tv Charter Schools CSPAN June 15, 2018 8:00pm-10:21pm EDT
examining westward expansion and taking over native american lands. and sunday at 4 pm eastern on real america, the 1944 film, the memphis belle, a story of a flying fortress which documents one of the first b-17 bombers that completed 25 missions in europe without being shot down. watch the c-span networks this weekend. >> house hearing on charter schools. the senate energy committee looks in two regulations in later airport secretary on the role of airport -- airpower in strategy. >> education advocate testified against charter schools on wednesday and answered questions about the advantages and disadvantages of the school's. for students and the public school system.
congresswoman virginia foxx, cheers the education and workforce committee. this is two hours and 15 minutes. >> the morning. >> did morning. the committee on education will come to order. welcome to today's hearing. i wanted to thank our panel witnesses in our members for being here today. as we talk about charter schools and the invaluable role that these institutions play in the lives of the students. all students, regardless of zip code, deserve access to high-
quality education. and giving students the opportunity -- opportunity to drive in eight learning environment that best suits their unique educational needs. every student is different, and family should be empowered to choose whatever school best suits their child strengths rather than being forced into one-size-fits-all approach. for many, charter schools are the best option for their students. to hone his or her individual ability and build a successful life. those are still relatively new on the scene. with the first having open just over 25 years ago. charter schools have proven, and immensely popular option. these institutions currently serve 3 million schools nationwide -- student near -- nationwide and another 5 million would enroll and a charter school if given the chance. in an effort to make this growing demand, the every student succeed act maintained and in proved the charter
school program. the new law included reforms not only to support the development, of high quality schools but also to allow for the expansion and replication of high-quality charter schools already found around the country. the reforms include requirements to help the schools improve recruitment, and retain their students as well to support better authorizing practices. and reforms to help charter schools access facilities financing. charter schools also face regular -- rigorous accountability. they have to comply with the same accountability requirements as all other public schools.including the accountability requirements. but they also face a rigorous approval process just to open doors. and have to meet the expectations of the parents. sending their children to the school. too often, students and -- in underserved areas suffer from a
lack of educational opportunities. and by default remain trapped in the failing status quo. what we need for primary and secondary education and the traditional public schools in the area are struggling to produce strong student outcomes. charter schools can offer students a lifeline. in fact, charter schools can be the difference between a student dropping out of high school and going on to pursue postsecondary education. data reported by the 74 million , shows that charter school students from high-performing charter school networks, graduate from college at 3-5 times the national average for children from low income families. i've had the privilege of hearing from charter school parents and students and they consistently tell me the same thing. their local charter school provided them with new hope, an opportunity when the traditional public schools in
their area failed. over the weekend i saw that positive impact firsthand. i had the honor of speaking at the commencement ceremony, for millennium charter academy in my district. is school i have seen grow from the ground up. into a thriving, exciting and inspiring place. it's because of schools like millennium charter that more students in my district have a shot at building a prosperous life. today's hearing presented opportunity to examine them numerous ways charter schools are changing lives. it also prevents -- presents an opportunity to recommit to what matters most. giving more students the opportunity to receive an excellent education that inspires a lifelong love of learning. for that i recognize ranking members scott for his opening statement. >> thank you madam chair, the
title today's hearings to just the power of charter schools nothing but positive. there are limited exception will describe the second of schools that is fixing our nation's dismal system of public education, and satisfying all parents. we call to increase federal charter school funding and -- for rapid growing charter schools across the country. this telling is only part of the study. is part of our job to examine the full impact of charter schools, both good, and bad for the children and families they serve. this is usually the case, the truth about charter schools is complicated. some good, and great is happening in the public charter schools. there are some areas there are some serious and legitimate concerns. a large scale study of student data of 60 states that stanford
university found that 17% of charter schools produce academic gain that were significantly better than traditional public schools. 17%. 37% of charter schools performed worse than the traditional public schools counterpart. 27% -- i used to say on average, charter schools are average, this recent research is showing that on average, charter schools are below average. other school education or is have a bedrock about democracy is noted by founding fathers and numerous supreme court justices the provision of free developmental education to all children, serves a compelling community interest. public school choice helps fully realize the promise of the public school, the student that delivers quality for every student in every public school it has met and has full support.
laces like denver, and massachusetts have successfully used and build a cohesive system delivering quality across the board. denver and massachusetts are the bright spot, michigan and detroit in particular are on the public school choice. in early 2000, michigan reliably ranked above the national average. however by 2015, only 7 state scored lower on fourth grade reading, in most states scored lower for black states reading and math. school scored below those in every other major american city. things in part to the political advocacy and financial support michigan has become a cautionary tale of free-market
ideology applied to public education. the state legislature first enacted and accepts repeatedly weekend and oversight the charter authorization standards. in doing so it invited a surge of unchecked charter expansion without planing or purpose. michigan is now what many refer to as the wild west of charter school reforms. in detroit, 12 different authorities have opened and closed schools without coordination, or uniform standards of accountability. recent study for michigan's university found that the financial strain on school districts, including detroit, was overwhelmingly caused by the declining enrollment and revenue loss especially with school choice in charters are most prevalent. this research shows as a date lacks charter accountability, schools and cities a wide lost nearly half of their revenue in a span of 10 years. unlike states that use public school choice to improve
quality across the board, michigan used charter schools to undermine and dismantle the public system. the state diverted public dollars to low-quality, poor charters and saturated the marketplace and use the declining enrollment as a justification to close other non-charter public schools. nowhere is this truer than detroit were there been more than 160 school openings and closings since 2010. as a result units in parents are suffering in a chaotic and and and audible publics system that is devoid of quality and life with poor actors under delivering. academics has gotten worse. 86% of the charter schools are for-profit. achievement is below the statewide average. while the state took modest depth in 2016 to write them of these wrongs, more must be done. i look forward to hearing the perspective of jonathan clark
and detroit. and onto the impact of irresponsible policy choices. in 2010, the year before michigan lifted its charter, the date one a $7 million grant from the federal charter school program. the csp. the committees responsibility to have honest dialogue about our role in protecting students and taxpayers from gross abuses before we increase funding and promote public school choice with the expense of increasing federal investment in corporal grant like title 1. in response to operational challenges in the charter school program and the sp -- csp. the significant risk of taxpayers imposed by federal investment in states like a chicken, with extremely weak charter school laws that allowed unaccountable, low quality schools to flourish.
the every student succeeds act included a stronger provision, focusing on quality authorizing, focusing on quality, authorizing equity for mi and students. these changes were long overdue. csp has a limited policy on who -- on what charter quality nationwide and those participating need to improve it. the policy approach fails to ensure quality across the state. unless there is -- improvements , they are missing a approach and an important step. giving the secretaries advocacy in michigan, there are serious and justifiable concerns under the present leadership. the department will not hold department grant -- grantors accountable. and concerned that these secretary will not or improve
student diversity or the priority of what to include. this will not be the first time that the department has ignored equity guard rails in the law. in 2016 i released the findings from a gao study on racial and -- economical studies. they found on the whole public education was re-segregating and that rapid growth of socioeconomical and racial isolation in charter schools was a contributing factor. the number of highly segregated schools, more than doubled between 2001 and 2014. to 15,000 schools. during that time there was a decrease in the prevalence -- during that time there was a decrease of the prevalence of segregated non-charter public schools, the share of segregated charter schools increase from
the shot to 13%. in 2001 there was just 210 segregated charter schools by 2014 there were nearly 2000. educational segregation is highly debated but fax, or fax. we now have more choice options than ever before in the public system is more segregated now, since 1970. a system where fewer children are going to neighborhood schools and communities are segregated due to decades of discriminatory zoning and housing policy, aggregation should be decreasing and said it is on the rise. studies have shown that, policies around the world we've had warnings that choice must come with checks and balances to prevent -- to make sure there is no adverse impact on any quality in segregation. in a 2017 publication, andrea's
s. was quoted to sing the risk of voucher systems results in higher levels of social segregation, among schools, less social and cultural heterogeneity among schools and less access to high-quality education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. this risk can be litigated -- mitigated by weight -- by the way the systems are designed. to avoid protections exasperates segregation in separate with the charter or non-charter is inherently unequal. in closing, i will refer to the words of mr. shall occur who said, the more flexibility there is in a system the stronger the policy needs to be. in other words publics will choice, with public oversight and strong accountability, can improve our system as a whole. choice devoid of strong policy
will not. thank you madam chair. >> the committee rules, all members will be permitted to submit written statements for the record. it will be remained open for 14 days to allow such demands and other strenuous materials referenced during the hearing. to be submitted for the official hearing record. i will now, introduced our distinguished witnesses. mrs. nina reese aziz president and chief executive officer of the national alliance for public charter schools. mr. greg richman is the president and ceo of the national association of charter school authorizer's. mr. jonathan clark is a parent and community activists in detroit. doctor martin west is associate at the harvard graduate school of education. and i will ask our witnesses to raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear from the
testimony you're about to give, will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? let the record reflect our witnesses answered in the affirmative, if i recognize you to provide your testimony, let me briefly remind you of our lighting them. we will allow five minutes for witness to present testimony, we will began the light in front of you will turn green, when one -- when one minute is left it will be yellow, at the five minute mark your light will turn red. at that point i ask you to wrap up your testimony. members will each have 5 and it to ask questions of the witnesses. mrs. reese, you are recognized for 5 minutes. stock ranking members and -->> thank you. how charter schools are providing opportunity. my name is nina reese and i'm the president and ceo for the public alliance of charter
schools. the name of our organization reflects a fundamental fact about charter school. charter schools are public schools. they are open for all students, they are open to all students with no admission requirements, and no tuition. they are diverse in every sense. serving children from every background, and ability level. located in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. offering a variety of school models. that make education dynamic for students to learn in different ways. one of the most uplifting aspects of my job is visiting charter schools around the country. a few weeks ago, i visited green charter school in harlem. the school was organized by community leaders who saw that the children and their neighborhood needed access to healthy activities. it began as an athletic program on 2 baseball diamond and grew into an afterschool program and then a summer enrichment program , and then finally realizing that they could have their biggest impact in the school
day, the founders started a charter school. today, dream charter school is about 650's units. 27% of these unions have special needs, higher than the citywide average of 21%. and dream students outperform city peers and district peers on both english language arts and math exams. dream is just one mac of 7000 public charter schools serving 2.2 million students across 43 states. charter schools now educate 6% of the k-12 students nationally. with much higher percentages in some communities. they are more likely than other public goals to enroll students of color, as well as students from low-income backgrounds. where charter schools are available, students no longer have her academic options limited by their zip code. the growing number of charter schools are making diversity and essential component of their design alongside academic excellence. leaders in cities such as denver, san antonio, and indianapolis, have pursued
collaboration between districts and charter schools in order to make high-quality public school options accessible to as many students as possible. charter schools thrive where they have the freedom to innovate, pursue diverse ways of teaching and to respond to the needs of today's rather than the mandate of bureaucracies. charter schools perform best when they are held to high standards. accountability, is a central value to charter schools. we know for public school choice to be truly meaningful, public school choices, must be of high quality. in addition to be held accountable to policy makers and authorizer's, charter schools are also held accountable to parents and caregivers, who want what is best for their children. the growth of the charter school movement has been made possible by these parents, and by the consistent of the bipartisan support from policymakers. president clinton, bush, obama and trump has all supported
charter schools. democrats and republicans in the house have asked ended access to charter schools to the charter schools program. we are grateful to chairwoman scott breaking -- ranking scott and we are helpful for -- grateful for the every student succeeds act. we are a long wait for meeting the parental demand for charter schools. 5 million additional students would want or would want to go to a charter school if one was available in their neighborhood. the need for more charter schools is securely acute in rural areas and tribal lands. even in our largest cities were charter schools have the largest presence, there is no too many students on waitlist and neighborhoods that have no access to charter schools. the limited availability, of high cost -- and high cost facilities are one of the impediments of the growth of charter schools. charter schools often don't have access to funding sources
that support facilities need like district schools. they must meet their facilities need using funds that they would otherwise support otherwise support their academic programs. it's a situation, that requires immediate and urgent assistance. recent funding increases in congress will help support the creation of hundreds of additional charter school solving -- serving thousands of units and provides sorely needed assistance to improve charter school facilities. the charter school community is grateful for this funding, and looks forward to the federal government continuing to strengthen, its commitment to charter school students. we appreciate the committee support for public school options, and we urge you to do all you can to make sure that charter schools are accessible to as many and more students who want or need them. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. richmond you can go for five minutes.
