Association Statement on Charter Closure

Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO Eileen B. Sigmund issued the following statement in response to the mid-year closure of Discovery Creemos Academy, formerly Bradley Academy of Excellence:

“On behalf of the Arizona Charter Schools Association, we are aghast at the reprehensible behavior exhibited by the administrator of Discovery Creemos Academy, formerly Bradley Academy of Excellence. It is unthinkable to close a school mid-year with no warning to parents and families. Similarly, it is unacceptable to subject students to the poor academic conditions illustrated by the Academy’s most recent AzMERIT assessment score, released in September 2017.

“The actions of Discovery Creemos Academy are not reflective of the approximately 550 public charter schools across Arizona and the 185,000 students they serve. The teachers, administrators and staff members of these schools are dedicated to providing their students the best possible education every day.

“This fact, of course, is cold comfort to those suddenly locked out of the classroom due to the reckless decisions of a single school operator. The Arizona Charter Schools Association pledges to assist wherever possible so that these teachers and students can find new schools quickly and complete the 2017-18 school year with a minimum of disruption.”

Association Statement on Governor Ducey’s Executive Budget

Eileen B. Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association, released the following statement in response to Governor Ducey’s Executive Budget:

“Today, Governor Ducey released a budget proposal that reflects his commitment to K-12 education and makes crucial investments in Arizona schools, teachers and students.

“As he had promised, public education receives the lion’s share of new dollars in the Governor’s spending plan; K-12 schools would see a welcome infusion of $400 million in the coming year. That includes much needed additional resources for capital, teacher pay and other school needs.

“As Governor Ducey said earlier this week ‘we’ll never check the box on public education.’ We agree – but this spending plan takes a positive, meaningful and sustainable step toward ensuring Arizona schools and teachers have the support they need to succeed for Arizona students.

“On behalf of the Arizona Charter Schools Association, we thank Governor Ducey for his continued attention to K-12 education and building a strong coalition. As the budget process moves forward, we pledge to work with the Governor and legislators to ensure our state delivers a winning plan for Arizona students and families.”

Charter Association Commends Governor for Commitment to K-12 Education

Governor’s State of the State Address Highlights Student Success, Promises to Maintain and Restore Funding

“Governor Ducey is right: Arizona public schools are improving. Students across our state are making significant gains in academic performance, and we are seeing real progress closing the achievement gap among students of color. I’m proud the 185,000 Arizona students attending public charter schools are setting the pace in achievement. Charter students of every racial and ethnic group have outperformed the state average for each of the past three years.

“We commend the Governor for his commitment to restore K-12 education funding and maintain investments in targeted programs, which provide stability to all of our public schools.

“As budget discussions move forward, we stand ready to assist Governor Ducey and legislators in our shared mission to bring a quality education to every Arizona student. Let’s get to work!”

-Eileen B. Sigmund, President and CEO of Arizona Charter Schools Association


Association responds to ACLU attack on charter schools

Eileen B. Sigmund, president and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association, has made the following statement:

“Arizona charter schools are public schools and open to every Arizona family. That is the law and has been the guiding principle behind the charter movement over the past two decades.

Public charter schools are meeting tremendous public demand, and 185,000 Arizona students now attend a charter school of their choice. Contrary to the spurious and misleading allegations contained in an ACLU hit piece, enrollment data across charter schools demonstrate they are educating a student population that is increasingly diverse and representative of Arizona’s student body.

It is clear this attack makes broad-brush accusations that are misleading or are not violations of the law. The reason is simple: The ACLU has an anti-charter agenda. That’s why, despite the fact that district schools enroll approximately 84 percent of Arizona students, the ACLU purposefully limited its inquiry to charter schools. The ACLU has taken a similar tact in issuing anti-charter ‘reports’ in other states, with the unspoken intent to roll-back school-choice laws and undermine the ability of families to determine what school is best for their children.

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2017 Charter Award Winners

Charter schools have been part of the fabric of Arizona’s public school landscape for over 20 years. Through the hard work and dedication of our teachers, administrators and students, Arizona charter schools are outperforming nearly every state in the country.

The Association is proud to celebrate these success stories through our 2017 Charter Awards, spotlighting outstanding examples of public charter school excellence in teaching, academic leadership, business administration and school-wide success.

“The 2017 Charter Award honorees embody the promise of public charter schools and work tirelessly every day to improve education in schools and communities across Arizona,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “These educators fully represent the quality choices, which are fundamental to Arizona families. Congratulations to this year’s winners!”

Winners and finalists will be honored at a ceremony on December 6 at the Hotel Palomar in Phoenix.

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Association Hires Director of Government Affairs

The Arizona Charter Schools Association is proud to announce the hiring of Matthew Simon as its Director of Government Affairs. Simon, a Tucson native, joins the Association after serving as Education Policy Advisory for Senate Majority Staff. During his time at the Arizona State Legislature, Simon developed a wealth of education finance and policy knowledge. Simon is a former high school science teacher and Teach for America corps member. He graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Political Science and is working towards his MBA in 2019.

“As a former teacher, Matthew understands the impact advocacy and policy can have on the classroom,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “Matthew brings another layer of support to Association members and we are thrilled to have his expertise on our team to inform policymakers of the excellent work in Arizona’s public charter schools.”

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Public charter schools held to stringent financial accountability while improving student achievement

Eileen B. Sigmund, Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO, released the following statement:

“Lost in the Grand Canyon Institute’s self-published 90-page diatribe against public charter schools is virtually any mention of what matters most: student performance. And that’s no coincidence, as students across all demographics see higher outcomes when enrolled in charter schools. For the last three years, public charter students in all racial and ethnic groups are outperforming their peers. The fact is that the finest public schools in Arizona are public charter schools, which have been lifting the quality of education in our state for more than a decade. The outstanding performance of Arizona’s charter sector compels better results in district schools — exactly what was intended when the charter law was enacted in 1994.

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Charter Students Top State Performers

For three straight years, charter students outperform state averages

Public charter school students continue to outperform their peers, as AzMERIT results show charter students scored better than the state average in virtually every grade level and subject area for the third straight year.

The AzMERIT scores, released by the Arizona Department of Education on September 6, illustrate the hard work and dedication of Arizona’s charter students, teachers and leaders.

“These results are a strong testament to the great work happening at public charter schools across Arizona, and further validation of our efforts to expand high-quality education options for a rising number of students and families statewide,” said Eileen Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “Charter schools are raising the bar and improving public education in Arizona. We’re proud of all the wonderful educators, students and families who continue to drive that success.”

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Statement on DACA and resources for schools

Today the Arizona Charter Schools Association issued the follow statement in response to the rescission of the the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

We believe that every Arizona school should be a safe, inspiring place for all children, regardless of their immigration status. National policy is changing, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring supportive schools where all students feel safe to pursue their dreams and contribute to the evolving Arizona that we all call home. We stand with all students – every aspiring architect, lawyer, doctor, and teacher – and we remain unwavering in helping them realize their dreams. We understand that many of our school community members have questions and fears about the recent rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its serious implications for the DREAMers in our state. As a support organization for Arizona’s 556 public charter schools, we’ve compiled resources to support for our schools.

Access the Resources