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House passes constitutional amendment on public charter schools


educationThe Virginia House of Delegates passed a constitutional amendment on Friday that will lead to the creation of more public charter schools in Virginia.

The amendment, introduced by Delegate Rob Bell (R-Albemarle), would allow the State Board of Education to establish public charter schools within the framework and limitations established by the General Assembly.  Under the current proposed framework, charter school applications start at the local school board.  If the school board denies the application, the decision may be appealed to the State Board of Education.  The State Board would be limited to hearing five appeals per year.  House Joint Resolution 1 passed the House 52 to 47.

“The fact that this legislation is House Joint Resolution 1 demonstrates how important this amendment is to the House of Delegates and the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have an historic opportunity to bring about a meaningful change in our education system,” saidHouse Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).  “All children in Virginia deserve access to a quality education, regardless of their zip code or how much money their parents make.  Even President Obama agrees that charter schools ‘are gateways to higher education and endless possibilities, lifting up students of all backgrounds and empowering them to achieve a brighter future.’ I want to thank Delegates Rob Bell, Scott Lingamfelter and all of my colleagues who support this amendment.”

“Charter schools provide parents and students with additional opportunities,” said Delegate Bell.  “Not every child is a good fit for traditional public schools, but every child deserves the opportunity to succeed.  Public charter schools encourage parental involvement, and can be especially equipped to meet the unique needs of all different types of children.  Studies show that public charter schools help to close the achievement gap, giving children in minority and underserved communities the opportunity to succeed.  I want to thank my colleagues for their support of this major initiative, and look forward to having this amendment on the ballot in November.”

“The Virginia House of Delegates took advantage of a major opportunity to amend Virginia’s Constitution to establish a framework to expand charter schools in Virginia,” said House Education Committee Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “Public charter schools are some of the nation’s most successful public schools.  The number two and number four public high schools in the country are public charters, according to The US News & World Report.  That is because charter schools significantly improve academic performance, boost college acceptance rates, and lead to more successful careers in life.  This amendment will give communities and families across Virginia the opportunity to improve their local education system.”



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