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Gates Awards $25 Million for District-Charter Partnerships

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The Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling almost $25 million to be distributed to seven cities across the U.S. to support collaboration between charter schools and regular public schools.

The seven cities—Boston; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; New Orleans; New York City; Philadelphia; and Spring Branch, Texas—were chosen from a pool of 16 cities that have signed district-charter collaboration compacts, an initiative of the Gates Foundation launched in 2010 that aims to bring public district schools and charter schools together to work on issues such as joint professional development for charter and traditional public schools, implementing the Common Core State Standards, crafting a universal enrollment system for all public schools in the city, and creating common metrics to help better and more easily evaluate all schools.

The district-charter collaboration compacts bring together a variety of groups across education, including teachers, superintendents, charter school leaders, district public school leaders, and other community member, such as local teachers' unions representatives, school board members, and mayors, in order to create partnerships between charter schools and district public schools and ease tensions between the different school models. The compact cities promise to share resources and best practices between district and charter schools, as well as establish equitable accountability practices for both school models.

Each of the 16 cities that have signed the compacts received $100,000 upon signing. The larger grants were announced in December 2011, and since then, all 16 cities have competed for those funds.

The grants will be awarded over the next few years as follows:

• New Orleans: $2,968,172
• Hartford: $4,996,773
• Boston: $3,250,000
• Denver: $4,001,999
• Spring Branch: $2,192,636
• Philadelphia: $2,499,210
• New York City: $3,699,999

The Gates Foundation will likely provide another round of funding in 2013, according to the philanthropy's announcement. (The Gates Foundation also provides support for Education Week.) Read more about the foundation's strategy for charter schools here, and check out this Chicago-focused story for more background on the initiative.

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