Education & Schools
Charter School Student Participation Grows By 76 Percent in Just 5 Years PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Stephanie Grisham   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 14:46
Advocates Prepare to Celebrate Success of Public Charters During National Charter Schools Week, May 6-12, 2012

Washington, D.C – The number of students attending public charter schools across the country has grown by an estimated 76 percent in the last five school years, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS).

As parents, teachers and students from across the country prepare to celebrate National Charter Schools Week next month (May 6-12, 2012), advocates are recognizing the tremendous advancements in public charter schooling that have laid a new, bipartisan foundation for education reform in America.

Student enrollment in public charter schools grew from 1,165,200 students in 2006-2007 to an estimated 2,035,261 in 2011-2012. Over the same period, the number of public charter schools grew by 41 percent – from 3,999 to 5,627 – with an expected 521 new public charter schools opening in the 2011-2012 school year alone.

“Support for public charter schools transcends party lines and ideological backgrounds, with more Americans now realizing the extraordinary opportunities that public charter schools provide to children, communities, and our country,” said Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO of NAPCS. “Yet despite the significant growth experienced in recent years, demand for charter schools in our country far outpaces the number of seats available to students in these schools.”

Next month, thousands of participants will celebrate National Charter Schools Week with special events and activities at schools across the country. The awareness generated by these events will compliment local advocacy efforts like seeking improvements to laws that would allow for the creation of new charter schools, equitable funding for charter schools when compared to traditional district schools and increased access to unused or under-utilized public school buildings.

In just 20 years, the public charter school movement has reached 41 states and the District of Columbia by enacting charter school laws. (The nine states that do not have charter school laws are Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.) Maine passed its first charter school law in the summer of 2011. There are now approximately 5,600 public charter schools enrolling what is estimated to be more than two million students nationwide. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are allowed to be more innovative while being held for accountable for improved student achievement. These figures were compiled based on data from state departments of education and state charter school support organizations and resource centers.

For more information about public charter schools, or about National Charter Schools Week, visit the website of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at www.publiccharters.org.

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The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.

 
Simon to testify in support of math bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:43

SPRINGFIELD - Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will testify Wednesday morning in support of SB 3244 before the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. The bill creates optional state math curricula that extends from middle school through the final year of high school, and aims to boost college and career readiness. In 2011, 58 percent of Illinois high school graduates did not meet the math college readiness benchmark, according to ACT.

 

TIME: 9 a.m.

DATE: Wednesday, April 25

PLACE: Room 114, State Capitol, Springfield

 

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On Eve of Obama Visit, Loebsack Urges Action on Bill to Prevent Doubling of Student Loan Rates PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Joe Hand   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:42

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today urged the House Republican leadership to swiftly bring up and pass legislation that will prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, on July 1st.  Loebsack is a cosponsor of H.R. 3826, which would ensure the increase does not occur.  If the increase were to go into effect, the average student borrower would have to pay an additional $1000.  Loebsack is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this legislation.

“With tuition rising rapidly and far too many Iowans struggling to make ends meet, middle-class families are finding it more and more difficult to pay for college. I strongly believe that every student deserves the opportunity to attend college if they wish to pursue higher education,” wrote Loebsack.  “I grew up in poverty, and I would not have had the opportunity to attend college without financial assistance. It is extremely important that we work to address student loan interest rates because without Congressional action, 7 million low- and middle-income families will be subject to a $6 billion interest rate hike.”

As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, Loebsack has championed numerous pieces of legislation to increase access to higher education, including:

  • College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) Loebsack helped craft and pass this legislation, which makes college more affordable and accessible for all Iowans by increasing the maximum Pell Grant scholarship and expanding eligibility;
  • Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, H.R. 3221 Loebsack was a cosponsor of this bill, which will save American taxpayers $61 billion by making the student loan process more efficient.  The bill further expanded the maximum Pell Grant available from $5,550 in 2010 to $5,975 in 2017, granting Iowa students more than $291 million for higher education. This bill was the largest single investment in student aid in America’s history, and will make college more accessible, transform the way student loan programs operate and strengthens community colleges.