>> good morning chairwoman fox, ranking member scott and those of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about charter schools. my name is greg richmond and i'm the president of the national association of charter school authorizer's. we are here today for the same reason. too many children in america do not have an opportunity to attend a good school, that prepares them for success in life. charter schools are one-way, but not the only way to give more kids access to a good school. if we truly want all children in america to get a good education, then we need a system of education that is diverse, and contains many paths . charter schools are important part of that day versus them now serving 3 million students and growing. more importantly, students who have traditionally been underserved are now benefiting. study show, that african- american, hispanic, low income
and special education students at charter schools show positive gains in math and reading. to their peers in public schools. the charter school idea is based on 3 pillars. access, autonomy, and accountability. when all 3 pillars are present and healthy, charter schools excel and the students get a greater education. the entities authorized charter schools play an important role -- role balancing each of these pillars. in most states school districts authorized charter schools. in some states, universities, state agencies and state charter school boards and others do this work. or some combination of all of the above. type of institution and authorizer's job is to approve, monitor and renew charter schools. because they are public schools, the authorizer's and date hold charter schools accountable in many ways. some of the ways are the same as traditional public schools, others go above and beyond.
for example, charter schools administer the same standardized test as all other public pools. he must comply with all federal laws and nondiscrimination. they must conduct annual audit of their finances and in most states they are subject to the same public information and transparency laws as any other public body. they can lose their charter if they perform poorly and perhaps most importantly, a charter school can only exist if parents choose to send their children to it. some of you may be thinking right now, you've heard of a charter school that has not complied everything on this list. this is certainly true. most charter schools are doing a good job for kids and played by the rules some are not. good authorizer's monitor the performance and actions of their schools and step in his thing is wrong. however, this is not always happening. where we have significant problem with charter school
accountability, the root of the problem is often school authorizing. -- good authorizing. it's also important for the other pillars. as public schools charter schools should be accessible to all students. that means they must have fair and transparent applications and lotteries. no student should be inappropriately asked felt or taken out of the school. charter schools open doors of opportunity to all students, especially those that do not currently have access to a good school. and a good authorizer helps expand access to all in by creating an equitable systems and providing families with information to make choices. a good authorizer also ensures that each school has economy and flexibility it needs to be innovated, and excellent. we do not want a one size fits all standardized education system. children are unique, and meet a variety and types of schools to meet their unique needs. so good authorizing make sure there is a good balance of these three mac pillars.
access, autonomy, and accountability. the problem is we don't have good authorizing everywhere. we have a goldilocks situation. some authorizer's are doing too much, some are doing too little, and some are getting interest rate. where we have a significant problems with charter schools and the root of the problem is often poor authorizing. there is a role for the federal government in improving federal -- school authorizing. federal laws already provide appropriate parameters for special education and. -- nondiscrimination. in addition, the bipartisan reforms within the charter school program, already reward and encourage estate to improve charter school quality. after that, there is no one size it's all solution. that's for charter school authorizing in every state. every state has a unique charter school law, history and experience and it's up to each state to take appropriate action. collectively each of these bodies much -- must hold
accountability. with many charter schools a lot of this is working really well right now. asked the millions of parents and families who are choosing a charter school for their child. if there are real issues, questions and opportunities involving charter schools with real consequences for children. i am delighted we are having this conversation. too many children in america do not have the opportunity to attend a good school. this helps more children get that opportunity. that is why we are working to strengthen charter schools across the country and i think you for supporting this work.>> thank you. mr. clark you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. good morning representative fox, and scott and members of the committee. my name is jonathan philip clark. i'm the father of 7 wonderful children and in iraq were veteran. i work at mission city a nonprofit that provides
mentoring, tutoring and art camp during the summer. i live with my wife, and 4 of our children. i also serve on the board of directors before moving forward a group of parents and students advocate for high-quality, equitable education for detroit children. of my 7 children. 3 currently attend school in detroit. we have had children in public, charter, and private school. we have had good and bad experience in all three mac. there are fewer experienced is in charter schools that i want to bring to your attention. my oldest daughter attended university academy charter school for 4 years. the students attended schools from 8 am until 5 pm with 2 hours of math and 2 hours of english each day. as well is a weekly class to prepare them for college. the school also promised dual a roman -- enrollment for the students.
for the first few years the school kept its promise. then during my daughter's 10th grade year the two hours of math and english were reduced to 45 minutes per day. and the college seminar class was reduced to a once a month meeting after school and only sums units were invited to attend. when we asked about the dual enrollment program we were told our daughter would maintain a 4.0 since kindergarten was not eligible since she had not scored high enough on her practice act test. you why a had 5 principles in 3 years. an audit revealed that the school could not account for $300,000 of title 1 funds. the board canceled the contract with the management company and then signed a contract with the new management company, headed by the exact same person. a second new management company decided to close the school a week before school started.
when parents, teachers, and students press for answers we were ordered by the board. you may think that you why a was a unique situation but around the same time my other 2 daughters attended other charters with similar problems. the management company that ran both of those schools left in the middle of the school year. firing the principals and some teachers without notifying the parents. friends of mine, are struggling today at a school, that has had 5 the polls, and 2 management companies in 5 years. others point out we had a choice. cricket they are wickedly. the system of choice is premised on the belief that the threat of a leaving, will incentivize schools to get better. but parents do not want to leave. if you ever had to figure out a transportation schedule for 4 kid at 4 different schools you understand what i am saying.
if you've ever had to watch your child struggle to find new friends yet again, you will understand what i am saying. if you have ever gotten a different job just to you could accommodate your kids schedules, you understand what i'm saying. when parents try to voice our frustrations and ask for ability in the management of the school, and for the school to deliver what it had promised, we learned there was not an elect the board we could vote out. the charter authorizer, we were supposed to go to, was 350 miles away from the city of detroit. the system allows the people who are in charge, the authorizer's, and to a lesser extent the board members, to have no personal relationship to the consequences of their decisions. these schools are not in the neighborhoods. their children do not attend the school's. the children of their friends and neighbors do not attend the school's. michigan's charter system has allowed schools to promised things, and not deliver them.
and to continue to take taxpayer money, without providing michigan and in particular detroit students a quality education. i encourage you as members of this committee to remain vigilant in holding education secretary divorce -- devos that was enacted. her act is no longer confined to michigan. based on my experience i do not wish michigan charter policies on the nation. the word choice sounds good. but the system of choice that we live in requires my wife and i to drive around our city for hours to get our children to and from their schools. it requires us to attend countless open houses, and be wooed by promises of afterschool program, you'll enrollment, state-of-the-art technology, advanced reading and math.
