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Morning Shots

CER Interns on Capitol Hill

On Tuesday July 29th, the CER Interns had a unique opportunity to meet with Katherine Haley, policy advisor to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House. As we walked through the marble halls of the United States Capitol building, the echoes of our group’s excitement bounced off the walls. We marveled at the architecture and muttered a continuous, “Wow this is so beautiful.” Our excitement only escalated as we were escorted into a conference room where we waited for Ms. Haley.

Ms. Haley has been working on Capitol Hill for 12 years, and has been working with Speaker Boehner for more than five of those years. Prior to her life on Capitol Hill, Ms. Haley spent her undergraduate years taking pre-med classes in anticipation of pursuing a degree in medicine. After graduation, she decided to spend her summer applying to medical school and interning on the hill in Washington, D.C. Ms. Haley said it was during this summer that she had her “ah-ha” moment, at which point she realized she wanted to begin her career in policy. Ms. Haley went on to describe what she has learned from working in Washington, D.C., such as how networking is a crucial aspect of being here and how it helped her move along from one job to the next.

We discussed the policy that Ms. Haley has seen go through her office regarding education, such as the No Child Left Behind Act, and the more recent Student Success Act. One of her focuses in this position has been changing policy to consolidate the current funding for elementary and secondary schools into fewer funding streams. She said that this may be a bold move, but it will allow schools to be dealt with on a more local level.

I found it particularly interesting when Ms. Haley

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The Last Day: A Summer At CER

I’m 336 hours into my summer internship with The Center for Education Reform, and today is my last day. When I first arrived at the office in Bethesda, I was unsure of what the summer had in store for me. I knew that I pursued this internship to learn more about education policy and reform, but I had a very abstract idea of why this really mattered to me. After these eight weeks, I now know how critically necessary reform is in the policy discussion. I am also just relieved to know that there are so many different voices involved in education policy, which I was uncertain of prior to my time here.

In my first blog post, I expressed interest in developing a comprehensive understanding of core education issues and proposed solutions. I am pleased to say that not only do I have a more in-depth grasp of the concepts, but I am now able to be more critical of arguments and ideas concerning reform. After being exposed to various voices in education policy and reform, I have seen and heard from different sides of the same issue. I am proud of how much I have learned in such a compressed amount of time.

The different research projects, events, and discussions that I have experienced during my time at CER have helped me to cultivate my own opinions on issues. I came in with a fuzzy conception of education reform, and a limited scope of possible solutions. I have had the opportunity to learn more about issues that I had not previously focused on. For instance, getting exposure to STEM education in action at the Goddard Space Flight Center really awakened me to the importance of STEM education outreach efforts. Researching all of the charter schools opening in fall has

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The Importance of School Choice

I am proud to say that my intern friends—Adiya Taylor, Mandy Leiter, Matt Beienburg, Tigran Avakyan—and I hosted a very successful event: “CER Interns Present: The Next Generation in Education Reform.” I would like to extend a thank-you to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute for letting us use their space as well as to the staff at CER for their encouragement and support throughout this entire process—which, I’m sad to say, is now over.

Our speakers were also instrumental in transforming our event from a small idea that started in a conference room to a reality that ended up in about 40 attendees, eagerly asking questions and inclined to network.

Kara Kerwin, Daniel Lautzenheiser, Jack McCarthy, Michael Musante, and Amber Northern are experts in their fields regarding education policy and certainly had a lot to bring to the table. Our moderator, Tigran Avakyan, engaged them in discussions regarding teacher tenure, technology use in the classroom, and the return on investment. Charter schools were also a prominent topic that came up.

I’ve been thinking a lot about charter schools, actually. I first heard the term “charter school” in a class at college, and I never thought about it later after that semester. I am close to completing my first internship here at CER and only now can I truly tell you what it means. Charter schools are innovative, public schools that are free from regulations set forth by the government. They serve some of the most disadvantaged students and are kept accountable for their results. New charter schools are always opening up as well. For instance, 11 charter schools are expected to open up in the DC area alone this coming fall. Many charter schools—new or having already existed for a while—may also face closure in the future due to a lack of

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