The Mind Trust Announces Charter School Incubator

The Mind Trust is launching their new Charter School Incubator, which, in its first year, will award three to five $1 million start-up grants to leadership teams to launch best-in-class charter school networks in Indianapolis.

Both established and new charter networks are invited to apply, says The Mind Trust.

The Mind Trust states that their mission is to dramatically improve public education for underserved children by empowering education entrepreneurs to develop or expand transformative education initiatives.

Teams from Indianapolis and across the country will compete for the $1 million awards.  The deadline for the first application round is February 17, 2012, and awards will be made by June of 2012.

“The Charter School Incubator will make Indianapolis one of the best cities in the nation to launch or expand top charter school networks, creating excellent new public school options for thousands of Indianapolis’ highest-need students.”

The Charter School Incubator will build on the success of The Mind Trust’s Education Entrepreneur Fellowship.

“Over 1,300 people from 48 states and 31 countries have applied to The Mind Trust’s Education Entrepreneur Fellowship.”

The Mind Trust has raised over $3.8 million to support its Charter Schools Incubator and wants to build on this so that it can continue to make additional $1 million awards and incubate more great public schools in Indianapolis.

Incumbent mayor Republican Greg Ballard is positive about the charter school movement — every point in Ballard’s five point education plan focuses on charter schools, writes Ben Skirvin at State Impact:

“We just gave the Mind Trust some money for these charter school incubators… Which I think is very important too, when trying to get five charter school organizations in here to create their own network of schools.”

Skirvin claims that Ballard’s opponent, Democrat Melina Kennedy, doesn’t have much to say about the city’s charter schools or charter schools in general, despite working for years as deputy mayor for Bart Peterson — one of the biggest early advocates of charter school expansion.

Skirvin also highlights the apparent confusion, where major national Democrats like Obama and Duncan are throwing their weight behind the charter school movement even though many of the schools and companies continue to have strong institutional ties to the Republican Party and Republican backed organizations.