this is my children's lives, and their education. they do not get to do it again. even more than choice, they deserve a quality education and parents deserve a voice in that education. thank you. >> doctor, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, members of the -- community. thank you for letting me be here today. i am an associate professor at the harvard school of education. and the board of commonwealth of massachusetts. our state soul charter school authorizer. the 2017 assessment of progress. often called the nation's report card. the latest result showed a small uptick in eighth grade reading scores but were otherwise flat. continuing a period of stagnation that has persist did for a decade. the flag of progress had led some to question the model
school reform we have gotten over the few years. the questions are appropriate but should not lead people away from ones that have worked. low performing urban school districts have had a good results with charter schools. the federal government have provided the charter sector with vertical support, startup funds, facility finance and since 2010, grants to replicate or expand charter schools with a strong track record. this is an attractive model of education policy. supporting promising state policies, and encouraging not mandating, that other states can do -- consider them. in my view, the accumulated research on charter schools also speak for the value of and continued need for the federal investments. it confirms that charter schools are providing high- quality options for millions of students in need of alternative education. they are doing so in a cost
effective way and that the performance of the charter sector is improving over time in stark contrast to the stagnation seen amongst public schools is a whole. it's often said the evidence on charter schools is next. individual charter schools do vary widely -- very widely as mr. clark illustrates. most comprehensive studies suggest little difference on average and how much you and learn in charter and nearby district schools. but by dismissing the track work -- track record there are put -- clear benefit students from low income backgrounds, urban areas, or students of color. all groups where educational opportunities are limited. studies for my own state illustrates his pattern of results. in our urban centers each year of attendance haven't oversubscribed charter middle school, increase student achievement by 15% of the
standard deviation of reading, 32% in math. these effects are among the largest on record for an educational intervention implemented at gail. large enough to close the gap in 3 years. in contrast, attending a charter school in a suburban area lowers their achievement by small amount even though they are popular enough to have submissions lottery. many of these nonurban charter schools have a creative emphasis. even so, this pattern strongly sick just, that the availability of charter schools have improved the equity of student outcomes in our state. nationwide particularly impressive in many dates charters continue to get less funding than the district peers. as much is 20% less according to a 2014 study. this funding gap implies a charter school provide a far
greater return on investment on pop -- serving on public education. there's also evidence of the performance of the charter sector is improving overtime for multiple reasons. first, many charter schools are new and tend -- schools become better as a mature. also schools that are part of nonprofit. which tend to be more effective in standalone schools. most importantly, research for multiples date say that low performing charter schools are more likely to close either due to a lack of parental demand, or result to authorizer decision. this provides a mechanism for continuous improvement that's generally not present in the traditional public sector there. it's worth -- secretary there. -- sector. it does not come at the expense of students enrolled in traditional districts. the presence of charter schools has a mart of -- modest positive affect. there's a
number of growing charter schools partnering with districts to share best practices. is therefore disappointing, that after decade of climbing ice-9% a year growth in the number of charter schools nationally, has fallen to 2% over the past 3 years. it's not due to lack of demand. is not due to a lack of need. 1 factor is surely the gap in the state and local funding that they receive and entrepreneurs for adequate school facilities. this may continued federal support and investment in the charter school sector all the more vital. thank you and i look forward to your questions.>> again i want to thank the witnesses for being here today. and for sharing your testimony with us.i will now recognize members for 5 minutes. >> i appreciate the opportunity to be here. i appreciate you guys being
here today. i'm from kentucky, i just finished i've got 21 counties. because of what's going on, a lot of people came, and her interest in charter schools and my answer was thus decided in frankfurt not in washington. i know we are looking at this and how we can is to move forward. a lot of it kentucky passed a charter school all last year if i remember correctly. there are still unknowns of the process. i know mr. richmond you're from the association of authorizer's, what happens is is date past the charter school on every state is different i guess ours is public charter school. what is the process that i can explain to some of my constituents when i'm home? it's been authorizing the
governor signs it and then what place next? if you know kentucky situation that be great? >> i have some familiarity. but i'm not completely familiar. as you said in kentucky there are public charter schools and to be clear they are everywhere in the country. and everest date charter schools are public schools. in the process in kentucky, it ended up with a law that limited charter schools, to just a few communities. i think it was louisville, and lexington. are the only two mac cities were charter schools are permitted in kentucky if i recall correctly. in those two cities folks that want to chart -- start a charter school educators, community organizers, was her idea or educational plan and what rate levels to they want to serve? where will it be located? just answer a lot of questions and then get it approved by the
authorizer's in kentucky. to operate. those conversations are just the beginning right now in kentucky. and if there is something that happens in terms of the establishment of a charter school in kentucky. it will not be this fall. may be the year after. >> is or something from the federal level that would get in the way or that we can improve her health process? or is it something that happens in frank, indianapolis>> is mostly driven by what's happening in frankfurt or louisville. there are folks in kentucky working on getting this up and going to -- the federal charter school program is a competitive grant program that would allow folks in kentucky to apply for some funds to help get that going. so they can apply in the next cycle for some of those funds to help get the started.'s talk in your testimony i had to step
to another committee doctor west, you mentioned at the end about tuition for law? could you explain the importance of providing charter schools assistance force facilities and why don't they have asked us to buildings like traditional public schools do? that up to each state? i guess it depends. >> quickly charter schools by a margin not have access the same funding streams that are available to traditional cyst them such as municipal funds and local tax credit. the way to litigate that is by having a or have the state enact a law that would attach funding to follow children to charter schools. the average if you file it does not include financing. there are several ones that are helping. the extent there's a
discussion about infrastructure at the national level, federal level that other place where we can certainly highlight the discrepant between what charters get and what the traditional system get. ultimately, this is a the and local issue. and we think it should be dealt with at this date level primarily. i will also just a, kentucky played a role in getting that lot in there. is in the top 10 of the highest quality laws in the nation we are very much looking forward to seeing that law implemented. kentucky can now authorize charter schools. we are told that we have two mac cities can do that. the first thing that needs to happen, in kentucky is the passage of the funding stream. if there's no funding there's no charter. >> is a key barrier for schools getting off the ground. there many different ways to solve that challenge. when option is to provide charter school with direct access to capital facilities and capital funding rather. another is to require that
districts make space available to charter schools that are located within them. if the state -- different approaches. to address the challenges. it asks states so it kentucky wanted to apply for those funds, it would have to, say how it is addressing facilities access to charter schools, it would not dig tate how kentucky would do that. -- it would not dictate how kentucky does not. >> thank you. and thank you to all the witnesses for being here today. in particular mr. clark you for your military service. which again, we can never underscore that enough. that -- during your testimony mr. clark you described your real life terms and the impact are very unstable situation in the detroit school system. the flip side of the rapid
expansion of charters in detroit was off though coincided with closing a lot of the traditional public schools and a lot of neighborhood in detroit, can you describe to us what your thoughts are and your experience in terms of families and other kids in your neighborhood? buck thank you -- >> so in my neighborhood, pridemore. we call it an education desert. over the past i would say 10 years, the majority of schools have been closed down or taken over by charters. once the charters leave for whatever reason. the building is left there. for our neighborhood and our part of time -- town that is a serious safety issue. an abandoned building is a haven for crime and blight.
children, when a child wakes up in the morning and does not have a place to go. like school, that is traumatic. when you have parents that cannot get them to a school for lack of transportation and resources that adds to the problem. as schools pop up and go away there's only one mac the dumb. it is the people -- there is only one vic come. there -- that dumb -- vic dumb -- victim. people go in and steal the piping, they defaced the outside peak -- it brings down the entire neighborhood.
>> thank you for vividly painting that picture for us. so for divorce -- divorce -- dev oss funding. what is your thoughts about whether congress should embrace that large of an increase. given the fact that there is a mixed story here in terms of charter effectiveness. >> my experience with charter schools as a testimony i'm not hopeful. giving more money to build more charter schools to me and my personal opinion, is i can help my situation in detroit. a lot of these charter schools are not in the neighborhoods
where they are needed. if they are, they are no better than the public school. broken promises hurt. not just the students but it hurts the parents as well. it is very, discouraging to know that you send your kid to a place where they are not getting the best quality education possible. it's very discouraging, when in administration, school administration, says i am going to give your child abc def g, and i don't get it. not only do i not get it, who is going to hold them accountable for not giving me what they promised. >> thank you.
cited some information about the fact that schools are actually sort of re-segregating or segregation is intensifying. in your opinion as an expert in education, does that matter? >> i do believe it matters. both because we know that rasul -- racial isolation can have an impact and we would like to live a in a society where schools are representative there communities they serve. it is the case, >> i want to ask the chair, when i had committed to the record in brookings institute how charter schools are promoting segregation. >> thank you. >> thank you madame chairwoman. my home state of indiana, is a great example of the ability of charter schools to create opportunity and lift academic achievement. as mrs. reese is well aware the
national association of charter schools is ranked indiana's charter school law as the best in the country, for three years in a row. as mr. richmond is aware the national association of charter school authorizer's have consistently ranked indiana charter schools best in the nation. this is clear from the data. the 2013 national credo study found that students in indiana charter schools gain 36 days of learning, reading per year, and 14 days of learning in math both above the national average. i was proud to be involved in the effort to expand access to charter schools during my time as a state senator by sponsoring the bill that created the indiana charter school board. and allowed private universities to authorize new charter schools. i believe the success of indiana charter schools will be attributed to the ability of multiple authorizer's to start each charter school that
maintained the economy, to innovate. at the same time, the school is being held to the highest academic standards and unlike traditional public schools, faced the threat of closure if they do not meet the standards. mrs. reese, and mr. richmond will you both agree that indiana's model of freedom, accountability, and multiple sources of others are a good example for other states? >> absolutely. it does have that balance of metonymy and accountability in a robust way and what's really interesting about indiana, the work that is happening in indianapolis which started when mayor bart peterson who was a democrat and continued over time that there is a sense of collaboration between the district and the charter school system. the community, views charter schools as part of the fabric of public education.
