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MA Receives $12.5 Million from Feds to Expand Charters– Before Public Votes on the Issue

September 30, 2016

On November 08, 2016, voters in Massachusetts will decide whether or not to lift the state’s charter cap. To date, almost $20 million has been spent on this ballot item, called Question 2, with most of the money being in support of lifting the cap– and coming from out of state individuals and organizations.

Arkansas billionaire siblings Alice and Jim Walton have put almost $2 million into promoting MA’s Question 2, and New York-based Families for Excellent Schools has spent almost $7 million.

We can add to that the influence of the US Department of Education (USDOE), which announced on September 28, 2016, that it will be sending $12.5 million to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA-DESE) for the purpose of allowing Massachusetts “to run its own grant competition for charter school operators to support… new and expanded public charter schools.”

Presumably, MA-DESE applied to USDOE for this charter creation and expansion money, and it did so in FY 2016, likely in anticipation that Massachusetts voters would indeed vote in November to lift the charter cap.

However, despite the out-of-state millions rolling into MA to raise that cap, there is no fantastic, notable grass roots indication that Massachusetts voters are on their way to being bought off by that out-of-state charter expansion push. So, MA-DESE might well find itself in the position of having $12.5 million that it cannot spend because its own state laws will not allow it.

Moreover, the USDOE advertisement of awarding MA charter expansion money prior to the vote on Question 2 could well backfire in the estimation of MA voters, as it adds one more layer to the reality that charter school expansion in MA is being promoted by those outside of MA– and in this case, the federal government, no less.

money in safe


Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

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  1. Lee Meyer permalink

    In addition to Massachusetts the states and charter schools listed in this U.S. Department of Education report are also receiving grants.

    U.S. Department of Education Awards $245 Million to Support High-Quality Public Charter Schools
    SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
    Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576,
    The U.S. Department of Education announced today new grants totaling approximately $245 million under its Charter Schools Program (CSP), which funds the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation. Today’s grants are being awarded to state educational agencies and charter management organizations.

    The CSP supports the creation of high-quality public charter schools by providing start-up funds for new charter schools, strengthening accountability for charter school performance, sharing leading practices that enable school success, and ultimately, improving educational outcomes for students from high-need communities. The CSP has invested over $3 billion since the program’s inception in 1995 to states and charter school developers. In the past decade, CSP investments have enabled the launch of over 2,500 charter schools, serving approximately one million students. Through the CSP, the Department is committed to supporting the continued growth of excellent public charter schools that are closing equity gaps and improving student outcomes, and these schools’ community engagement and public accountability.

    “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.”

    This year’s state grant program awarded approximately $177 million in new grants to eight states. The investments will enable each state to run its own grant competition for charter school operators to support approximately 490 new and expanded public charter schools.

    This year’s CSP replication and expansion program awarded approximately $68 million in new grants to 15 high-quality, non-profit charter management organizations that serve students from low-income families. Today’s grantees have demonstrated success in serving students with significant educational needs and today’s grant awards will enable these organizations to open and expand approximately 180 new schools. Some of these charter management organizations are new CSP grantees, such as The Friends of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, whose Bronx Charter School for Excellence was selected in 2012 as a National Blue Ribbon School. Today’s investments will enable their expansion from two schools to nine schools, ultimately serving approximately 3,000 students in New York and Connecticut. Today’s grantees also include IDEA Public Schools—a two-time prior grantee under this program, a 2015 Bright Spot in Hispanic Education, and the recipient of the 2016 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. IDEA will use today’s award to support the creation of 18 schools in Texas and Louisiana serving over 14,000 students. In addition, this funding will enable IDEA to evaluate its growth and expansion strategies, including its impact on student outcomes, college readiness and teacher and student retention.

    Please see below for the list of grantees, first year grant amounts, and total recommended funding (contingent on future Congressional appropriations).

    State Educational Agency Grantees:

    Grantee Name
    FY 2016 Funding

    Total Recommended Funding

    California Department of Education



    Florida Department of Education



    Georgia Department of Education



    Louisiana Department of Education*



    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education



    Tennessee Department of Education



    Texas Education Agency*



    Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction






    *Note: Grantees are deferred FY 2015 applicants.

    Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools Grantees:

    Grantee Name

    FY 2016 Funding

    Total Recommended Funding

    AmethodCharter Schools




    Carmen High School of Science and Technology, Inc.




    Collegiate Academies




    Democracy Prep Public Schools




    Denver School of Science and Technology




    Equitas Academy Charter School, Inc.




    IDEA Public Schools




    InspireNOLA Charter Schools




    KIPP Foundation in Consortium with KIPP Regions




    NACA Inspired Schools Network




    National Center for Hebrew Language Charter School Excellence




    Propel Schools Foundation




    The Friends of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, Inc.




    Tindley Network Schools*




    Uncommon Schools, Inc.







    *Note: Grantee is a deferred FY 2014 applicant.
    **State reflects where the organization is based; school expansion sites funded under this grant may differ.

  2. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Wow. That is disgusting!!!

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