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Glossary of Reforms

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Charter schools are independent, public schools that are free from most rules and regulations that hinder other schools, are open by choice and held accountable for results. They are required to abide by the same standards and assessments as other public schools but because of the freedom they receive in most state laws, they deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and the needs of the communities they serve. Today, more than 5,000 charter schools serve 1.5 million students in the United States.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Publicly-funded scholarships, often known as vouchers, provide parents with the opportunity to use a portion of the money allotted for their child’s education at a private school of their choosing. Tax-credits are another form of school choice, and help provide scholarships to students who qualify for certain programs. Programs in many states are focused on children in need, both educationally and financially.

PERFORMANCE PAY: Performance pay, or merit-based pay, rewards teachers based on their performance in the classroom and not just on seniority, which is currently the norm. True merit pay is not a system of bonuses, but rather a method of linking educators’ pay directly to student performance. These policies are designed to increase individual accountability by linking compensation and job security directly to operational and academic outcomes.


Does Education fifty or The Center for Education Reform endorse candidates for governor?

As a nonprofit organization, the Center for Education Reform does not endorse candidates or take a position on legislation. But we do advocate for issues, and for nearly 20 years have been the leading source of data and information for parents, policymakers and the media, driving the creation of laws that create better educational opportunities for all children. None of the information provided on this site should be construed as an endorsement of a specific candidate.

How was the information for this project collected?

The information for Education fifty is the result of years of data collection and analysis of public positions, words and actions among all the candidates. We used their legislative activities, their policy proposals, news articles and additional sources to gauge their positions. Every available method of research was used to develop a comprehensive snapshot of each candidate’s views. If you think we are wrong, we invite users or candidates to correct the record. Contact educationfifty@edreform.com.

Why are some candidates not measured on certain issues?

Not all candidates express views on the three big reform issues of the day, or have a record or activities that would allow us to gauge their position. We invite new information and as we receive verifiable data, the information will be updated.

How can I get involved in promoting education reform to candidates for governor in my state?

You should be prepared to call or write your candidates and share your views on the issues. You can also attend candidate forums, write letters to your newspaper and encourage members of the news media to press candidates to explain what they would do for education reform if they were elected. Some states have active groups that work to advance charter schools or school choice. Get involved with the Center for Education Reform and/or your local groups and play a role in advancing educational improvement. Full contact information for each is available.