Recipients are recognized for their exceptional support of public charter schools
The National Alliance for Public Schools honored eight federal lawmakers with the 2023 Champion for Charter Schools Award, recognizing these legislators’ commitment to advocating for policy that will enable charter schools to thrive. This bipartisan roster of leaders earned this distinction for their tireless efforts and political courage to ensure that families and students have high-quality public education options necessary for building a strong foundation to succeed in life.
“This bipartisan group of lawmakers has fought for students and families, not just in their home states and districts, but also at the national level,” says Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We celebrate and commend their work in Congress which puts the interests of students first. The ability for public charter schools to innovate and serve more families and communities is possible due to the sound policy put forth by lawmakers like our 2023 Champions.”
We commend this group of lawmakers and dozens more for signing the 2023 Senate Resolution to celebrate National Charter Schools Week, a meaningful action to celebrate charter schools’ contributions to public education. The resolution was led by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Michael Bennett (D-CO).
The following leaders received the 2023 Champion for Charter Schools Award:
Representative Rick Allen (R-GA-12)
A vocal supporter of public charter schools, Representative Allen continues to put kids first as he serves on the Education & Workforce Committee, where he was formerly the chairman of the K-12 Subcommittee. He believes every student deserves the chance to receive a high-quality public education regardless of zip code. On the house floor, he said charter schools are an “opportunity to bring real educational choice to families in America.”
Representative Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29)
With nearly 23,000 students in 34 charter schools in his district, Representative Cardenas is an ardent supporter of charter schools. As a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Representative Cardenas consistently supports the Charter Schools Program to fund the expansion and replication of high-quality charter schools. As a father of a charter school student and the son of immigrants, Representative Cardenas knows firsthand the value of high-quality public education options.
Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-7)
A rising star, Representative Fletcher demonstrates great support for charter schools and the communities they serve. Representative Fletcher serves more than 15,000 students in 29 charter schools in her district. Active on issues important to the district’s diverse and dynamic community, Congresswoman Fletcher is a member of key caucuses, including the New Democrat Coalition, and believes that a quality public education is essential to our democracy and that the education of all students should be a priority.
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
As a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Hassan steadfastly advocates for the rights of students and their families, ensuring they have access to high-quality public education options. Senator Hassan has been a consistent supporter of charter schools as a senator and throughout her public service career. As Governor of New Hampshire, she was a loyal charter school supporter, urging her colleagues to expand access to high-quality public schools through education policy. With more than 4,500 charter school students and 37 schools in the state, New Hampshire charter schools serve their communities with innovative educational strategies to best help students meet their academic potential.
Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-8)
Representative Lesko is a dedicated champion in the charter school sector. Her district is home to more than 20,000 students in 55 schools. Prior to her role in the U.S. House of Representatives, Representative Lesko served in the Arizona Legislature for nine years–the last three of which were in the Arizona Senate, where she served as Senate President Pro-Tempore and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. During her time in state and federal office, she has been a consistent supporter of high-quality education options for all kids.
Representative Julia Letlow (R-LA-5)
A rising star in the charter school sector, Representative Letlow currently sits on the House Education & Workforce Committee as well as on the House Labor Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee. Not only does Representative Letlow serve more than 5,000 students in 10 charter schools in her district, but she is also a mother and education professional who has dedicated her life to promoting and advocating for public education options in Louisiana. At every opportunity, she is a vocal supporter of charter schools because she believes that they provide much needed high-quality education options for families.
Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8)
Representative Lynch is a staunch advocate for public education and the Charter Schools Program. Throughout his ten year career in Congress, he has been an avid supporter and advocate for students to have access to high-quality charter schools in their districts. Serving more than 3,000 students in five charter schools across his district, Representative Lynch works to grow and expand charter schools to serve more families. Thanks to his leadership, Massachusetts continues to receive praise for having some of the highest performing charter schools in the nation.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
With nearly 350,000 students in 690 schools in Florida, Senator Rubio has proven himself to be a charter school champion. During his time in the Florida State Legislature and in the U.S. Senate, he has consistently supported choice, charter schools, and the Charter Schools Program. Senator Rubio believes charter schools allow innovation which provides more variety and freedom to find new ways of teaching and the ability to meet students where they are on their educational journey. As the son of immigrants, Senator Rubio knows firsthand the value education plays in achieving the American Dream.