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Morning Shots

The End of the Beginning

“I can’t believe it went by so fast.” Isn’t that what every college student says when they wrap up a new experience like a semester-long internship? In my last few days living in Washington, DC I actually feel that I am living and breathing these words. As I sit down to write this post I am just thinking of all the places I should have made the time to visit and the restaurants I should have made time to dine at. In a matter of days I will be on a plane heading home to the other Washington that is 2,786 miles away from where I sit now, and yes, I mapped the distance.

The end of this trip to DC also marks the end of what was part one to my two part senior year of undergraduate studies at Arizona State University. Reality will soon set in as I return to the Grand Canyon State to finish up my final months as a Sun Devil. In continuing with this “coming to an end” theme I’ve started, I realize that I will soon have to decide what it is that I want to do after graduation in May. Even though I don’t know exactly what that is just yet, I have had gained much experience and insight during my three and a half months at Center for Education Reform that has helped me reaffirm that I do in fact want to work in the vast world of education and I can continue to guide myself in that direction.

Being at CER has helped me fumble around with a few career paths that I would most definitely see myself in. Attending debates on the Common Core curriculum and discussions on teacher quality helps me think about being on the legislative side of

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Postcards from the Past – No. 4

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In 1999, a coalition of anti-reformers, including teacher unions, was temporarily successful in obtaining an injunction against Cleveland, Ohio’s opportunity scholarship program. At the time, the injunction unnecessarily caused uncertainty for approximately 3,800 low-income students and their families slated to benefit from having choices.

But they failed in the end, and Cleveland along with the rest of Ohio, now have wide ranging choice programs, making the Buckeye State one of the most versatile states in enacting parent empowering policies.

Today, over 31,000 students are attending a school of their choosing according to the Ohio Department of Public Education.

But as reformers know, the BLOB always creeps back, and this time it’s in North Carolina where the state teacher association has filed suit against the opportunity scholarship program that is so new, families have not yet even had the opportunity to apply. Scholarship applications are slated to be available starting February 1, 2014.

This latest attempt to curtail the availability of options is, “a vile attempt to breach the civil rights of low-income parents and students most in need of educational options,” according to CER president Kara Kerwin.

Let’s hope North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship program withstands this challenge, as other opportunity scholarship programs throughout the nation have, so that students most in need of educational options have a better chance at success.

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Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School – A Name To Live Up To

By: Allysa Turner

Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School in DC opened its doors for the first time in August to 107 kids in grades PreK3-K. Out of all of the charter school visits I’ve done while being with CER, this one stood out to me in a way that the others did not. I have seen the inside of a single-sex school, a bilingual school and even a school that focuses on sustainability but Ingenuity Prep was the first school that I’ve seen to incorporate a classroom model that has three to four teachers at one time.

My first concern was that students at this age cannot possibly thrive without the familiarity of one, or maybe two, instructors and that three or four would be too hectic for their young minds in terms of transitioning from one teacher to another throughout the day and keeping focused. I was lucky enough to have my tour guided by co-founder and principal of the school, Aaron Cuny, and learn just why they prefer this model to another student-teacher ratio model. The classroom structure put in place at Ingenuity Prep has multiple lessons going on at one time with instructors that specialize in each lesson whether it’s math, reading comprehension or civic leadership. This model gives teachers less students at one time to provide more individualized attention to while at one time it provides the students with an instructor that excels in that particular lesson.

Besides providing their students with content-specialized teachers in the classroom, Ingenuity Prep promotes extended school days, which in turn makes for extended years. Over the course of a school year, Ingenuity Prep students benefit from thirty-three percent more learning time than students as neighboring District schools. I am personally all for extended school days because they give students a leg up

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