Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TBFURMAN: Here We Go With The Charters

TBFURMAN: Here We Go With The Charters:

Here We Go With The Charters

Do you remember the $42m federal grant that Heather Steans, Ron Sandack, Bruce Rauner, and the charter people got from Arne Duncan?

(In the grant proposal, they used an IFT research piece as a support document, even though the IFT did not support--- or even know about-- the grant proposal and would have opposed it.)

The main thrust of the grant is to pay for new charter school proposals and to defray some of the initial costs of charter startups--- it's not an ongoing grant to pay for the longterm costs of charters, which are paid for via a reduction in services and choices available to students in democratically controlled public schools.

It's weird to me that even the very planning and design of charter schools--- which have a sort of free-market sales pitch to them--- are now leaning on federal funding. But there it is.

The RFP for the start up proposals is about to go out in January, according to Tony Smith.

In September 2015, the Illinois State Board of Education was awarded a federal Charter Schools Program Quality School Options Grant in the amount of $42 million for a five-year term. These funds are intended to provide financial assistance to new charter schools for allowable activities during the program design phase and start-up costs in the first two years of operation. This competitive grant will be awarded through multi-cohort competitions throughout the term of the grant. The second cohort Request for Proposal will be released in January 2017. High-quality applications may be awarded up to $950,000 for up to three years for the design and implementation of a new charter school. 

So, that will be interesting. Someone should keep an eye on it.

Obviously there was a first cohort, and I'm not 100% sure, but I think those were not the design/implementation grants. They were smaller grants for materials requested by existing charter schools.

I FOIA'd those grants, and I believe I have the material from the four or five charters that were awarded money. They're not very interesting, but if you want those, I have them. It's basically just requests for new programs and what have you. Online curricula, that sort of thing. If you read a lot of grants you start to see the same thing over and over again. The word "utilize" is in there a lot. There's nothing new under the sun.

It's this next round that will be interesting.TBFURMAN: Here We Go With The Charters:

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