as well as believing that that is that model that one that should be replicated and more cities and places like ec and san antonio, and denver have simulated that and we hope that other school district officials will come to indianapolis and have those best practices. >> anything to add mr. richmond ? >> just to echo a reference you made around the role as the mayor of indianapolis has been critical. that in the collaboration and communication across all schools. we sometimes see that missing. too often in other cities. this works really well when you have someone like a mayor writing that kind of leadership across all schools. we do rank indiana charter school law very high in our system. one of the reasons for that is because the accountability that they do have for their authorizing bodies. there are multiple authorizer's in indiana. that is part of that, indiana authorizer can actually lose
their power. to continue authorizing schools if it approves and let's bad schools stay open. we support that and we believe in accountability for all of our actions. that's one aspect of indiana's law that makes it accountable. >> with that, mr. richmond how important is it for the federal government to maintain a possibility for charters?>> we think one of the strength of the charter school movement is a possibility. that it is not standardized across the country. you see different states trying different things. some looking better than others. we think it's important for the federal role in charter schools to continue to support the applicability. while having some incentives like it does have. in the federal charter school program. there are incentives for state to tackle around quality. the incentives are in there but each state get to build its own
solutions and we think that is the right weight to go. >> anything to add on the flex ability doctor? >> i very much agree with esther richmond. that the best approach, is likely to vary from state, to state. and that the charter school program encourages attention to these issues but does not tell you how they need to be addressed and i think that's an appropriate role.>> take you to each of you.>> thank you. mr. banks. >> thank you chairwoman fox and the witnesses. as policymakers here, i see your obligations as want to make sure that all children, have access to high-quality education, that includes great schools, great teachers, great administrators. that includes all students. particularly traditionally underserved students or
students with disabilities. they should all have the access. i see that there is a moral issue but also it's an obligation. i worked on this issue when i was a state legislator as well as a member of congress. i have to say, i am in general skeptical about charter schools because they are not addressing the underlining issue of equity of opportunity for all. mr. clark thank you for your testimony. raising some of those important concerns about the lack of stability of many charter schools. especially in michigan. i wish we were having a robust discussion about how great magnet schools have been in the districts that have them. we have a level playing field where we have an elect of school board where the schools are not opening and closing based on the management and creating that instability. we are here today, and i want to focus on online charter schools.
many for profit. online classes can expand educational opportunities for students, especially in rural areas. online schools typically require a parent or a learning coach. they have to monitor students during the day, in fact in my home state of oregon, less than half of the students who attend online charter schools graduated on time. that's 30 points behind the state average. in 2015 the center for research on education outcomes at sanford but a report examining the performance of online charter schools and 17th date including oregon they found that online charter schools have it on -- overwhelmingly negative effect on student achievement. on average they lost 180 days on math and reading and 70 two -- 72. it literally like the kid did not go to school for an entire year.
indiana had the virtual school that graduated a lower percentage of school than any other high school in the state. as a taxpayer and parent, what you think about these online charter schools and what would you want to know if you are considering enrolling your student or your child in an online charter school? >> the first thing i would be concerned with, is there a system set up to hold them accountable? for the services that they will provide for my children? i want to say this, i am not here to bash charter schools. but i am here to push the fact that accountability, is the key. >> absolutely. accountability is really important. ms. reese i want to ask,
there's something that you submitted in your testimony where you said that millions of american families are now settling schools that are less than what they want for their children, and to many of the students are stuck in schools that are so dreadful that members of this community would not accept them is adequate for their own children or grandchildren. you are suggesting in that testimony, is that only if there were a charter school, --, parents would take their children put them in a nearby charter school. as a policymaker, we have asked the question, what about those schools? how can we address the needs of all of the students who are stuck in what you are calling our school so dreadful. it isn't just for the students, we have to consider all of those students. it is the same question i asked secretary divorce -- divorce -- dev os. do they have wet -- web
in the water? what is the problem? in your testimony, you plotted and said good things about the charter school but what about online? you probably heard about -- ohio's school for the online. in audit they received about $19 million more from these date than they should have received. and $590 million and then they abruptly closed and let the students with nowhere to go. shouldn't we focus on that and not removing caps. when so many cases like this exist. >> can introduce into the record how long will we let them fail --
>> you can submit your answers in writing thank you. mr. allen you are recognized. >> ms. reese will you answer the question i would like to know the answer. them they shoud be able to send their children to other school spread there have been some efforts in states like tennessee where the charter model has been introduced in those sch ools them, they should be able to send their children to other schools. have been efforts in states like tennessee where the charter model has been introduced in those schools that have been chronically failing.
our secretary is very much willing, ready, and able to go in those schools where parents are not making a choice, to see if the charter model is in fact effective at raising student achievement. so for us, it's not an either or, or it's both. as far as online charter schools are concerned, we reduced a report 2 years ago, in which we chronicled the chronic underachievement of online charter schools, and called for regulations at the state level to address these issues. you don't want to completely get rid of them because for some students, these are the only choices available to them. but at the same time, they are very different from our brick and mortar schools and their achievement certainly has been kept on par with where we want to be as a community. >> thank you. again, what were talking about here is how do we get young people the opportunity to be what god created them to be, and of course, two things i
would like to point out, one is that everything i have learned about education is if you're not reading at a third grade level by the time you finish the third grade, you're probably not going to graduate from high school and if you don't graduate from high school, your future does not look very promising as far as seeking a job or being independent. the second thing is that -- and i shouldn't globalize this -- but the teachers that i talked to tell me the biggest problem is not the students, it's the parents. and so, when i see schools that really do tremendous parental involvement at every level of the school and my children attended private school with tremendous parental involvement
and state public school with tremendous public involvement. the idea with the charter school is that it is a group of parents that have come together and said, we want something better for our children. so, ms. reese, you have mentioned some examples of public and charter schools working together. i've heard some examples like that as well. how do we get that young person through third grade reading at a third grade level? >> well, good reading programs make a difference. and a lot of our charter schools are thriving because they have been put through schools that have been researched and tested starting at an early age, making sure the students are proficient before they move on to the next
grade. so at the end of the day, our community is about raising student achievement. doctor west highlighted some of the studies out there, but i want to repeat some of the things he mentioned. according to stanford's credo, on average, an african-american low income charter school statement gains an additional 59 days of learning in math and 44 additional days in learning and reading. so to us, that tells us there is something in the water in the charter school movement. especially for low income students and minority students that works. we should try to replicate those models. >> dr. west, as far as parental involvement, how do we change that? >> we know that parental involvement is an important contributor to a successful school. and many charter schools do seek to encourage greater levels of parental involvement. many of them have, they often call them parent contracts,
that they sort of lay out the expectations. these are not legally enforceable in any way, but they set clear expectations for the ways parents will be involved. i would actually say one he -- many of the most successful charter schools in the movement, sure, they welcomed parental involvement, but they don't actually build models that require it in order for students to be successful. they know many of the families they serve face extreme disadvantage and they want to ensure that students are able to serve well, regardless of what parents are able to contribute. >> thank you very much, and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. allen. dr. adams, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, managed -- madam chair. thank you so much for your service. i just wanted to take a moment and introduce three interns that i have with me today, a law student from north carolina central, eric jordan, and hbcu
intern tony watt comes from north carolina a&t. i wanted to remark on how important the conversation is for our nation. i'm happy we have so many young people here today. the state of north carolina just passed a bill that would allow the local small towns in mecklenburg county that i represent to create their own independent charter schools, separating from the charlotte- mecklenburg public school system. the towns of huntersville, mint hill, matthews, and cornelius in north carolina, say that their parents need options when considering their children's education. and i don't disagree with that. but, part of having options is having the ability to choose. my fear in this proposal is that as mecklenburg small towns create there's own charters, children in the rest of county will be resigned to attending more segregated and under resourced schools. what choice will those parents
living in inner-city have for those children? what can we do to make sure this choice isn't a false one? ms. reese, this question is for you. for your organization, you are committed to advancing charter schools. and another question should be, should local performing charter schools -- local low performing charter schools be shut down? >> the specific question on the charlotte-mecklenburg issue, i'm not familiar with the schools that will be created. as an organization, we firmly believe schools should be inclusive settings. a vast majority of leaders are creating these schools in order to take care of the needs of students who have been traditionally left behind. in the case of north carolina, i think we should keep an eye on how this is moving forward, and the way that they are authorizing these schools. they can put parameters in place to make sure that the schools are in fact meeting the
diverse needs of the community. to your second question, i believe that if a school is not performing well, it should be closed. last year, we had 200 charter schools and in the last 5 years, 1000 charter schools have closed. in my experience, the key difference between a charter school and traditional school is that it's either not performing well, it's not attracting families or the organizer is not happy with the performance, that school can and should be closed. >> madam chair, i wanted to have put in the record a report in the public interest which details some of the negative impacts of the rapid charter expansion in california, and the fact that these districts are facing a short call over -- shortfall over hundreds of millions of dollars. >> without objection. >> thank you. despite the many failures, there are some charter schools that get it right. kids in charlotte is an ample of a school in my district that
has the importance of growing critical resources to support low income children of color through their education. but in general, charter schools show greater subject -- education by race, ethnicity, and income. so, are you supportive of the tendency to purposefully segregate kids based on race, and/or income? >> absolutely not. we firmly believe that charter schools, and most of the leaders in charter schools are in this business to serve the needs of students. and a lot of them are creating schools that are diverse by design. having said that, our intent is to have more diversity in the charter schools space. there are some policies that need to be put in place. this committee, when it reauthorized the elementary and secondary education act, allowed for charter schools, receiving charter school program funding, to do waited lotteries. which is one mechanism to add diversity to the school program. >> thank you. let me move on to another
question if i can. i just have a few seconds left. ms. clark, thank you for sharing the information about this system. these charter schools, they have their own boards, where they are regulated by the chart system. can you speak to that? >> they acted independently. they had their own board. so it wasn't like the people elected the board. they were appointed. okay? and the management company for the charter school that my daughter went to, that i spoke of in my testimony, like i said, they are 0 miles away. so when we did have a concern, it's hard to get 100 parents 350 miles away to address an issue. and another thing, real quick, we felt locked out. they would have board meetings at 11:00 in the morning. where parents are at work, and
teachers are at work as well. it wasn't like they wanted us at the meeting. >> thank you very much, and madam chair, i'm going to yield back. i just hope that we are not in a position where we are infiltrating and really causing our public schools to go out of business. 90% of our kids are going to be educated there. i just wanted to put that in for the record. chair, i yield back. >> mr. smucker, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you for scheduling this discussion on a very important topic. i think charter schools are a very important component of our k-12 system throughout the country. i served in the pennsylvania state legislature, served as education chair for some of that time. and, at the opportunity to speak to, many times, parents, who participated in a lottery for their students. they really saw the quality, the education that their child received, was really a lifeline
to them for their future. many times we are participating in lotteries with thousands of students participating when there only a few slots available available. and so i saw the joy that parents experienced when they were selected. i think in one way that charters are really important is in providing that opportunity for students who would not have that opportunity otherwise -- for a great education. it goes well beyond that. i think it's important for us to remember that charter schools are public schools. they are publicly funded. they can often be a way to innovate. they're sort of a laboratory that other schools can learn from. third, and i may be on the minority with this view, i think charter schools are very important to improve the
effectiveness of the entire landscape of schools. traditional public schools included. i come from a business background. i think providing parents toys and competition improves the quality of all of the schools. and we have to realize, when you look at the entire landscape, about 2 million students in pennsylvania, no matter how many private schools, charter schools that we had, still a large majority of students attended a traditional public school. 86% in pennsylvania's case. and so anything that we do with charter schools has to also -- we have to acknowledge that it should improve the quality of the entire education system. and i think charter schools could be effective in doing that. by showing that it can be done. we should not accept poor schools, whether they be charter schools or a traditional public schools. there should be accountability
across the board. i've seen great charter schools, i've seen poor charter schools. i've seen great traditional public schools and poor traditional public schools. as policymakers we should always expect every student will have the opportunity for a quality education. one of the things i've seen, and mr. richmond, i will come to a question eventually, is that in pennsylvania, a lot of charter schools have been recognized by the different -- district. i am surprised that there is not more, or that school districts see a more positive partnership with a charter school as very beneficial for the students in the district. and i've come to the conclusion that there are better ways to authorize public schools, and potentially the sending school district. i'd just like to get your thoughts on what you see as effective. what are the most effective ways to authorize public schools? or charter schools, i should say.
