The Obama administration has been a strong backer of charter schools, having prodded states to allow their growth through federal efforts such as the Race to the Top program. This week, the president is touting charter schools' merits through a favorite, and typically symbolic act of White Houses past and present: issuing a presidential proclamation.
The proclamation, offered during National Charter Schools Week, calls on "states and communities to support charter schools and the students they serve." It says:
Whether created by parents and teachers or community and civic leaders, charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country. These institutions give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models and develop creative methods to meet students' needs. This unique flexibility is matched by strong accountability and high standards, so underperforming charter schools can be closed, while those that consistently help students succeed can serve as models of reform for other public schools.
There are plenty of stories of academic success in the charter school arena, and more than a few reports of academic or financial woe. But in this announcement, the White House's message is one of optimism. (Hey, it's their bully pulpit and they can do what they want.)