PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven school districts committed to working with charter schools to improve student achievement will split about $25 million in grants from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, officials announced Wednesday.
The funding is designed to deepen the collaborations among educators in Philadelphia; Boston; Denver; New Orleans; New York; Hartford, Conn.; and Spring Branch, Texas.
“These cities are particularly committed to advancing college-ready strategies in both district and charter schools,” said Vicky Phillips, education director for the foundation’s College Ready program in the U.S. “What we’re most excited about is the common ground that’s getting established.”
Charter schools, which are publicly funded but operate independently of school districts, have been a lightning rod in the debate over education reform. Supporters say they provide innovative and sometimes safer alternatives to traditional neighborhood schools. Opponents contend they drain resources from school districts without providing a better education.
The seven grant recipients are among 16 communities that entered into compacts designed to reduce tension between districts and charters. By signing the agreements, which entail sharing resources and best practices, districts received $100,000 and qualified for further funding.
Over the next few years, Hartford will get nearly $5 million and Denver about $4 million. The other districts will receive between $2.2 million and $3.7 million each.
Funds will go toward projects including universal enrollment systems, leadership training for aspiring principals and joint professional development for charter and district teachers.
Chris Gibbons, the CEO of Strive Prep Charter Network in Denver, said the compacts are formal recognitions “that resources of the public sector are available to all students … (and that) the responsibility to educate all students well is the shared responsibility of an entire city.”
In Philadelphia, the compact includes collaboration with private and Catholic schools. Lori Shorr, the city’s chief education officer, said Philadelphia needs all types of high-achieving schools to reduce poverty, enhance public safety and attract economic development.
She also acknowledged that managing charter growth has been a contentious issue in the financially struggling district, where about 30 percent of the 207,000 students attend charters.
Shorr said some tension stems from “early animosities” about charters that have hardened and led to misunderstandings and misperceptions. The important thing, she said, is to “put adult foolishness aside” and focus on what’s best for students.
Spring Branch, a district that includes part of Houston and its suburbs, is slated to receive nearly $2.2 million. Superintendent Duncan Klussmann said a new partnership with two charter school operators is designed to spur innovation and a cultural change in the district, which is striving to double the number of students who obtain a degree or certificate in higher education.
“To do that, we have to have strong partnerships and collaboration,” Klussmann said.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25