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Charter School Support Increasing

Last week, the United States Department of Education awarded $50,000,000 to the Charter School Grant Program, to “replicate and expand” high-achieving public charter schools.  According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, over the next five years the grants are expected to serve 76,000 students, in 127 new and 31 expanded charter schools.  In the past, grants of this nature were only given to start-up public charter schools—so public charter schools that were already set up and functioning were denied funding.

The support for public charter schools is indeed heartening—and not limited only to the federal level.  Several states are going out of their way to support public charter schools, including Massachusetts and New Jersey.  According to the Boston Globe [1], twenty-five public charter school proposals are currently being considered by the state, for what may become the “most aggressive expansion of these public schools in more than a decade.”  And while New Jersey public charter schools are still struggling for cash [2], Republican Governor Chris Christie has been outspoken in his praise for the schools, and has been looking for ways to further support public charter schools while complying with the state’s fiscal restraints.

It’s worth noting that in 2008-09, the public charter schools in the state of New Jersey spent approximately $13,200 per student—around $2000 less than the regular public schools spent per pupil.  Right now, one in ten students in Newark attends a public charter school.

The increased support for public charter schools is a step in the right direction: increasing student and parent choice in education can only be a good thing.

Allie Duzett is the Director of Strategic Operations for Accuracy in Media [3], Accuracy in Academia’s big sister group.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [4]