>> thank you. that is an important question and one that we've touched on all ready. like, who is approving these schools? this ties to the public mix of charter schools. to be a public school, a charter school is accountable in some fashion. but, 90% of the institutions that authorize charter schools in the country, 90% of them are school districts. that is not something you hear often. you are usually told just the opposite. >> is that the best way to offer it? >> these are imposed from against our will. 90% of these are school districts in this country. that does not automatically mean they are great or bad. there are some school districts that are doing this work really well, and some that are doing it poorly. there are some entities that are not school districts, that are authorizing charter schools, doing it well, or poorly. we have identified three qualities that we think are
important for any charter school. number one, there has to be a commitment. create good schools for kids, and close those that fail. something you just referenced. that leadership has to be there. that vision. there has to be a commitment that this is important work to pay attention to. you can't be stuff back in the corner somewhere. the third thing is, to use good and professional judgment. this is not a client checklist activity. people have to be using good judgment. when we see those three qualities in existence, whether it's in a school district or state education department or some other authorizing body, when those three things are there, we tend to get good charter schools for kids. >> thank you. >> gentlemen, yield back. mr. polis, you are recognized for five minutes. thank you. >> charter schools have been an
important source of innovation in public education. i'm a strong supporter of of all public schools. in our state, we have charter schools, innovation schools, and district run schools. i'm also honored to be a founding member of the public education clock is here. i've gotten to know the ins and outs of public and charter schools before coming to congress. i started two public charter school networks and was superintendent of new america school, a network of charter schools in colorado and new mexico that serves immigrant and non-english-language learners. this can be a helpful component of our public education system. obviously, accountability and equity are critical, with the extra flexibility that charter schools have, we also need to make sure that they are fully held accountable. when we negotiated the average student succeeds acting 2015, upping the charter school program to improve accountability, was a priority of mine. and i'm glad to say the new charter school program now includes additional transparency and credibility requirements for community
engagement, and also enters a discussion around the quality of charter authorizer's, which was part of the topic of the lastquestion. whether they are school districts, which they are in most cases, or whether they are other authorizer's. the quality and the authorizer in writing the contract and enforcing the contract to ensure equity is absolutely critical. finally, i want to point out that not all school choice is equal. public charter schools and other magnet schools and others can be a meaningful option for many families under the right conditions, and of course they have to comply with federal law. but, one of my concerns has been act is to transportation through high-quality options for parents. and i think it's really important to make sure that we talk about making our choices in public education meaningful by including a discussion about how parents who might not have the luxury of being able to take their kid to a different school in a car are able to get their kid there. >> the first question is from ms. reese. when i hear public schools in colorado, the first thing i hear is legislation for daca,
or deferred action. the reason they bring that up is because they have students, teachers, that are daca eligible. dreamers living every day with the uncertainty that has been created by the trump administration. just as one example from colorado, brandon, a daca student at a school in colorado, said he felt lucky to attend the public charter school that he did and was a big fan of his teachers. but he said, quote, fixing daca is important for students. there are very few scholarships available to daca students and that can be discouraging. additionally, i always fear i can be deported at any time and fear that i will not be able to complete high degree, end quote. i'm glad to say he's a student at colorado state university today. but, other students don't have to go through the fear that they might be deported or that they rely on seemingly inefficient congress for addressing their situation. i want to hear, ms. reese, have
you spoken to students or families attending charter schools who are worried or affected by congress' inaction on immigration reform? and what do you think acting on daca would do for the community? >> first, congressman, you are a big leader of the charter school movement. thank you for your leadership and we will miss you in this house after the november election. very quickly on daca, our organization doesn't work on immigration issues. but we do have quite a few charter schools that are serving daca students, and also have teachers who have benefited from daca. and we've said time and again that we stand firmly with them, and will fight on their behalf in order to make sure that there is a viable solution to this issue. i believe congress needs to deal with this issue next. >> if congress fails to act and if daca expires, there will be charter schools that lose teachers, that are good teachers today? >> yes. under the current circumstances, and we have not done a survey of how many students in charter schools are under daca and how many
teachers are under daca, but a fair number of our schools in texas, california, and denver are serving these students, and these students have road with these schools. the stories they have are quite wrenching. they were on the hill this past november, visiting with members of congress. the stories were extremely compelling. >> the second model i wanted to explore in your last 30 seconds our early college public charter schools. we have several in colorado. students can take dual and concurrent enrollment and earn an associates degree with their high school degree. i want to ask about that example of innovation, but also what charter schools are doing to help spread innovation across charter schools. one of the original goals. >> that was one of the original tenants of charter schools. in addition to offering choices and giving more teachers that taught me to run their schools. when it comes to innovation, though, you need two people to partner with one another to share the innovation. i worry at times that even though we are ready, willing, and able to share our
innovations, there is no real way to transfer that innovation to the larger district. denver has been part of the dialogue between the city and charter school program for quite some time. and i believe as i said earlier, it will be very instrumental for more school district leaders to visit the denvers of the world, to see how that innovation is being transferred, and how the discussions are taking place. some of the key things that have transferred for instance are expanding the school day and school year. one of the key reasons our schools do so well in low income communities is for that reason. another innovation is the way we train our teachers, and we compensate them. to make sure we are attracting the best and the brightest. that we are keeping them in the classroom. that we are offering them greater pay. there are a variety of innovations. charter school is not a monolithic. you been to one charter school, you've just been to that one school. there is room to do a lot more. we can step up and do a lot more innovation in our space.
>> thank you, i yield back. >> thank you. mr. garrett, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. the town was really bursting at the seams with hyperbole and rhetorical bunk. i want to be really clear that what i have to say is my heartfelt feeling. that is, in my 16 months here, i've gotten to know the ranking member of this community quite well and could not hold him in higher regard as a human being. he's as fine a man as i know here. with that said, i want to speak to the repeated suggestion that charter schools lead to segregation by way of working toward a question. ms. reese's stated goal for charter schools is high-quality public education. i look at the legal analysis and heartbreaking tragedy that was plessy versus ferguson in 1986 that institutionalized the idea that somehow segregation was okay. i've spoken at some length with the ranking member, and we share a passion for a 16-year- old girl in barber -- farmville, virginia named barbara, who would not let a
student be worked out, the only one in the board of education versus brown, where there was a legal lie in plessy versus ferguson. that was finalized in 1964 with the passage of the civil rights act and subsequent legislation. as it relates to the sort of partisan folks here, i would remind you that 39% of democrats oppose the civil rights act while 20s% of republicans, while 6% of democrats, and it was actually a filibuster of the civil rights act, by one robert byrd, a presidential candidate later to -- later called the mentor and gave a kiss on the cheek with knowledge of the fact that he had formally been a member of the ku klux klan. so, segregation is illegal, has been since 1964, and if you'd like to give partisan credit, you can do that based on the mathematical facts that i outlined. and so, to use the term, which absolutely and rightly stirs emotions, segregation, i think is hyperbolic at best, and a
little bit disingenuous at worst. because segregation is not the law of the land. if indeed there is increased segregation, it is de facto segregation. which relies in its essence on two facts. number one, individuals in the united states of america have the ability to choose, wherein it says that the economic status creates this wherewithal, where they live, and number two, that geographical compartments great circumstances, wherein we cut down costs, which is a driving factor in public education, by virtue of a reduction in transportation and service expenses. right? these are realities that we know. so, to say charter schools boost segregation i think is not a really fair argument. again, with the greatest respect for the individual. and i mean that sincerely. but, i'll tell you, there has been a fight over charter schools that long predates my entry into this august body,
and will continue after my nearing departure. and, that manifests itself largely in state legislatures. and i can give examples. for example, when i was in the virginia state house, there was a fight to allow students, and i believe there were six failing school districts in the entire state, the ability to attend school in adjacent school districts. which was oppose along party lines and vetoed by a governor named mcauliffe, for reasons stated by my now colleague and congressman don mceachern, who said, i don't like the idea there is a lottery, to which i responded at least in a lottery, somebody wins. and i'm reminded of the circumstances i read in the paper, with great you balance and joy, of darrin francois, where in mr. francois attended a charter school and was in the paper for having received admission to 83 colleges. african-american and raised by a single mom. mr. francois broke any number of expectations against him, to become a high achiever, empowered by virtue of education. you see, there is a debate that goes on and on about nature versus nurture. and i will tell you to a
metaphysical certainty, i believe in nurture. if you take a young person regardless of their background, color of their skin, who they love, or who they worship, and you place them in the right circumstances, they will be able to succeed. that's america. that is the promise that is america. it manifests itself in reality with social and economic disparities, et cetera. but i'd argue the fact that this segregation is largely due to economic circumstances and not of children who are failing public schools but of the book schools who are feeling our children. and so, i would argue that while charter schools are no panacea, as panaceas do not exist in any entity or region governed by fallible human beings, but there are outcome disparities that show that while all other things are equal, opportunity is increased and outcomes are better. ms. reese, would you concur with the bulk of my sentiment? >> we are out of time. i believe so, for the most part, yes. >> thank you very much, madam chair. >> thank you, mr. garrett.
