Charter schools have been in existence for close to 25 years and have shown that all students can learn at high levels, even in urban areas where the challenges of schooling are intense. The charter sector has helped drive innovation in education and has been a pioneer in expanding learning time, using technology to personalize learning, involving parents and community members in school governance and providing wrap-around services to meet the needs of the whole child.
Despite this success, the charter sector faces future challenges: further improving student achievement; serving more students with disabilities, English language learners and other under-served populations; and building the capacity to serve the one million-plus students already on waiting lists and the millions more who deserve higher-quality education.
Charter schools will not meet these challenges by doing more of the same. Instead, the sector needs a new wave of innovation to capitalize on the enormous potential charter schools have to improve public education substantially for U.S. students.
Through the Design Challenge, The Mind Trust seeks to create the next wave of charter schools by identifying the nation’s most innovative social entrepreneurs and encouraging them to design transformational, new charter school models that have never before been tried. We are looking for revolutionary school models and leaders who can operate financially sustainable schools with less dependence on outside philanthropy.
The Mind Trust will award four $250,000 grants through the Charter School Design Challenge to launch innovative, “break the mold” charter schools in Indianapolis. Supports include visits to world class schools across the country; expert consulting on school design, school startups and management; and other consulting and research support.