Governor Mark Dayton announced today that the State of Minnesota has won $28.2 million in new federal grant money to support high quality charter schools throughout the state. Minnesota was one of only three states to receive the Charter School Program Grant.
With the receipt of this grant, a total of nearly $119 million in federal grants has been awarded to Minnesota in just the past year, a direct recognition of the nation-leading reforms the administration has put in place. The Charter School Program grant will help to increase the number of high-performing charter schools in Minnesota.
Governor Dayton said, "I want to thank President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan for their tremendous support of our efforts to reform K-12 education in Minnesota. Our state is once again recognized nationwide as a leader in education innovation."
The grant will be used to design and implement new high quality charter schools and share best practices of the most successful charter schools. Additionally, funding will be used to establish an accountability framework for charter schools and help charter school authorizers better monitor schools.
The grant comes on the heels of recent education grant awards to Minnesota, including Race to the Top and i3/Investing in Innovation. Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius stated her belief that the U.S Department of Education is eager to support the state's efforts moving forward.
"This grant gives us the unique opportunity to learn and share best practices among all schools," said Commissioner Cassellius. "We'll be able to learn from the charters that are doing amazing things for students, and be better positioned to scale up the most promising ideas. Combined with the strategic reforms we've already begun, we're stepping ever closer to our goal of helping every child achieve his or her highest potential and graduate well-prepared for college and a successful career."
In addition to helping increase high quality charter options, the federal funding - allocated to the state over a five-year period -- will allow the Minnesota Department of Education to offer better strategic support, assistance and oversight to charter schools and authorizers. The grant, along with recent initiatives such as the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant, the No Child Left Behind waiver, and new laws to support teacher and principal effectiveness, signals Minnesota's reemergence as national leader in meaningful education reforms that promote effective learning for more Minnesota students.