U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the award of $89.8 million in Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) grants to 27 school districts in 12 states. The awards will help school districts increase public school choices for parents and help districts attract a diverse group of students from throughout their communities.
"Magnet schools help increase public school options for parents and students in communities across the country," Secretary Duncan said. "These grants will help students gain access to challenging curricula that will help prepare them for college and 21st century careers."
Magnet School Assistance Program grants, administered by the Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement, provide funding to districts for up to three years. The first-year grants range in size from $737,626 to $4 million. The awards will help school districts bring diverse groups of children together through the use of innovative educational programs and will create more school choices for parents.
The funds awarded through MSAP also help school districts establish new magnet schools or expand existing magnet programs that are part of a school district's voluntary or required desegregation plan.
The purpose of the program is to:
Eliminate, reduce, or prevent minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools with substantial proportions of minority students;
Develop and implement magnet school programs that will assist in achieving systemic reforms and provide all students the opportunity to meet challenging state academic content standards and student achievement standards;
Develop innovative educational methods and practices that promote diversity and increase choices in public elementary and secondary schools;
Promote courses of instruction within magnet schools that will substantially strengthen students' knowledge of academic subjects and attainment of tangible and marketable vocational, technological, and professional skills;
Improve the capacity of school districts to continue operating magnet schools after federal funding ends; and,
Ensure that all students in magnet schools programs have equitable access to high-quality education that enables them to succeed academically and continue with post-secondary education or productive employment.
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