Charter school parents push back to preserve school choice

Third-grade teacher Ashley Clarke leads her class at Somerset Academy Eagle Campus in Jacksonville, Florida, which has as its focus academic excellence, leadership development, personal responsibility, community involvement and character.

Editor’s note: This commentary from Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, appeared today on the74million.org.

A parent-led rally today in Washington, D.C., is putting the charter school movement’s energy and passion on full display as supporters band together to fight for their schools and for every student’s right to a high-quality education.

The event is happening during National Charter Schools Week, an annual celebration of charter schools and the students, teachers, leaders, families, advocates and supporters who bring power and purpose to the movement.

This year’s National Charter Schools Week theme is Charter Schools Rising, and the evidence for their rise is everywhere. Demand for charter schools has never been higher, and support is strong in all quarters. It’s true that charter schools have faced significant challenges on the federal policy front — from threatened funding cuts to proposed Charter Schools Program rules that would limit educational opportunities — but each challenge offers the opportunity to show how formidable and united the movement is.

We have fended off funding cuts and organized a massive campaign to protect the rule changes. Last week, a bipartisan group of senators added their voices to the chorus calling on the U.S. Department of Education to back off its proposed changes to the Charter School Program. The department has also heard from governors, state school chiefs, educators and parents who know firsthand that charter schools are vital to educational opportunity and equity.

Today’s rally will keep that momentum going.

This week also offers the opportunity to honor and thank the 2022 Charter School Changemakers — some of the most inspiring advocates and community leaders in the movement — and the 2022 Champions for Charter Schools, federal and state policymakers who are blazing a path of opportunity for students across America.

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