Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools presented Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) with the 2014 Charter Champion Award at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Illinois Network of Charter Schools President Andrew Broy introduced Senator Kirk, thanked him for his support of charter schools, and described the critical role he played in bringing charter options to families in North Chicago. Senator Kirk firmly believes in the power of education to transform lives and communities and recently introduced a bill to promote the replication and expansion of high-performing charter schools.
“In an era of divisive politics, it’s encouraging to have leaders representing Illinois who prioritize education and empower families by supporting high-quality charter public schools,” said Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “Education remains our country’s great equalizer of opportunity. Senator Kirk’s commitment to improving academic achievement and public school options for all students is a shining example of how legislators can work to put families first.”
Earlier this year, Senator Kirk announced new legislation that would promote year-round elementary and secondary school pilot programs to boost academic achievement in low-income, low-performing school districts across the nation. He outlined the legislation at Alain Locke Charter School, which has academic classes year-round, and serves the under-resourced community of East Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side.
The Charter Champion awards are given annually during National Charter Schools Week, which celebrates the great work accomplished by charter public schools across the country that now serve more than 2.5 million students. The Charter Champion awards recognize public officials for their outstanding service to the students, parents and families of the charter public school movement. The Charter Champion awards are presented to the very top federal, state and local public officials who serve as the most visible charter school advocates and who – throughout their career in public service – have tirelessly supported charters as a high-quality public school option.
Kirk is one of seven recipients from across the country being recognized for their work on behalf of charter public schools according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) received the award last year making Illinois the only state where both federal Senators have been awarded. Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley received the award in 2007.
In Illinois, charter public schools currently serve nearly 60,000 students in 145 campuses across the state.
The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) is dedicated to the improvement of education by establishing high-quality charter public schools that transform lives and communities. As the voice of the Illinois charter schools, INCS advocates for legislation on behalf of the charter sector, provides support to strengthen charter schools, and influences education policy for the benefit of all public school students.