabling them to improve their lives with a quality education. In addition, increased flexibility allows charter schools to use varied educational methods and techniques while still remaining accountable for results.
Charter schools have benefited from a strong degree of bipartisan support from the local, state, and national levels. This is evidenced by the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress when they expanded access to charter schools through the No Child Left Behind legislation. In the two years since the enactment of that legislation, Congress and the President have provided at least $200 million dollars annually to assist in the financing of new charter schools and to provide additional aid to existing schools.
It is important for Congress to recognize, through this resolution honoring National Charter Schools Week, the benefits charter schools and those involved have brought to our education system and to our nation at large. I thank my colleague from Nevada, Mr. PORTER, for introducing this resolution, and I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
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