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Public Statements

Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

In the earliest days of our Republic, our prosperity came from our abundant natural resources. Then in later days, our prosperity came from the fact that we were bordered by two vast oceans to our east and west which gave us an isolated domestic market.

In the days after the Second World War, our prosperity was grounded in the fact that we were the sole remaining industrial power untouched by the Second World War, relatively speaking.

All of those advantages relatively speaking are gone; and the way we're going to be prosperous today and in the future is by having the best educated, best motivated workforce anywhere in the world. We're not going to have that best educated and best motivated workforce without a high-quality education for every child in America.

I see this bill as a step in that direction by enriching and making more accountable the charter school movement in our country.

Make no mistake about it: all charter schools are not perfect. Many charter schools, frankly, are very troubled. But the charter school movement has been a positive step forward for our country. This bill adds accountability to that movement and adds new resources that I think are welcome.

I would echo the words of Ranking Member Miller and note that 90 percent of children in America's schools are in public schools. And the principal legislative action we have on those public schools is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I know that the chairman of the committee has worked very diligently to prepare the committee for the work we could do on that. And I'm hopeful that we can have the same kind of cooperative effort for the ESEA reauthorization as we have for this charter school bill.

There is much more to do, but today is a good first step. I urge a ``yes'' vote.


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