The KIPP Foundation’s Policy and Advocacy team has one mission – to develop and execute against an advocacy agenda that—in alignment with KIPP’s mission and vision—dismantles structural barriers and puts kids on the path to opportunity. In alignment with our mission, we lead the Charter Management Organization (CMO) coalition. The CMO Coalition is a national collaborative of high-quality public charter schools. Together with students and families, we strengthen political support for high-quality public charters schools and advocate for policies that center the needs and aspirations of our students, alumni, families, and communities.
For the first time since fall of 2019, we coordinated an in-person Hill Day in Washington, DC to do just that—advocate. On March 16th we hosted a full day of programming with nearly 30 invaluable partners where we aligned on long-term priorities for the coalition, decided how we want to work together moving forward, and prepared for meetings with members of Congress and their staff.
The next day, we navigated the halls of Congress to meet with legislative offices on both sides of the aisle. During our time on the Hill, we focused on the following priorities:
- Building support for a $500 million FY23 funding level for the Charter School Program (CSP)
- Asking offices to restore the USDA’s authority to issue school nutrition waivers
- Offering partnership in supporting bills addressing teacher and school leader retention
- Sharing stories around how our schools have addressed student mental health
We know from this experience that we are stronger together and that there is power in having a united vision for change. This is why we do our work in partnership with others and pursue bipartisan support for our policy priorities. For high-quality CMOs like ours, the Charter Schools Program, especially the Replication and Expansion grants are pivotal to providing a high-quality education for millions of Black and Latinx students from low-income communities. Our results demonstrate that the investments have paid off and we hope to continue to provide options to families, but we need Congress to increase appropriations for CSP. Moreover, as our schools focus on recovering and rebuilding from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, we know that school nutrition, student mental health, and recruiting and retaining highly effective teachers, and especially teachers who are reflective of the communities we serve, are all critical to our continued success.
List of attending regions and organizations for March CMO Coalition Hill Day:
- KIPP Baltimore
- KIPP New Orleans Schools
- KIPP NYC Public Schools
- KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools
- KIPP SoCal Public Schools
- KIPP Public Schools of Northern California
- Blackstone Valley Prep
- Rocky Mountain Prep (RMP)
- Idea Public Schools
- YES Prep Public Schools
- Success Academy Charter Schools
- Grow Public Schools
- DC Prep
- Uncommon Schools
- Green Dot Public Schools
- Rocketship Public Schools
- Education Reform Now
- National Charter Collaborative
- Noble Schools
- Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools
It was wonderful to build connections and strengthen relationships during our time together, and it is so exciting to know this is just the beginning of the impact we will have through our shared work.
Author: Adzua Agyapon, Director of Policy and Advocacy – KIPP Foundation