Last week the state announced that 18 Massachusetts schools would receive $28 million in federal funds through the Federal School Redesign Grant program. The state awarded two Boston grants “ one to the Jeremiah Burke for $1.725 million and one to UP Academy Charter School for $1.5 million. Both applications were initiated and forwarded by the Boston School Department.
That’s great news for these two schools, but there were more than a few heads shaking with this announcement. After all, the School Department chose to nominate UP Academy, even though there are many other deserving, traditional schools that are not getting the “jump start” that UP Academy Charter is getting.
UP Academy, which is trying to make a name for itself nationwide (it hopes to have 20 charter schools in place eventually), will be the recipient of much national attention from the moneyed pro-charter business interests. Why does UP Academy “ to the exclusion of other more needy schools “ deserve another $1.5 million? .
It appears to us that the following schools in Boston were similarly eligible for this $1.5 million: the Umana, Madison Park, the Irving, Brighton High School, Charleston High School, East Boston High School. Granted, choosing one of them may not have been a sexy choice, but to most school observers any of those schools would have been a better choice.
UP Academy Charter appears to be the only non-level 4 school chosen for the grant statewide. A natural question to ask is, why did the district focus on UP Academy? We anxiously await an explanation. But we think we know the answer. And we think you do too.