It’s always nice when our hard work gets rewarded. Last week, Congress passed and the President signed an appropriations bill that will take Charter Schools Program (CSP) funding to a record level of $440 million for fiscal year 2019! As you know, the CSP provides critically needed funds to help the charter school movement grow and expand. With millions of families still waiting for their opportunity to access a charter school, a great deal of our work in Washington, D.C. is devoted to building support for CSP funding. This appropriation is a big win for charter schools and our families!
We’re always pressing for more charter school funding to meet the demand for high-quality public schools. Recently we’ve brought special attention to the need for facilities funding and financing, as finding and paying for facilities is one of the biggest barriers facing educators who want to open new charter schools. We were thrilled to learn that the federal government, in its latest round of CSP grants, awarded the National Alliance funding to establish the Charter School Facilities Center (CSFC), the first-ever entity solely dedicated to helping public charter schools access better and more affordable facilities and facility financing. Our release contains more information about the CSFC. In our Washington Update, you’ll also find info about the other CSP grants announced, as well as our latest campaign to build support for facilities funding, given the focus that infrastructure is likely to receive in the new Congress.
Of course, the work to advocate for charter schools goes on across the country. Election Day is five weeks away. In addition to the Congressional elections, 36 states are electing governors, and countless state legislators, mayors, school board members, and other officials will be elected. Each one could help to shape the future of charter school policy. We’ll continue to work every angle to ensure that charter school students and educators get the support and funding they deserve.
2018 #BringTheFunk Awards
The National Alliance joined several co-sponsors to honor eight African-American leaders with the first annual #BringTheFunk Awards, which recognize bold educators and policymakers working to bring high-quality public school opportunities to students. Held in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference, the honorees included three caucus members: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). Five school leaders were also honored: Margaret Fortune (Fortune School), Donald Hense (Friendship Public Schools), Tim King (Urban Prep Academies), Dr. Charlene Reid (Excellence Community Schools), and Shantelle Wright (Achievement Preparatory Academy). To experience the event, take a look at our Facebook photo album and be sure to watch Roland Martin’s full broadcast from the awards ceremony.
A Look at Unified Enrollment Systems
Unified enrollment systems have become increasingly popular because they facilitate public school choice, streamline burdensome application processes, and ideally increase equity, but there are pros and cons to these systems. Our report, Unified Enrollment: Lessons Learned from Across the Country, provides an overview of how these systems have been designed and implemented in six public school districts and reviews the available outcome-related research.
National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools Releases Principles of Equitable Schools
The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools’ Equity Coalition released the Principles of Equitable Schools, which establish a standard of equity intended to help parents, policymakers, and other stakeholders weigh their options when choosing a school. The Equity Coalition recommends that these core principles should be upheld by any school enrolling students using public dollars. Read more in this article in The 74.
New Resources for School Leadership and Boards
The National Charter School Resource Center unveiled two new resources aimed at providing guidance to charter school governing boards on school leadership and board recruitment. The Charter School Governing Board Primer: School Leadership provides best practices and support designed to ensure great school leadership. The Charter School Governing Board Recruitment Toolkit provides assessments and sample board matrices for boards to understand their needs.
Congress passed and the president signed the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which provides $440 million for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2019, which started October 1. This is the highest-ever funding level in the program’s more than 20-year history, and 10 percent higher than FY 2018 funding. Read the National Alliance’s statement here.
The U.S. Department of Education also made a major CSP grant announcement, awarding $399 million in grant funding. This vital funding will allow these recipients to embark on the hard work of establishing and expanding charter schools nationwide. For more information on each grant and the funding recipients, see the National Alliance’s press release.
The National Alliance received a CSP grant award to establish the new Charter School Facilities Center, which will share essential resources to help charter schools acquire the facilities and financing they need to meet parental demand. We have created a list of five things everyone needs to know about charter school facilities, as well as an infographic that can be shared on social media.
Hosting school visits for elected officials is one of the most effective ways to build long-term relationships and show members of Congress the results charter schools are achieving for students. The National Alliance has compiled a toolkit that offers guidance on the entire process of hosting a school visit, from scheduling to sending a thank you note.
A new survey released by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found considerable support for charter schools in Michigan: 91 percent of charter school parents were likely to recommend charter schools to others. The parents surveyed also shared a variety of reasons why they chose to send their child to a charter school.
New research from Pew shows that while America’s teaching force is less diverse than its student population, charter school teachers are more likely than district school teachers to be non-white.
Don’t forget to take a look at the National Alliance’s new and improved Charter School Data Dashboard, which provides national statistics on enrollment, demographics, curriculum model and school focus, grade configuration, and management structure. Click here to access the Data Dashboard and keep an eye out for updates.
From The Charter Blog
The Charter Blog includes information and perspectives from throughout the charter school movement. Here are some recent pieces that you won’t want to miss!
- 5 public charter schools making waves for their take on the vocational model
- Understanding charter school facilities challenges: A Q&A with Nevada Rise Academy
- Aspiring investment banker switches paths to teach full-time
- Beyond the bubbled scoresheets: charter schools and the long-term outcomes of their students
- Five Keys Charter School gives incarcerated students a second chance at graduation
Welcome to the National Alliance!
We’re welcoming two new fellows to the National Alliance team!
Tim Abram is the LEE Public Policy Fellow for the 2018-19 year. Prior to joining the National Alliance, he worked as a high school teacher in the Mississippi Delta and as an education policy fellow for Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). Tim graduated from the University of Mississippi and recently completed a master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is from Horn Lake, Mississippi.
Marlon Greatrex is the 2018-19 Walton Family Foundation Education Graduate Fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). He has worked in education for 12 years, in both the charter school movement and with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Marlon earned a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Long Beach. In his personal time, Marlon enjoys outdoor and sports activities, and he is passionate about health and wellness.
Great Talent Needed!
The National Alliance is currently recruiting a Senior Director of Research and Evaluation to lead our innovative research and data program and manage the research and evaluation team. Please click here for more details, and pass the word to great candidates!
We want to connect great talent with great opportunities throughout the charter school movement. Our Charter School Job Board includes job openings for a variety of positions across the country. It’s a great resource for organizations looking to hire and for individuals looking to make a difference in the lives of students.
Support the National Alliance
The National Alliance is a non-profit organization that relies on generous partners like you. Please consider supporting the growth and sustainability of charter schools by making a tax-deductible gift or adding your name to our advocacy list. Thank you!