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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Speaks Out Against H.R. 2218

September 14, 2011
Floor Statement
Congresswoman Maxine Waters submitted the statement below to the Congressional Record opposing the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218).

I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act. Although this bill includes some modest improvements to charter school regulation over current laws, it still falls short of ensuring that charter schools are held to high standards for educational quality, accountability and accessibility for all students.

Charter school education currently lies at the center of a growing movement to challenge traditional notions of what public education means in America. Although it is important for students to have choice within the educational model, we cannot solely rely on charter schools and private for –profit companies to solve all of our educational challenges within our public school system. There is considerable research which documents mixed reviews of success among charter schools. In a national study conducted by Stanford University economist Margaret Raymond, she found that only 17 percent of charter schools were superior to the local public schools, 37 percent of charter schools received worse results than comparable neighborhood schools and 46 percent did about the same.

With more than 1.5 million students enrolled in charter schools that vary widely in quality, it is critical that we, as a nation, have protections in place that will ensure these students achieve educational success and this bill falls short of ensuring just that. We must enhance the focus on charter schools and authorizers accountability. We must enhance the ever so important role of parents and the community's input in the authorizing process. We must to ensure that adequate educational resources play a critical role in improving achievement for all students. With this bill's lack of transparency and accountability requirements, guarantee to adequate resources and parental and community involvement we will only further exacerbate current resource and opportunity gaps in the American educational system.

I appreciate my colleague Rep. George Miller's commitment to equality education in American and his hard work on this bill but I think is important for us to take a closer look at this bill's provisions just to ensure that every student receives a quality education that is transparent, holds its educators accountable and is most importantly equal.

Thank you, I yield back the remainder of my time.