[RELEASE] New Grants for Public Charters Are Latest Milestone in Obama’s Ed Reform Legacy

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September 28, 2015


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New Grants for Public Charter Schools Are Latest Milestone in Obama’s Education Reform Legacy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) President Shavar Jeffries released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s public charter grant announcement:

“Today’s announcement of grants to states and non-profit organizations for public charter schools marks a new milestone in President Obama’s education reform legacy. What really distinguishes Obama from his predecessors, and what makes him a true champion of our nation’s schoolchildren, is his coupling of new investments in public school choice with a laser-like focus on high-performance, especially for poor and minority students.

“In his first year in office, Obama increased funding for the federal Charter Schools Program by almost 20%. This is a bigger increase than in any single year of his predecessor’s eight years in office. The cumulative result over Obama’s tenure thus far is hundreds of millions of dollars more for CSP than if Obama had followed the funding trend line under President George W. Bush.

“Where Obama really distinguishes himself, however, is ensuring new public charters offer not just more choices but higher-quality school choices for parents and families. This Administration has invested $116 million to date in the replication and expansion of charter school management organizations that have a proven track record of high performance – something no other President has done. Grantees to date have created more than 72,000 new seats, a number that will continue to climb as implementation continues, of which an overwhelming number have gone to poor and minority students. When it comes to creating opportunities for success for students of color and for those from low-income families, no federal education program has a larger return on investment.

“Expanding high-quality public charters is one of President Obama’s greatest achievements. It is important to reiterate what these charters are: high-quality and public. I’ll be the first to say that all charters aren’t created equal. As education reformers, Secretary Duncan and President Obama have said time and again that when it comes to any school – charter, traditional, or otherwise – quality matters. The power of the grants announced today is that they continue President Obama’s record of putting money where his mouth is – perform and you get financed. That’s a principle we all need to be sure the next President adheres to with the same resolve and political courage as this one.”