SOURCE: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

January 08, 2008 08:48 ET

Statement From the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on the 6th Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 8, 2008) - Six years ago today, the No Child Left Behind Act became law. This bipartisan achievement moved the nation closer to realizing the original promise of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- to open wide the doors to equal educational opportunity for all American students.

On this anniversary, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools encourages Congress to renew serious efforts to pass an improved NCLB. The Act's commitment to achievement and accountability must be maintained while making sensible improvements to parts of the law that aren't working. In particular, we call on Congress to address the "supply side" of reform. Now that the Act is documenting the shortcomings in our existing public schools, NCLB also should be an engine for creating vital new public education choices in every community that needs them.

This was the thrust of the Alliance's policy statement, "Creating the Schools Our Nation Needs: NCLB Reauthorization and the Promise of Public Charter Schools." Many of its major recommendations, including adding "growth" as a measure of school progress, have been widely embraced. We're particularly grateful that several bills, including H.R. 2904 and the House Education and Labor committee discussion draft, endorsed retooling the federal Charter School Program to promote startup and replication of high-quality public charter schools.

There is much work yet to be done. NCLB is not perfect, and the Alliance will continue bringing Congress evidence from the trenches about improvements that need to be made to the Act.

But we call on all our political leaders, in and out of Congress, to remember the spirit in which NCLB was enacted -- and to leave aside the sloganeering and partisan bickering that has too often replaced thoughtful debate in recent weeks. Reauthorization should not be delayed by well-financed antagonists of accountability; it's time to get to work in earnest.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (www.publiccharters.org) is the national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. The Alliance works to increase the number of high performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and minority families who currently do not have access to quality public schools. The Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement.

For the full text of "Creating the Schools Our Nation Needs: NCLB Reauthorization and the Promise of Public Charter Schools," see http://www.publiccharters.org/content/publication/detail/1914/

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