Carper Urges House to Expand Charter Schools and Choice, Joins Governor Ridge to Testify Before Representative Castle and House Education Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – The Congress must expand funding for charter schools and public school choice to rescue children trapped in failing schools, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) testified today. Carper joined Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to testify before Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) and the full House Education and Workforce Committee. “We need to ensure that parents with children trapped in failing schools are offered what they want for their children and that if their children are not getting what they want and need, they have the choice – and most importantly the ability – to go somewhere else,” Carper said. “We can do this in part by working to expanding public school choice and charter schools. We can do this in part if we stop spreading Title 1 dollars so thin that they fail to make a difference in children’s lives.” Carper warned that President Bush’s current school voucher proposal is an “empty promise,” and cautioned Congress against passing mandates for annual student testing without providing states the money to help pay for it. Because the areas where both parties agree far outnumber their areas of disagreement, Carper urged both parties and both houses of Congress to work to achieve consensus on reforming public school education. “Bipartisan agreement is well within our reach,” Carper said. “I am hopeful that we can work together to translate our common goals into common ground legislation that will help every child in America reach high standards.” A former Congressman, Governor and Chairman of the National Governor’s Association, Carper has always made raising student achievement his priority. This past spring test scores in reading and math showed improvement in every grade tested, in every county, and in every school district in Delaware. Under the Carper administration, Delaware became the first state to put into place a comprehensive system of standards, accountability, local control, and public school choice. Carper lead the successful effort to reduce class sizes in the early grades, raise teacher salaries, and is ending social promotion. Delaware was also the first state to wire every classroom to the Internet and the first to assess every school and post results on the Internet.