Charter School Funding on the Rise Despite Slow Economy

The charter school movement is growing rapidly thanks to an increase in public and private funding.  This despite a struggling economy that has left many states with significant budget shortfalls. Research by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools counted 4,936 charter schools across the country. The number went up 6.7 last year and they expect a 7.5 percent increase for the current school year. As inner-city public schools struggle for funds, public charter schools are receiving millions of dollars in grants from organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation, according to Philanthropy News Foundation. The jury is still out on charter school success.  In Indianapolis, one of the lowest-performing school districts in the country, graduation rates were as low as 30 percent.  A strong push for charter schools has increased that rate to around 50 percent.

Early Warning System For Kids At Risk

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform is looking for six school districts nationwide to develop and test College Readiness Indicator Systems. The goal is to identify students in danger of dropping out of high school as early as the 9th grade. Researchers plan to create an early warning system using attendance patterns, grades, suspensions and other factors to predict which students are on track, and get help for students who are at risk of dropping out. The project is funded by a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Each school will also work with the John Gardner Center at Stanford University to focus on college and career readiness. Contact the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University:  401-863-7990