September 21, 2010: In a show devoted to the upcoming documentary Waiting for "Superman," Oprah recognized six charter school networks throughout the nation with a $1 million donation from her Angel Foundation.
In California, the award will go to Aspire Public Schools, which operates some 30 charter schools in cities like East Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Sacramento. The schools serve more than 10,000 students, a majority of which come from low-income neighborhoods. The donation comes at a time when education reform continues to create debate, as parents look for better educational options for their children. "Waiting for Superman" tackles the issue by introducing the audience to the real people in the debate, both from inside and outside the classroom. It's a true testament to the need for more charter schools, and Oprah's commitment and donation will help in our goal to extend these opportunities to every child and family.
The Aspire schools, just like many charters in California, posted significant gains in academic achievement when their Academic Performance Index (API) scores were released just last week. They averaged a score of 824. These schools include Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, Vincent Shalvey Academy and River Oaks Charters in Lodi, and Capital Heights Academy in Sacramento.
Redwood City's Summit Preparatory Charter School was also featured on the show, and appeared in the film, along with some of its students.