Throughout National Charter Schools Week, the Charter Blog will announce the 2013 Charter Champions! This year’s Charter Champion awards recognize five outstanding public officials for their service to the students and parents of the public charter school movement.
Given annually during National Charter Schools Week, the Charter Champion awards are presented to the very top federal, state and local public officials who lead the most impactful public charter school initiatives, 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. Now in its eighth year, awardees will be honored today at our nation’s Capitol. This year’s federal Charter Champions are Senator Richard Durbin (IL) and Congressman John Kline (MN). Senator Richard J. Durbin (IL) Senator and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois, the state’s senior senator, and the convener of Illinois’ bipartisan congressional delegation. Senator Durbin is one of the strongest proponents of public charter schools in the United States Senate. In 2010, he introduced a bipartisan bill, the All STAR Act, to replicate and expand the most successful of charter schools across the country. In addition, he was instrumental in the establishment of the first charter school in North Chicago, the LEARN Public Charter School. Located on the edge of the Great Lakes Naval Station in Lake County, IL, the charter network partnered with the United State Navy to open this school. Congressman John Kline (MN) Congressman John Kline proudly represents the men and women of Minnesota’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives since first being elected to Congress in 2002. As Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Congressman Kline skillfully forged a bipartisan compromise on legislation to reauthorize the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP), which passed the House of Representatives in September 2011 with 365 votes – the strongest showing yet in the House for public charter schools. This Congress, Chairman Kline will lead efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including the CSP.