ms. davis, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate the discussion today. and i'm sorry, i missed a good part of it. but, i wanted to talk just a moment. i represent san diego. we have some great charter schools there. they function as testing sites largely, with high accountability standards. and i think there's a sentiment and an interest, of course, in that being part of their mission. their basic mission, of course, like with all schools, public schools particularly, it's to make sure that every young person who resides in that school has an equal chance to be successful. and i think that's something we all want. we know we can't guarantee outcomes what we want to make sure we have an equal opportunity to be successful. one of the concerns beyond the lessons there and in other communities, is what we can do to ensure better results.
and, i want to ask you, and i'll start with mr. clark, about, what do you think the federal role is in ensuring accountability? i know my colleagues asked the question about authorizing charter schools. was the oversight role of a federal government and a state government for that matter? as well as local entities. what do you think we could be doing better, as we look to future legislation, to speak to that federal role, and also the state rolls in accountability? >> okay, thank you. my answer to the question about accountability is, it needs to come at the lowest level. we have a saying back in detroit, nothing about us, without us. which means, if there is a problem, those that are directly affected by the problem need to be at the table to address the problem.
not a governing body 350 miles away. nothing against the people in lansing, or you guys in dc. but, it's our children that are being traumatized, day in and day out, battling with the educational system. that they have to navigate through back in detroit. so, a local, governing body of parents and residents, whose children are in this fight, needs to be at the table, to hold the educators, the authorizer's accountable. for what they said they are going to do. >> and isn't that in many ways the reasons charter schools have grown up? because people needed to have that? i think what i'm looking for, and again, it's an open question about, what is our role here? and how is it that the tone,
the guard rails, if you will, what is it that you think might be missing in our ability to send that message very strongly to schools? anybody else who wants to jump in? >> i will offer a few thoughts. thank you for your question. we want to touch on the fact that we really are identifying important issues today. again, i will just restate my appreciation that the conversation is happening. segregation, tremendously important. about parents having the information they need to make the decisions for their kids, about the ability to send your transportation ability. these are critical parts of success. the charter school for ram does provide some funds to allow communities to develop those kind of solutions. and we are seeing that in places like indiana, rhode island, and others. i mentioned earlier the importance of the predominance
of school districts are the major type of authorizer in this country. and, that's a valuable role. unfortunately in detroit, this spring, the school district decided to get out of the action of overseeing charter schools. they seeded that work through those folks. there can be a role for school districts. the mayor seems to be stepping in and is putting together commissions to tackle some of these problems. but that local presence is important. and having people work together to solve the problems around information enrollment systems and transportation, that's what we need to do to have this work for all kids. >> anybody else? i know mr. clark, he wanted to respond as well. i understand what you are saying and i think it's critical important. especially when we see children that have been traumatized to
move around and schools, and what that does to parents and children. >> i can agree that there has been some movement, as far as more local accountability. but, not as much as i would like to see. far too much wrong has been done to these kids, and these parents in this fight for equitable education. we cannot stop. we must continue to fight. >> thank you very much. my time is up. >> ms. davis, thank you. mr. wahlberg, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you to the witnesses for being here. mr. clark, i did several years ago have an opportunity to visit probably your charter school that you are talking about, and the great concerns,
and we saw problems there. i had an opportunity to visit another higher performing charter school in detroit also that was offering an alternative in a really difficult area. but, offering with some good success. and i think leadership matters. and, we are hopeful that the mayor of detroit, who has been working with the governor of the state as well, and the community activists who have got more involved, in the city, and more importantly, in an educational system that ought to be a quality system, and as major as detroit was, it was the silicon valley of the united states, really, years ago. in manufacturing, and engineering, and everything that went on. so, it's tragic to see some of the things that have happened. but i've also had the privilege of visiting a large number of charter schools around the state of michigan, including in my district more recently. having the opportunity to visit island city academy, which is a
wonderful school, located in eaton rapids, michigan. this academy is kindergarten through eighth grade. and, currently, the school is ranked in the 81st percentile in michigan's top to bottom ranking. not the hundreds, but it's up there, working with a diverse student body as well in the charter school. dr. west, what effect does the heightened student achievement demonstrate by many charter schools have on the local community? >> thank you for the question. so, what effect it has on the local community is not something that we have been able to study in great detail so far, because the charter movement for the most part is so new. so, we know a lot about how
charter schools affect students' achievement and their likelihood of completing high school, for example. we are beginning to learn about how the experience of attending a high-quality charter school, or a charter school in general effects college long-term outcomes, like college attainment and earnings, and the emerging evidence there is very encouraging, i would say. in terms of broader community impacts, i don't know that we have much in the way of rigorous evidence on that point as of yet. i will say that we know school quality is a key founder of housing prices, the desirability of a neighborhood. people like attending schools in their local community. and so, everything that we would know, from what we know about education at large, would suggest that that would be a transformative impact for the community. >> i would think so. and the charter school movement has been around for a while. we are hoping that those studies come out. frankly, we know that with a public school, it's a great public school. people will make life decision
choices. to make sure they are there in that school district. let me ask a follow-up. in answering another question about parental involvement, in charters and success there, and rightfully so, in certain cases, you can't rely on the parental involvement, because they are not there. so you have to do the best with what you have. but what are some other factors when you look at success for a charter school that you find arche? >> i think it really comes down to teachers more than anything else. and, all of education research suggests that research is the most important influence on academic success. and, what is unique about charters is that they have much more flexibility in how they make decisions about who teaches there, and who does
not. and so, i actually think that's one of the key innovations in the charter model. mo so than anything sort of the street they do pedagogically that my transfer to a traditional district, is just the ability that leaders have to take advantage of that flexibility. to assemble a team of like- minded educators who have bought into the school's philosophy. >> what would encourage a great teacher to choose a charter school over a traditional public school? >> i would think it would be the ability to teach with others who have bought into the same common educational philosophy. we know that leadership equality is a key influence on whether it teachers want to stay in a given school. so i think it would be the opportunity to work with a strong leader. but in terms of what's most distinct about a charter is again, it's the ability of a leader and a group of teachers
to establish a common vision. and sort of work towards that together. >> thank you. my time is together. i yield -- my time is over. i yield back. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. when we talk about charter schools, we talk about students being trapped in low performing schools. and, rather than give a select few a different choice, our response really ought to be those low performing schools. i think it's noteworthy that you don't have a clamor for charter schools in areas, where the schools are well-funded. in fact, studies have shown that charter schools on average are actually worse than average. some are better. but more often, worse. we've often found that rigorous oversight makes a difference. madam chair, in response to my distinguished colleague from virginia, i look forward to
working with them, to fulfill the vision that barbara johns, who led the walkout in protest of unequal educational opportunities, but without assigning falls or blame, the fact is that increased choice has led to increased segregation. we can address this reality. but, we first have to acknowledge what the gao told us in segregation, that segregation is increasing particularly in charter schools. mr. clark, i want to thank you for your service and thank you for being with us this morning. we found the overwhelmingly majority of charter schools are -- in your view, of the for- profit schools in detroit, are they maximizing profit at a cost to students and parents? >> can you repeat that question, sir? >> are the schools looking out for profits? or are they most interested?
is the fact that they are looking out for profits detrimental to the students? >> i do believe, in my experience, that profits are the number one motivation. and i say that because my daughters, as a matter of fact, all three of them, have come home without textbooks that they need. so there are a lot of resources that they should receive at their charter schools, that they don't. the administrations at the school, during conversations and meetings with them, it was never a conversation about -- they never made me feel like my children's education was priority. it was always another way of cutting a corner. as with the classes.
they promised math and reading. math and english. they knock it down to 45 minutes. they fired the right teachers. i mean, no, excuse me. they fired the wrong teachers. like, my daughter. one day, the ceo of the school saw my daughter in the hallway and she said, what's wrong? and she says, my heart is broken. she says, why? she said, because you just fired my favorite teacher. there is no reason to fire your best teachers. there is no reason. my daughter's motivation dropped from that point on. and at that point, she felt that that school did not make her a priority. the things that you promise kids, you should keep your word.
the college seminar class, my daughter looked forward to that. when you cut that, for whatever reason you come up with in your head, that's wrong. that's detrimental to all of these kids. they expect to go to school and learn, and then be prepared for college, which is the next phase. >> thank you. i want to try to get another question, if i can. it's going to be really simple, yes or no. i want to ask all of the panelists, why should a state subject all public schools to its open records law in washington, d.c.? public charter schools are not subject to open records laws. should any public charter school be subject to the same open records law as a non- charter school? ms. reese? >> can i ask a question, by open records laws, do you mean public forums, to come to the school board meeting?
