AFP Testimony in Support of the Charter School Act

February 26, 2013

Statement of Support for LB 593                                                                              February 25, 2013

Chairwoman Sullivan and Members of the Education Committee,

My name is Matthew Litt, M-A-T-T-H-E-W L-I-T-T, and I am the Nebraska Deputy State Director of Americans for Prosperity, a free-market advocacy group with over 40,000 members statewide

We support Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh’s LB 593 because education is foundational for future opportunities in life and the state of Nebraska must give families the opportunity to choose the best educational environment for their child.

In July of 2000, Gen. Colin Powell made a profound statement about charter schools.  He said, “Let’s not be afraid of charter schools… Let’s use innovation and competition, good old American innovation, good old American competition to help give our kids the best education possible”.  This statement is similar to what other liberals, moderates, and conservatives have said in support of charter schools.

This bill simply seeks to increase the educational choices for families.  Public charter schools would only add to the array of educational options families currently enjoy. let’s let’s

Proponents of the Charter School Act are not asking for mass implementation of charter schools across the state.  We are only asking that this committee and the legislature give this educational environment a chance.  We think it is important to note that only five schools with no more than 1,000 students total would be established; that is less than 2% of the total students in OPS.  This is an opportunity with little too lose and an incredible amount to gain.  If successful this could not only benefit Omaha but be expanded to other school districts, cities, or across the state.

This is not a “Wild West” scenario.  These schools are held to the same standards as any other school.  Although, many charter schools out perform their peers.  This is a decision of maintaining the status quo or allowing for greater success in our schools.

Families should have greater choice for the type of education their children receive.

Finally, the Charter School Act does not take away from the fact that many public school teachers are deeply committed to their students.  This legislative bill is about giving children and their families a chance to find the best education environment possible for their children.

We must let go of preconceived notions of charter schools and seek the best possible ways of education our young people.  LB 593 can be summarized as such: giving children a chance to be successful, because if nothing else, we owe them that.

Thank you for your time and I will answer any questions you may have.

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