ED Soliciting Comments on Grants to Charter Management Organizations

The U.S. Department of Education's Charter Schools Program (CSP) recently released a notice of proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for the CSP’s CMO Program. Officially, the CMO Program is called the Grants to Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) for the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools Program. The federal register notice regarding these proposed changes and the link to a form to submit comments are available here. The comment period for the proposed changes goes through August 27th, 2018.

The proposals address various details involved in administering the CMO Program. The proposed priorities include increased attention to the record of schools serving disadvantaged students, schools serving rural communities, and schools serving Indian students. It also includes priorities for schools helping to turn around low-performing schools and focuses attention on CMOs of various sizes.

This regulatory action has two main goals. First, to continue to use funds under this program to support high-quality applications from highly-qualified applicants. Second, to increase the likelihood that CMO grants support expanded high-quality educational opportunities for Educationally Disadvantaged Students. Educationally Disadvantaged Students include Individuals who are from Low-income Families, children with disabilities, English learners, and students who traditionally have been under-served by charter schools, such as Indians and students in rural communities.

This document includes proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria that would encourage applicants to describe, for example:

  • Past successes working with Academically Poor-performing Public Schools;
  • Experience operating or managing multiple charter schools;
  • Plans to expand their reach into new and diverse communities;
  • Logical connections between their proposed projects and intended outcomes for the students they propose to serve; and
  • Plans to evaluate the extent to which their proposed projects, if funded, yield intended outcomes.

This document also proposes priorities for applicants that would:

  • Replicate or expand high-quality charter schools with an intentional focus on recruiting students from racially and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds;
  • Maintain racially and socially diverse student bodies;
  • Demonstrate that a meaningful proportion of the students served by the applicant are Individuals from Low-income Families; and
  • Replicate or expand high-quality charter schools that serve high school students, students in Rural Communities, or students who are Indians.

This document also proposes requirements for CMO applicants to describe how the schools they intend to replicate or expand would recruit or enroll Educationally Disadvantaged Students and support such students in mastering State academic standards.

More information on the CMO Program is available here. For questions regarding this process, contact Allison Holte, U.S. Department of Education; 400 Maryland Avenue SW; Room 5W106; Washington, DC, 20202-5979. Telephone: (202) 205-7726. Email: charterschools@ed.gov.