CHICAGO - Although Illinois charter schools' governing system faces attack in the Illinois General Assembly, Tuesday, charter schools were celebrated in Washington DC, and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) was recognized for championing their cause at the federal level.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools presented Kirk with the 2014 Charter Champion Award at the U.S. Capitol. Illinois Network of Charter Schools President Andrew Broy thanked him for his support of charter schools, and described the role he played in bringing charter options to families in North Chicago.
“In an era of divisive politics, it’s encouraging to have leaders representing Illinois who prioritize education and empower families by supporting high-quality charter public schools,” said Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “Education remains our country’s great equalizer of opportunity. Senator Kirk’s commitment to improving academic achievement and public school options for all students is a shining example of how legislators can work to put families first.”
Earlier this year, Senator Kirk announced new legislation that would promote year-round elementary and secondary school pilot programs to boost academic achievement in low-income, low-performing school districts across the nation. He outlined the legislation at Alain Locke Charter School, which has academic classes year-round, and serves the under-resourced community of East Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side.
The Charter Champion awards are given annually during National Charter Schools Week, which celebrates the great work accomplished by charter public schools across the country that now serve more than 2.5 million students.
Kirk was one of seven 2014 award recipients from across the country. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) received the award last year making Illinois the only state where both federal Senators have been awarded. Former ChicagoMayor Richard Daley received the award in 2007.
In Illinois, charter public schools currently serve nearly 60,000 students in 145 campuses across the state.