For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Contact:Jacqueline Reis 781 338 3115

U.S. Department of Education Awards Massachusetts Nearly $16 Million to Support High-Quality Charter Schools

Malden - This week, the U.S. Department of Education awarded approximately $15.876 million over three years to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education under the federal department's Charter Schools Program. This grant supports the creation of high-quality public charter schools nationwide by providing start-up funds for new charter schools, strengthening accountability for charter school performance, sharing practices for school success and ultimately improving educational outcomes for students. "I am pleased to have this support from the federal government to expand high-quality options for Massachusetts families, especially when we have over 32,000 students on waitlists for charter schools across the Commonwealth," said Governor Charlie Baker. "We have the strongest school system in the nation, and this grant is a major vote of confidence in the quality of Massachusetts' charters." "I thank the U.S. Department of Education for investing in Massachusetts and in our students," said Secretary Jim Peyser. "This grant will allow us to establish more high-quality charter schools in Massachusetts' high-need districts, improving choices for families, especially those who need them most." "This grant is a testament to our Board's careful work as the state's sole charter school authorizer and our staff's diligent vetting and monitoring of charter schools," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I believe this grant's impact will extend beyond charter schools and will help expand upon practices that can be used in all schools, not simply charters." The Department is one of eight state education agencies to receive funding through the Charter Schools Program grant. Receipt of the grant funds validates ESE's commitment to and investment in establishing high-quality charter schools in Massachusetts' highest-need districts. Massachusetts has earned Charter Schools Program grant funding several times since 1995. In the past, the grant money has provided start-up funds for new Massachusetts charter schools, and the funds also supported the replication of existing high-quality charter schools. Additionally, Charter Schools Program funds have facilitated the sharing of innovative practices between charter schools and traditional district schools. "Ensuring that all students have access to an academically challenging and engaging education is critical to preparing them for college and career success," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "Innovative charter schools are continuously developing new and impactful practices to close achievement gaps and provide all students with the skills and abilities they need to thrive. We are proud to support these efforts along with strong charter school authorizing and accountability, particularly given these grantees' commitment to communities facing steep academic challenges." The Department will award Charter Schools Program sub-grants to new charter schools. As part of an ongoing commitment to improve equitable access to high-quality charter schools, ESE will award significantly increased start-up funds to applicant groups who design educational programs meant to serve educationally disadvantaged students such as English language learners and over-age and under-credited high school students. Additionally, ESE will encourage the development of high-quality charter schools that intend to backfill vacancies above the minimum level required so as to be as accessible as possible. The Department will also facilitate the dissemination of successful innovative charter school programs through a variety of strategies, such as continuing to give Charter Schools Program money to dissemination projects that support partnerships between charter and traditional district schools. New charters and expansions of existing charters are granted by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Charter schools are public and open to all Massachusetts students, with enrollment preference given to students in the district or region where the school is located. There are 78 operating charter schools in Massachusetts, and they collectively serve more than 40,000 students. For more information on charter schools, visit Massachusetts Charter Schools. ###



Last Updated: September 29, 2016



 
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