In a major education policy speech today, President Barack Obama called on states to lift arbitrary caps on the growth of public charter schools.
In outlining a bold and transformative education strategy for America's competitiveness, President Obama called "promoting innovation and excellence" a key element of his plan and stated, "One of the places where much of that innovation occurs is in our most effective charter schools."
The President urged that states remove the artificial caps on charter school growth that now exist in 26 states and the District of Columbia. He said "Right now, there are caps on how many charter schools are allowed in some states, no matter how well they are preparing our students. That isn't good for our children, our economy, or our country." Provided that charter school accountability is ensured, President Obama said "I call on states to reform their charter rules, and lift caps on the number of allowable charter schools, wherever such caps are in place."
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nelson Smith commended President Obama's call for a lifting of caps. "With 365,000 students on charter waiting lists, there is no excuse for state laws that stifle the growth of these schools," said Smith. "President Obama has taken a bold step by challenging states to get on the reform bandwagon. He's right to couple the promise of growth with a demand for accountability - and nowhere will you find stronger support for high-quality chartering than in the charter movement itself.
At this critical time, students must have educational options that will prepare them for the 21st century economy. President Obama's call to lift charter caps will open a new chapter, especially in states where caps have limited the future prospects for thousands of students."
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