Education News

Texas-Based Charter School Network Wins National Prize

IDEA will receive $250,000 in prize money for scholarships, college visits and other efforts to prepare its students for higher education.

image of a smiling school-aged boy

For three years in a row, IDEA Public Schools reached the final round in the competition. The third time was the charm.

IDEA Public Schools won the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools Monday.

It enrolls 24,000 students at campuses in the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio and Austin. Almost 90 percent of its students are low-income and most are Hispanic.

Tom Torkelson, founder and CEO of IDEA, accepted the prize at a charter school conference in Nashville. He took the moment to advocate for IDEA students.

“We have tens of thousands of students at IDEA Public Schools who are undocumented. We have thousands of students who want nothing more than to be embraced by our leaders, our politicians and our policy makers,” he said.

 IDEA will receive $250,000 in prize money for scholarships, college visits and other efforts to prepare its students for higher education.

 Torkelson said that they will share that money with the other two finalists, including YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, to help more undocumented students.

 Since 2012, the award highlights nonprofit charter groups that are closing achievement gaps between low-income students of color and their high income peers.

It’s funded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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