Alexander, McConnell, Landrieu Charter-School Amendment Designed To "Replicate Best Charter Schools"

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) today introduced a budget amendment in the U.S. Senate that they said "would support the expansion and replication of charter schools that have a proven record of success."

Senator Alexander said, “There are many successful charter schools that are changing students’ lives, and it’s that success that we need to replicate to reach many more children. These schools give teachers the freedom to use their firsthand knowledge, administrators the chance to use their good judgment and parents the ability to choose better schools for their children—giving more students the chance to move up the economic ladder.”

Senator McConnell said, “I am proud to support this measure that prioritizes school choice initiatives that incentivize the expansion of successful charter school models. If our schools are failing, America fails with them. Students, parents and communities in Kentucky and across America must demand schools put students first, produce results, and reward outstanding teachers. One successful approach that has been implemented in 42 states, but not in Kentucky, is the establishment of public charter schools.”

Senator Landrieu said, “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. 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."

The senators said, "Today there are 6,000 charter schools – representing around 6 percent of all public schools – serving 2.3 million students in the United States. Charter schools, which involve more flexibility in curriculum, provide more choices for parents to improve their children’s future and more freedom for teachers and principals to increase the performance of their students.

"A recent Mathematica Policy Research study found that a sample of 43 Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) middle schools have positive and statistically significant impacts on student achievement across all years in math, reading, science and social studies and are outperforming their traditional public school peers on state assessments. Nationally, KIPP educates 41,000 students, 90 percent of whom are minority and 83 percent low income, in 125 charter schools in 20 states and D.C. According to the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University, in New York City, charter school students on average make 25 percent larger learning gains in reading and 63 percent in mathematics than their traditional public school peers. Another CREDO study found that, in Michigan, charter school students on average make 35 percent larger learning gains in reading and 42 percent in math than their traditional public school peers."

They said their amendment "would support a program that provides for the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools across the country, ultimately without increasing the debt."


Normal Park 6th Grade Students Learn About 3D Printing

Normal Park 6th grade students were captivated by Alex Cruikshank as he facilitated a brief demonstration and Q&A session on additive manufacturing through 3D printing on Wednesday. A programmer by trade, Cruikshank has quickly developed a passion and strong knowledge base about 3D printing. In the demonstration, he showed Normal Park students a variety of examples of 3D printed ... (click for more)

Local Colleges Receive National Accolades

Two Chattanooga-area colleges are receiving national recognition for excellence. Covenant College and Bryan College were ranked by U.S. News & World Reports among the top 25 Southern colleges.   In addition, Bryan College ranked as the #7 best value among all Southern colleges. U.S. News calculated value based on cost of attendance for students and quality of the education ... (click for more)

Teen, 17, Charged With Aggravated Rape In Attack On 69-Year-Old North Chattanooga Runner

A 17-year-old has been charged with aggravated rape in connection with an attack on a 69-year-old runner in North Chattanooga on Monday morning. The teen was identified by Juvenile Court officials as Diontae Smartt. Authorities said he has given a confession. Smartt has a detention hearing Thursday at 12:30. The incident happened at approximately 7:30 a.m. ... (click for more)

Berke Implements New Pay Plan For Chattanooga Fire Department

Mayor Andy Berke joined the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and leadership of the Chattanooga Fire Department to unveil the department’s new pay plan Wednesday afternoon. At a press conference at Fire Hall #1 on Main Street, Mayor Berke and IAFF Local 820 President Jack Thompson signed a memorandum of understanding which sets forth regular raises for fire ... (click for more)

Leaders Lead On Amendment 1

This week the Hamilton County Commission was faced with what I believe may be one of the most important votes they have cast during their tenure.  Granted, the vote was over a "mere" Resolution that resulted in no overt action or new law in our county.  But there are times when simply speaking Truth and taking a stand on a foundational Principle is paramount and as such ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Expert Reasons Why To Vote

Early voting for the November election begins two weeks from today so please jump-start your plans that will assure your choices will be counted. In a fun-filled attempt to show what some of those who actually vote do during the rest of the day, I offer two examples of “those who live among us” from experts. The first are a series of questions from readers of “Dear Abby” who ask ... (click for more)