McDonnell Talks to Duncan About Charters

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) conveyed his support for the White House’s “Race to the Top” education program in a phone call  this afternoon with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The conversation came hours after Duncan and President Barack Obama stopped at a Falls Church school to pitch the program — without inviting McDonnell to attend.

NBC29 was first to report that McDonnell did not receive an invite.

In a statement, the governor said he promised to do anything he could to help promote Mr. Obama’s education initiatives.

“The president and I are of different parties, but when it comes to expanding positive educational opportunities for our young people we are of like minds,” McDonnell said in the statement.

The full release from McDonnell’s office is after the jump.

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on President’s Visit to the Commonwealth
Governor Has Lengthy Conversation with Education Secretary Arne Duncan Following Event
Pledges Partnership in Effort to Expand High-Quality Charter Schools; Implement Education Reforms
Virginia’s Race to the Top Application Submitted January 14th; Seeks $350 Million from Federal Grant Program
RICHMOND- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell released the following statement this evening regarding the visit of President Barack Obama and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the Commonwealth earlier today. McDonnell has pledged the full support of his administration in the President’s effort to expand the number of high-quality charter schools in the United States. McDonnell has previously noted that the Commonwealth’s application for the President’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant program was submitted last Thursday, a joint effort of the outgoing Kaine Administration and the McDonnell transition office.  The Commonwealth requested $350 million in federal funding to promote charter schools. 
 “It is always an honor to have the President in the Commonwealth. The President and I are of different parties, but when it comes to expanding positive educational opportunities for our young people we are of like minds. The President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who joined him today, are committed to dramatically increasing the number of charter schools in the nation and enacting education reform. Virginia is the perfect state to lead this effort. Twelve years after we passed our state law allowing for charter schools in the Commonwealth, only three are in operation. A fourth, Patrick Henry Charter School, will open this spring in Richmond. It was great to welcome a potential kindergartner in the school’s inaugural class, Everett, age four, to my Address to the Joint Houses of the General Assembly last night.
           I spoke at length by phone today with Secretary Duncan regarding the Commonwealth’s support for education reform to give parents and young people greater options in our public education system.  We discussed his visit to Virginia and agreed to work together to create more high-quality charter schools.
Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson and I are committed to putting Virginia in the vanguard of the national charter school movement. We are equally committed to working with the Administration to establish means by which we can better reward our great teachers for their service, and to identify and implement additional educational reforms that will help every student, in every community, get the education they need to compete in our global economy. The education of our children is not a partisan issue. We all agree that no child should attend an underperforming school and no young person should have their opportunities determined by their birthplace or zip code.”

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