Wilmington, Delaware – The Delaware Charter Schools Network will honor Senator Thomas Carper for his leadership in innovation in education at the annual Catalyst in Education award dinner on May 15 at Arsht Hall on the University of Delaware Wilmington Campus. The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a special Gallery of Charter Schools exhibit and student performances. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. with addresses from Governor Jack Markell and Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery.
Keynote Speaker for the evening will be Gerard Robinson, President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to actively support parental choice to empower families and to increase quality educational options. Mr. Robinson has served on numerous charter school task forces, as well as the National Model Charter School Legislation working group sponsored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He also is a member of the advisory committee for The Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. Speaking at the Gallery of Charter Schools will be Dr. Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota, which seeks to help transform public education and to produce significant improvements in student achievement.
Senator Carper’s career in public service began in 1976. After serving five terms as a U.S. congressman, Carper became the 78th governor of Delaware in 1993 and served two terms in that role. As governor, he pursued a common-sense agenda including the introduction of the state’s charter school law in 1995. Senator Carper was named a 2008 Champion for Charters last year for his innovation in education from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The Alliance, which supports the expansion of quality charter schools, credited Carper with being “a stalwart supporter” of charter schools beginning with his first Senate bill in 2001, the Empowering Parents Act.
The Gallery of Charter Schools is sponsored by the Delaware Department of Education and the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices. The Gallery will feature information about all 18 of Delaware’s charter schools as well as examples of best practice taking place in each school.
The Delaware Charter Schools Network serves the state’s charter schools. More than 8,600 students are enrolled in 18 charter schools throughout Delaware. Charter schools are among the top elementary, middle, and high schools in the state according to state test scores. The vision of the Network is to serve as a catalyst for systemic change in the state’s public education system.