Gubernatorial candidate Frank Riggs has promised to repeal Arizona’s participation in Common Core to protect local control of standards and assessments, parental rights, and charter school autonomy; and to reassert Arizona’s state sovereignty and responsibility for K-12 education.
On the occasion of National Charter Schools Week (May 4-10), gubernatorial candidate Frank Riggs salutes the remarkable work being done by charter schools in Arizona and nationally. “Public charter schools are reforming K-12 education through the market principles of competition and choice,” Riggs said. “I admire beyond words the passion, idealism, vision and commitment of charter school founders, leaders and teachers.”
Riggs is considered to be one of the fathers of the charter school movement in Arizona and nationally. “Charter schools are the most important, scalable and successful initiative to reform and improve American K-12 education in our lifetimes,” said Riggs. “No child is ever assigned to attend a charter school. Charter schools must compete to enroll students and therefore must be fully responsive and accountable to parents.”
Charter schools have grown at the rate of 350 new schools per-year over the past decade. Today, over 2.5 million students attend nearly 6,500 charter schools across the nation, with more schools per capita in Arizona than any other state. The average charter school wait list is nearly 300 students. Over 60 percent of charter schools serve student populations where the majority of students qualify as low-income.
As a U.S. Congressman, Riggs chaired the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families and authored the Charter School Expansion Act which created a federal grant program to help newly formed charter schools with their start-up costs. As a private citizen and Arizonan, he and his staff team built the largest nonprofit organization (and Community Development Financial Institution) in the country dedicated to helping charter schools finance and build their educational facilities, including over 300,000 square feet of facilities for Arizona charter schools serving roughly 5,000 students. Riggs also was the founding board president of an Arizona statewide, on-line charter school that provides an accredited curriculum to home schooling families.
Of Riggs’ congressional service, the conservative Heritage Foundation said, “Representative Riggs spearheaded many cutting edge initiatives like school choice and charter schools.”