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U.S. Department of Education Awards $245 Million to Expand Charter Schools

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The U.S. Department of Education has announced it is awarding $245 million to eight states and 15 charter school networks this year.

The Charter Schools Program gives millions annually to select state departments of education and charter management organizations (i.e. nonprofit networks of charter schools) to help them launch new charter schools.

Massachusetts is among the state recipients, which adds an interesting twist to a robust debate going on there over whether the state should lift a cap it currently has on how many charter schools can open. The decision is being put to voters this November.

In related news, the Education Department decided earlier this month to release—with restrictions—a $71 million grant it awarded to Ohio through the Charter School Program last year. Its decision to give such a large sum of money to Ohio drew a lot of criticism because of well-documented issues over many years of poor academic achievement and even fraud among many Ohio charter schools.

Although state lawmakers passed a bill overhauling the state's charter school law to address some of the most egregious issues, some state policymakers felt the state needed to prove it could enact those reforms before being given the money. (I wrote extensively about the issue at the time, and you can find that story here.)

Below is the full list of Charter School Program grant recipients and the amounts they will be awarded for 2016.

States Educational Agencies Grantees:

  • California Department of Education— $27,329,904
  • Florida Department of Education— $58,454,516
  • Georgia Department of Education— $24,447,229
  • Louisiana Department of Education— $4,836,766
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education— $12,549,937
  • Tennessee Department of Education— $15,172,732
  • Texas Education Agency— $30,498,392
  • Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction— $4,102,455

Charter Management Organization Grantees:

  • Amethod Charter Schools, Calif.— $2,179,474
  • Carmen High School of Science and Technology, Inc., Wis.— $1,384,190
  • Collegiate Academies, La.— $1,775,257
  • Democracy Prep Public Schools, N.Y.— $4,591,801
  • Denver School of Science and Technology, Colo.— $4,043,361
  • Equitas Academy Charter School, Inc., Calif.— $1,121,544
  • IDEA Public Schools, Texas— $6,338,769
  • InspireNOLA Charter Schools, La.— $1,373,714
  • KIPP Foundation in Consortium with KIPP Regions, Calif.— $29,799,050
  • NACA Inspired Schools Network, N.M.— $1,346,078
  • National Center for Hebrew Language Charter School Excellence, N.Y.— $2,173,676
  • Propel Schools Foundation, Pa.— $855,999
  • The Friends of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, Inc., N.Y.— $771,999
  • Tindley Network Schools, Ind.— $1,923,866
  • Uncommon Schools, Inc., N.Y.— $8,004,576

According to the Education Department, it has invested over $3 billion in charter schools so far and helped launch 2,500 new schools.

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