To mark National Charter Schools Week, I hosted three virtual classrooms via Skype this week with students in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I took questions from them and discussed many topics, including Louisiana’s recent education reform, the national debt and tips for doing well in school. Be sure to read The Advocate’s story or watch WAFB’s report on my virtual classrooms.
Tuesday morning, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., my co-chair of the Senate Charter School Caucus, appeared with me on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where we discussed our bipartisan work on charter schools and education reform. During the show, I highlighted the remarkable achievement of students in New Orleans, where nearly 80 percent of all public school students attend charters.
Public charter schools provide quality options for families that are not fortunate enough to live in areas with a robust public education system, or do not have the means to pay for private schools. Currently, 5,275 charter schools serve more than 2 million children in our country. They are required to meet the student achievement accountability requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in the same manner as traditional public schools.
In Louisiana, we are seeing dramatic gains in educational outcomes with quality public charter schools. Parents who are doing everything they can to give their children every opportunity for success deserve not only a quality choice, but a solution to educating them. Successful charter schools provide that choice and that solution. The time is now to make them a central component of our education strategy all across the country.
A happy Mother’s Day this Sunday to all of Louisiana’s mothers.
All the best,