A copy of the letter Loebsack sent to the House Speaker and the Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee can be seen here.

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Governor Quinn Announces New School Construction Project PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:36

Erie Elementary Charter School Expands Educational Opportunities for Low-Income Students

CHICAGO – April 24, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today continued his commitment to improving education in Illinois by joining students, parents, advocates and community leaders to break ground on an addition to Erie Elementary Charter School (EECS). The state is providing $12 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds to build the addition, which will help the school expand its innovative curriculum and its use of technology to improve learning.

“We must invest in 21st century facilities that will help provide our children with a 21st century education,” Governor Quinn said. “Supporting early education and elementary schools will increase students’ success in the future and help them realize their full potential, which paves the way for economic growth.”

Erie Elementary Charter School (EECS) opened in 2005 with 80 students in kindergarten through 1st grade. Its programs were based on the strong foundation of the nationally-accredited preschool program at the Erie Neighborhood House, which has been serving and educating Chicago’s low-income immigrant population since 1870. It has since expanded to serve students in grades K-5, and today’s announcement will increase its capacity to serve more than 400 low-income or disadvantaged students in grades K-8.

“Erie Elementary Charter School hopes to close the achievement gap by providing high quality, bilingual education that puts students on the path to success in secondary and higher education,” said EECS Principal Velia Soto. “We are grateful for the state’s support of these critical efforts to offer a quality education for our students.”

The new 16,000 square-foot addition will mean more classroom space for art, music and parent education, as well as extracurricular activities. The building will also host a new gymnasium, a computer lab and expanded staff office and administration space. The facility will also be compliant with the American’s with Disabilities Act and include environmentally safe and efficient processes necessary to quality for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification.

“Education plays a key role in our ability to develop and maintain a workforce that is prepared to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy,” said DCEO Director David Vaught. “This funding will help ensure more Illinois children have access to a quality educational environment and facilities that will give them a leg up and prepare them for the future.”

In his proposed budget, Governor Quinn reiterated his commitment to education, jobs and economic growth by maintaining funding for K-12 and higher education, increasing early childhood funding by $20 million, and calling for a $50 million increase for the state Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides college scholarships for needy students. Governor Quinn also recently announced $623 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help dozens of school districts statewide make critical repairs, additions and technology updates to classrooms. Combined with local dollars, the funding will allow school districts to complete projects totaling more than $1.2 billion.

To ensure the continuation of the state's capital plan and projects like these, which are putting hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents back to work, Governor Quinn has proposed necessary changes to stabilize and restructure the state's pension and Medicaid programs after decades of fiscal mismanagement. The proposals outline up to $85 billion in savings from changes to the pension system (based on current actuarial assumptions), and $2.7 billion in savings from restructuring Medicaid. These changes will lead to greater certainty in Illinois' business climate and help respond to serious concerns from the ratings' agencies. The billions of dollars saved through these reforms are key to the state's ability to ensure that critical capital improvement and road safety projects in Illinois are able to move forward.

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Rivermont Academic Invitational PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Rachel Chamberlain   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:17

Wednesday, April 25th  9:00am-2:00pm


200 Middle School students from 23 schools around the Quad Cities will come together on Wednesday, April 25th to compete in the 5th Annual Rivermont Academic Invitational (RAI). This year's theme is The Human Body. 

The Rivermont Academic Invitational is an academic team competition providing youth of the Quad City Area with opportunities to strategize and problem solve in both individual and collaborative settings. It is the goal to provide challenges which foster creative, visionary and critical thinking and encourage students to identify local, global and environmental relevance.  Activity designers and judges for this competition are professionals from many local businesses.

The competition takes place on Wednesday, April 25th from 9:00am-2:00pm on the Rivermont Collegiate campus located at 1821 Sunset Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52722.

For more information about the Rivermont Academic Invitational contact Leigh Ann Schroeder 563-359-1366 ext. 343

 
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