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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 28, 1999
                TO SUPPORT PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS                            
                         August 28, 1999                            

In his weekly radio address, President Clinton announced that the U.S. Department of Education will distribute almost $100 million in grants to support public charter schools. The awards include $41 million in new grants and $54 million in continuation grants. Charter schools are public schools started by parents, teachers, and communities, open to all, and given more autonomy and flexibility than traditional public schools in staffing decisions, curricula design and other areas. In exchange, they are held to high levels of accountability for student achievement defined in a public performance contract or "charter."

INCREASING FEDERAL INVESTMENTS IN CHARTER SCHOOLS. The grants that the President released today will help new charter schools with costs associated with planning, opening or expanding a new school. The money may be used to purchase materials and supplies, hire staff, and provide high-quality professional development for teachers. Public charter schools also use federal funds to develop accountability systems for student achievement that are aligned with state standards. In addition, this year successful charter schools with at least three years of experience will be able to use funds to help disseminate best practices to other schools or to help individuals or groups starting new public charter schools learn from their experience.

President Clinton's ONGOING leadership in support of charter schools. When the President was first elected, there was only one public charter school operating in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 1700 public charter schools will be open this year. Federal leadership and assistance has played a key role in this rapid growth by supporting the development and growth of individual public charter schools and helping to disseminate effective practices and strategies among schools. 36 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia now have laws that allow the creation of charter schools.