L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Receives Award, Discusses Education at 18th Annual Charter Schools Conference

March 9, 2011

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575

SAN DIEGO, California.--The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) today presented Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with the Hart Vision Award for Elected Leader of the Year at the 18th Annual Charter Schools Conference, being held in San Diego.

"Mayor Villaraigosa has been an outstanding force in the education reform efforts in Los Angeles, and a great support for our advocacy efforts this year with his support of the Public School Choice initiative, as well as our efforts on Proposition 39 facilities, so that all charters receive adequate space to teach our students," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the CCSA. "The Mayor successfully ran with an education platform that embodies true reform in public education."

Mayor Villaraigosa, a native of East Los Angeles, and is currently serving his second term in office. He oversees the Partnership for L.A. Schools, which runs ten of the lowest-performing schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and is already seeing an improvement in test scores.

In addition, the Mayor has consistently supported calls for increased accountability in all public schools, including charters, by setting a goal to transform public education, and bring innovation and choice to the students of Los Angeles.

During his speech, the Mayor called for increased collaboration in public education.

"We must start blurring the lines between charter and traditional schools until the distinctions cease to exist. We need to end once and for all the damaging us-versus-them mentality that has polluted relations between school districts and the charter community, and jeopardized the potential for meaningful reform," said Mayor Villaraigosa.

Mayor Villaraigosa's sense of civic justice and political action began at a young age. As a high school student, he volunteered with the farm workers movement, led student walkouts and organized an African-American student union. In 1994, the Mayor was elected to the California State Assembly and, four years later, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years.

The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

For more information on the 18th Annual California Charter Schools Conference, please visit www.charterconference.org.

About the California Charter Schools Association*

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools and more than 365,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit www.ccsa.org.

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