Archive for August, 2010

The National Charter School Resource Center hosted a webinar on August 18 titled Linking High-Quality Charter Schools to Areas of Need. The webinar featured Jose Cerda III, vice president of public policy and communications at IFF, and Greg Richmond, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

Cerda presented a recent IFF analysis that used school performance data and local demographics to show the number of seats in performing schools in specific neighborhoods and the estimated number of students in the area who lack access to those seats. Although the current analysis provides only a snapshot, it is a view of what is happening “on the ground” and can help identify areas (geographically) of greatest need in a community.

Richmond contextualized the potential of such a tool and made connections to possible influence in areas such as the role geography plays in charter authorization, improving policy, and engaging communities. The issue still remains to ensure authorization of quality charter schools in areas identified by the IFF map or similar tools. In the webinar, this is described as a bottom-up method of school reform, identifying the area of greatest need. What are other considerations to ensure that students in your area have access to quality education?

The president has set the goal, “by 2020, the United States will once again lead the world in the proportion of citizens holding college degrees or other postsecondary credentials” (Federal Register, 2010). The secretary of education has set an education agenda to meet this goal that includes 13 priorities to guide discretionary grant competitions and Department of Education program participants. These priorities are organized into three subgroups: advancing key cradle-to-career education reforms, addressing needs of student subgroups, and building capacity for systemic continuous improvement. Part of the process of adopting new rules and regulations is the opportunity for the public to comment on proposed regulations. The Department of Education has made the Secretary’s Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs available for public comment through a notice in the Federal Register. Comments regarding the proposed priorities need to be submitted by September 7, 2010, through postal mail, commercial delivery, hand delivery, or online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

This is an important opportunity to comment on and inform priorities that will guide many aspects of the Department of Education’s programs and activities. The final priorities will inform the work of many programs funded by the Department of Education, including the comprehensive center network of which Great Lakes West is a part.


“Secretary’s Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs, Background,” 75 FR 47284 (5 August, 2010), pp. 47284–47291. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from