>> freedom of information. freedom of information laws. mr. richmond -- >> i need to think about the question, to see how current state statutes street this particular question. >> but it's not some dew or some tote. the question is whether all schools receiving public monies should be subject to open records laws, like freedom of information. does anybody want to answer? >> i feel like everybody should be held to the same standard. if public school gets public dollars and charter school gets charter dollars, it should be a level playing field. >> dr. west? >> transparency and governance of charter schools is very important. the reason i hesitate to offer an absolute yes is because it's not an issue i've looked at recently.
i know there are unintended consequences. for example, open meeting laws have made it impossible for charter boards that are not comprised in a single geographic area to comply with the exceptions that have needed to be carved out. i just would not want to offer an absolute yes without doing more studying. >> mr. richmond? >> yes, with the recognition that even within that statement, within the states, there are considerable debates going on right now about how that law does apply. >> ms. reese, do you want to answer? >> we need to take a close look at the consequences of these additional regulations on charters. but by and large, my reaction is yes. they should be able to make this information available. our model law encourages states to have open meeting laws in place for charter school boards to conduct their meetings in public, for instance. >> mr. scott, your time has expired. >> thank you, madam chair. >> mr. grossman, you are recognized for five minutes.
>> sure. you can give me the dr. west question. it may be someone else wants to weigh in on this as well. it seems to me, when i tour scoreless -- schools, or hear anecdotes about good or bad schools, some of this is the difference which you get the most out of your employees. and if you have an employee who is not cutting it, you let them go. in districts that i've seen that are not that good, you have a superintendent that is a gladiator. never moves out the deadweight. in general -- not in general, even in specific, dr. west, which schools find it easier to move on the dead weight? you know, mr. clark talked about, for whatever reason, i assume he's got his reason, he
knew a charter school got rid of their best teachers. but i think the real problem was when you have really underperforming people, maybe they don't care, burned out, which type of school gets rid of the teacher quicker? seems to care more about the students, or just go with the flow? >> it's an important topic in that we know one of the most important ways in which a school leader or principal matters for a school's success, is how they manage their teachers. and in particular, how they make decisions about who stays and who goes. and, i would simply say that it is very clear that in most states, charter schools have a great deal more responsibility in making those decisions. so, principals can do a better job or a worse job. and i think we know from the average results, they tend to do a better job. but it's clear they have more flexibility.
>> you are saying there is an underperforming teacher that is generally more caring, or maybe just the rules they work as far as removing? i will give you an anecdote. back home, i talked to a guy who sent his children to public school. he had two kids. the oldest kid got to second grade, and all of the parents were worried that he got this bad teacher, that everyone knew was bad. fortunately, his first kid dodged a bullet and was not wasting second grade. 9 years later, his second child got there, and to his shock and dismay, the same teacher was still there and the same parents were still hoping that their kids did not get the bad teacher. whether it was because the administration in the public school did not care that much, or whether it was just too tough, given the contract. you only go through second grade once, and if you have a
bad teacher, too bad, you missed second grade. which type of arrangement would be more likely to put the kids first and remove that bad teacher? and, which type would be more likely to have that bad teacher there for 10 years, screwing up 10 years of a second grader's education? ms. reese, i can see you want to say something. >> of course, we have great freedoms and flexibility's in the charter school sector, in order to attract the best and brightest that they need to survive in the classroom. some of our most effective charter school organizations place a premium on just that. attracting the best, offering them support, grooming them and elevating them up to a school leader eventually. my answer will be obvious in that i think the charter school sector has done a great job in keeping these high-quality teachers. if you look at these bases, a high-performing network in arizona, they treat college
professors into the classroom to teach students. >> can i just jump in very quickly on that point? >> i want you to answer the question. >> well, to elaborate, in a charter school, the fact that the parents have the ability to seek out an alternative if they are assigned to the second grade teacher that people want to avoid, that puts strong pressure on the leaders in the school to deal with underperformance. >> in other words, if there was a charter school, my friend in that district, which there wasn't, my friend would have the option if they did move along, the underperforming teacher, of going to a charter school instead? >> or vice versa. if the underperforming teacher was in the charter school, that charter school would have a great deal of flexibility and incentive to address the problem. and if we look at survey data, we found that nationally, students comparing them to district parents are much more
satisfied with the quality of the child's school and quality of their teaching. >> okay, thank you very much. >> okay, thank you. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate this hearing and i must admit, this conversation is vexing to me. so much of education, is subjective. i'm sure that there are parts of research that had our own prejudices, and all of us have our own feelings about education that our kids get. it is just part of us genetically. but, this sort are presented to us and i will say i'm thinking about this because i'm from california and in our primary election, there were millions of dollars spent in races from governors races, and school board races, and everything in between, basically choosing size. when i first started in legislature, i believe charters
have some worth. but i'm also concerned about a lot of the questions that mr. scott brought up about who is left behind. and i'm also mindful about how charter schools began after brown versus board of education. and i'm a believer in what our professor said, which was, forget history and you are condemned to repeat it. how do we reconcile this? if you really focus objectively, open mindedly, we need to have this available to every young person in the country. really robust public health system in education. how do we really get to evaluate that in the most subjective process? looking at charters that work and how to bring them to scale. and accountability, i'd love to hear your requirements. and mr. clark. we have the secretary said here based on questions i asked, and editorial opinions, in the detroit newspaper, about how it did not work and the lack of accountability in detroit.
i wish we did not have to make this sort of, we are in one camp versus what's happening in california politics right now. dr. west, you are a researcher. you definitely have opinions. but i assume that one of my favorite quotes is doubt versus knowledge. you have moments where you second-guess your own research. >> yes, so, thank you for a really rich question. first, i share your sort of premise, which is that we need to make sure that we have a system that provides access to high-quality public education for all students. the question is, where do charters fit into that mix? i think they are one means by which we could do a better job of reaching that goal. and that they, in particular, have a role to play, in places where the existing arrangements have clearly fallen short of that goal and continue to do so
for an extended period of time. i think the question becomes, what role do they play in the long run? frankly, that depends on the extent to which the traditional system respond to the charters and other forms of competition, in order to improve and make sort of additional, nontraditional actors no longer necessary. but, i think there has been a theme in this conversation that to some extent, you have to choose between promoting options like charter schools and reforming existing institutions. i'd like to emphasize that i see them as more complementary, those two approaches, rather than in conflict with one another. my question of doubt is, about what the endgame is. how does it play out in the long run? for the kids and country. >> i have a very diverse district. i was in one school district, not 15 miles away from another one recently. and, a third of this district
gets their funding from parents foundation. i went to another one in a poor part of a district, less than 15 minutes away. community, middle school, really does a great job. the principal said, we need more money for behavioral health for our teachers because they have to do so much for these kids. so, maybe, mr. richmond, and mr. clark, it strikes me that what happened in detroit is completely opposite. because you don't have the rich accountability, or at least that is the criticism. maybe mr. richmond very briefly and then mr. clark. on accountability. >> sure. i wanted to touch on almost every issue that has been brought up here today in accountability, discrimination, financial transparency, goes back to, how are these schools being approved in the first place? and how are they being overseen?
almost every one of them. as you wrestle with these questions of, why is this happening? what can we do differently? it goes back to those authorizing bodies. >> if i could let mr. clark finish, because we've only got 10 seconds. sorry about that. >> what was the question again? >> my time's up. it was mostly a ground -- around detroit and accountability but that's eight heber -- a deeper question that i can talk to about afterwards. >> thank you, mr. de saulnier. >> thank you to the chair. i'm privileged to represent soon to be the 15th congressional district in pennsylvania. a district i so probably represent as one of the most rural districts in the country. while the new district map will have a landmass roughly the size of new jersey, within that district, we only have one charter school. and, that's not because pennsylvania lacks charter schools, in fact, pennsylvania
has 183 charter schools, that serve 133,753 students. with nearly half of those students being served in the philadelphia school district. the criticism surrounding charter schools often deals with a lack of diversity and inclusiveness of difficult to serve students with disabilities. however, only 10% of charter school funding is distributed to rural communities, leaving another large demographic of students without the benefits that charter schools have to offer. ms. reese and mr. richmond, how do we get more charter schools in rural communities? and how do we ensure that more of those charter schools are high-performing? >> that's a great question. only about 11% of charter schools are currently in rural communities. there are some great examples of states like north carolina. kip has a great charter school.
right up the state line. in delaware, there is a great rural charter school called sussex academy. i think the first step is to have a conversation with the leaders of these schools, and those individuals in these rural communities, to get them familiar with the concept of chartering. for a very long time, most of our concentration has been in inner-city settings, where the demand is high and there is a density of student populations. unfortunately, we have not been paying as much attention to the rural communities and it's time to change that conversation, and start to introduce the concept in more communities. in some instances, it could be very conceivably easy for a school district leader to convert some of its own schools to charter schools. so, the way we would go about redoing this in rural communities, and it's going to go from community to community, but it will start with introducing folks on the ground to those who are currently effectively operating rural charter schools. in a lot of cases, it has been a conversation first, followed by quite frankly, a local
business, or communities, leaders coming together to help that individual start a charter school. >> any thoughts on those? >> just one additional one. this has been a tough challenge to solve in the charter community. in many states, when a charter school is approved by a school district, it can only serve kids from that school district. so, if there is a small town, you are going to have a hard time economically. if you can brought in that geography, the larger area serves surrounding counties, then you are more likely to get the numbers to work. >> as you had mentioned, 90% of charter schools are authorized by public schools. with that comes a level of responsibility by the
traditional public schools, for the educational experience, and for the outcomes that are delivered in these charter schools. what access to information does the authorizing public schools have on, you know, regarding the charter school performance? do the authorizing schools have access to what they need, to be able to sure that oversight and accountability from what they have authorized? >> one of the positive features of a school district authorizing charter school is that it can have that information. i did this work for 10 years at a school system in chicago. we knew who everyone of the students were in the charter school. their student i.d. numbers. free and reduced lunch status. special-education status. they were part of our overall system. we have that information.
in some states, that's not true. i know in michigan, authorizer's, because they are universities, usually, they have trouble getting that information because of privacy laws. this is getting into a technical sort of wonky area. but, that information is important for policymakers, authorizer's, and the public. more we can make that information available and transparent to the public and the parents, the better we will be. >> i support all forms of education. access to quality education. i've heard from our traditional public schools that they are held accountable for the charter schools they have authorized. this is in pennsylvania. but, they find themselves in difficult situations, because they don't have the information to really -- >> i was in their shoes, and i'll say they ought to be held accountable for those charter schools. if you approve them and are overseeing them, then you are accountable.
i've been there. and that's the reality. we all have to be accountable for good outcomes for kids. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. thompson. i want to ask my questions, and then, we will wind up. for ms. reese, mr. richmond, dr. west, a question that hopefully won't take up the whole time. i'll ask you to be fairly succinct. how is the expansion of charter schools positively impacted academic achievement of all students, including those who may struggle, due to language disabilities, or socioeconomic status, or combination? what additional gains can be accomplished to further support access to high-quality charter school growth? we've heard some numbers on the other side. so, i'd like to hear your thoughts on that.
