Saturday, April 04, 2009

Exciting News from the Department of Education

Yesterday I also met Scott Pearson, the Chairman of Leadership Public Schools (, which runs four charter high schools in the Bay Area.  Here's an email he sent to his board members with some great news:
Subject: Exciting News from the Department of Education

Dear Fellow LPS Board Members,

The Dept. of Education today took an important step today toward increasing pressure on states to permit more charter schools.

In the criteria released for the distribution of over $60 billion in stimulus funds to state education departments (intended to restore state and local funding cuts made due to the recession) the department specifically is asking states to report on their progress in lifting caps on the number of charter schools.  To get the first 2/3 of the money states just have to report on the current status of charter school caps, along with lots of other data around state standards, teacher quality, better assessments etc..  But the department is conditioning the last 1/3 of the money (in September), along with a further $5bb in competitive "Race to the Top" grants, on progress in these areas.

California currently has a very high cap that does not constrain the growth of charter schools, but legislation is frequently introduced to do so.  10 states (including Washington State - home of the Gates Foundation) do not permit charter schools.   Others, like Illinois (Arne Duncan's home), have halted new charters with numerical caps.

President Obama's first school visit as President was to a charter school.  He mentioned charters in his address to Congress.  And now we are seeing tangible steps by the Federal Government to incent states to permit more charter schools.  This is all very good news for the movement.

Once the state calculations are complete, Louise will report to us all the degree to which this stimulus money ameliorates the funding cuts we've been dealing with all year.

All the best,


 Subscribe in a reader