>> very quickly, the evidence, based on all of the randomized trials, and the experimental studies on charter schools, is unequivocally in favor of making sure that charter schools expand, especially in low income communities, and communities with a large percentage of low income and minority students residing. so again, going back to the credo, the stanford report, 36 days of traditional learning and math for african-american students, 26 days of additional learning and reading for african-american students. for hispanic students, 48% of additional learning in math, and 25% of additional months for reading. so by and large, we that the evidence is in our favor, and that we should double down on these investments. where charter schools are not performing well, though, we should close them immediately. >> mr. richmond? >> regarding that portion of your question about access,
there is a lot that we can do. some cities are leading the way on this. it's not enough just to open a new school. you have to help parents get information, good, reliable information about it. the enrollment and emissions -- admissions processes have to be run fairly, nondiscriminatory early. transportation. we've heard mention of that. transplantation is a big issue. we have to tackle that and find ways to solve it. opening schools are great, but providing that access to kids who did not have a good school, that's what we are about. and we can do that if we work together. >> thank you, dr. west. >> very briefly on the question about how to best support access to high-quality growth, i think i mentioned in my testimony the fact that we do have some evidence, now that there's a lot of variation in the quality of individual charter schools. we've heard that a lot today.
there is some evidence that the charter sector is improving over time as a result of the closure of low performing schools, expansion of high- quality charter schools. we need to think about how to speed up that process. that is the way to access high- quality schools. that means authorized accountability, and continuing support of the grant program that was included for the first time in a statute. i see the federal government allocating its funds to the schools that have been most successful as going around states anyway. those schools still need to be approved and have charters authorized by their own states. but, it's a way to again, speed this process of continuous improvement. >> thank you. ms. reese, have we seen any potential for charter schools to transform career and technical education? >> so, we have roughly 400 charter schools that label themselves as serving cte, or
s.t.e.m. fields. roughly 200,000 students are in these fields. as you know, charter schools are schools of choice. so depending on the needs of the community, in some communities, they have grown, in other communities, they haven't. there are definitely best practices coming out of these schools. i was visiting the purdue university charter school and indianapolis recently. this was a university that decided to create a charter school in indianapolis in order to attract more students from that city to the school, rather than what it was getting initially which is students from all over the world. it will be interesting to see how many more low income and minority students end up getting their degree from purdue university, thanks to those charter schools. >> thank you very much. i will yield back my time, and yield to the gentle woman from california for any closing comments you like to make.
>> thank you very much, madam chair. i appreciate your last question. as we look to partner with communities and schools in cte as well, we want to be sure that many, many opportunities open up for young people. and, i think that we are really prime to do that, and to scale that in a way that makes a lot of sense and creates some careers that young people perhaps had not even envisioned in the past. i wanted to just comment. because i think that we know that the key for all young people is a good future. and, we have to be sure that all schools -- so, we have 90% of students attend schools that are not charters. that are not specially designed by communities. but in fact, they are also part of communities that can function very well. it's about leadership, it's
about resources, and it's about how to make sure that communities are mobilized to do better by their kids. that's something that is a general theme that we see throughout schools. we just have to be sure that more communities feel a need to do that. we have to look at how kids are achieving. and, as you know, there are pockets of students that are not. and we have to make sure that students in the school system is equalized for more innovation. that of course becomes key. but, school choice as we know is not enough. if the opportunities for those youngsters falls far short, when we compare the investment of those communities for those schools. it's a big charge but we all need to be engaged and involved and focused on that. i thank you very much for being here. >> thank you, ms. davis. again, i want to thank our witnesses for being here
today, and for sharing your valuable time with us. we've heard a lot about what makes the charter sector a valuable part of the education landscape for our students. we have also heard some real concerns that can occur when there is lax oversight of the schools. much of this conversation i think boils down to accountability. it comes through the every students succeeds act, required students told all public schools, both traditional, and charter, and are held accountable for delivering a high-quality education. we've spoken on this issue, and now states and school districts are working to ensure the promise of essa is delivered to the students they serve. with charter schools, we learned today, it's critical for authorizer's to also do their part, because as mr. clark said, his kids get only
one chance. and i agree with them. that the accountability needs to be at the closest level to the students. i've served on the local school board for many years. and, i believe very much in my accountability. i've also been thinking about the question of why we don't have more schools, and more charter schools in rural areas. and obviously, it's a matter of scale. sometimes, the number of students. but i also think about the fact that i represent a very rural area, and i'm out in my district every weekend, talking to people, meeting with people. and, i really have a feeling that, because of rural areas, people are much more involved in their schools. and that perhaps, the schools are much more responsive to the pants, and the teachers, and the people who are in the
schools live in the community. the difference i think between the rural schools and the urban schools is that you don't quite have the same sense of community that you have in the rural areas. and i wonder, that's not something that i know dr. west and anybody is doing any research on. but, it would be fascinating to know whether something like that is occurring. but you know, rural people just step up to meet the needs in their communities in a way that is quite different from what happens in urban areas. there was a cake auction put on by a little church recently and one of my counties. and, i went by last year accidentally. this year, i planned to go. about 25 families there. or, 25 people. 12 or 13 families.
every one of them brought one or two cakes. they raised $4000 at that cake auction. there were, maybe five of the people who showed up and did not bring a cake. and, all of that money went to the backpack program. they donated all of that money to buy food for students on weekends. and i'm just, you know, constantly amazed at the generosity and the involvement of rural people, in the needs of the community. and, i just don't think you see that as you do in urban areas. i think we learned today something i did not actually now, and i appreciate you bringing it out. 90% of the charter schools are authorized by the school districts. that is new information for me. obviously, i think that is
something for us to pay attention to, because a lot of people, i think there are lots of people that are opposed to charter schools generally. and some way or another, associate for nefarious reasons for charter schools. but if the school districts themselves are authorizing those schools, it must be telling us something about a need that must be out there, that even the school district see, and want to see happen. we talk about the issue of the quality of seniors. and i appreciate much of the comments made about the charter schools having that ability to employ the best teachers, and let go of the teachers that don't fit in. that they have a common philosophy, and that in all cases, i think charter schools are very successful.
there are strong leaders. and i think, dr. west, you said they established a common vision. i wish that were possible again in all public schools. but we've known again, for a long, long time, that what makes a great school, what makes it successful, is a wonderful leader, who hires excellent teachers, and parental involvement. we've known that. and that is generally what charter schools do. and what often traditional public schools are not able to do, or they either don't welcome the parental involvement, or the parents think, this is not my responsibility. i'm just turning it over to the schools to do. for whatever reason, you don't always get the same involvement. but when you do, you get great results. i'm, again, a big believer in charter schools.
you all have heard this, staff has heard it. i grew up in a very poor area. i worked hard. it helped me get out of poverty and have a successful life. what i'd like to see is that for everybody. i think you can do it in the traditional public schools but i think you can do it easier in the charter schools. and as i said, we've heard how critical it is for parents to be involved and schools to work with families so the students succeed. i do believe the charter schools will do a better job of that. and i wish that more of that were done in the public schools. so, i thank you for calling our attention to many issues that need to be resolved. but also, reminding people that we have to hold accountable all along the chain, those who are
this weekend on c-span, saturday at 10 a.m. eastern, justice and homeland security officials testify on defending against foreign interference in u.s. elections. sunday at 10:30 a.m., highlights from the u.s.-north korean summit between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un. on book tv, c-span 2, saturday at 9 p.m. eastern, former house speaker newt gingrich talks about his book, "trump's america: the truth about our nation's comeback." and, sunday, francesca ramsey shares her experience in becoming a social justice activist in her book, "well, that escalated quickly." and on american history tv, c- span 3, saturday at 8 p.m.
eastern, lectures in history, duke university professor laura edwards on public lands and the law. examining westward expansion and a lot's role in taking over native american lands. and sunday at 4 p.m. eastern on reel america, the 1944 film, "the memphis belle, the story of the flying fortress." which documents one of the first b-17 bombers to complete the first mission in europe without being shot down. watch the c-span networks this weekend. this weekend, c-span cities tour takes you to new orleans, louisiana on its try centennial year. with the help of our cox communications cable partners, we explore the literary scene and history of the city. saturday at noon eastern on book
tv, we hear about the life and influence of tennessee williams, best known for his plays, "the glass menagerie," "cat on a hot tin roof," and "a streetcar named desire." then cody roberts with his book, "voodoo and power." on sunday on american history tv, explore the exhibit, new orleans, the founding era. >> new orleans is celebrating to try centennial this year in 2018. we are 300 years old. we have decided that for our try centennial exhibition, we wanted to look back at the city's earliest years, and what it was like when the city first developed. >> and then, a visit to one of the city two -- city's oldest restaurants. >> food here takes a larger piece than it does anywhere else. we live to eat in new orleans. >> reporter: watch c-span cities tour of new orleans, louisiana saturday at noon eastern on c-span 2's book tv, and sunday at 2 p.m. on american history tv on c- span 3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america.