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Response to Valerie Strauss

Responding to Valerie Strauss (‘Answer Sheet’)
Jeanne Allen

All you have to know about Valerie Strauss’ attempts at journalism, and those she quotes or offers as “proof” that public education is under attack by dark forces who want to “privatize” schools (which of course is a misnomer since public strings are intricately linked to any ed reform measure) is that she holds up bad education results as a defacto result of poverty, rather than a result of bad educational programming, union contracts that neuter any hope for innovation, bureaucracy and poorly spent funds.

Why the Washington Post continues to host her is anyone’s guess. But know that when someone throws Strauss’ propaganda at you – or that of Ravitch or anyone from Save our Schools, Red for Ed or any number of union funded front groups – that they are not speaking from experience, fact, or concern for the 60% of students (80% among at risk children) whose futures are destined to be among the 80 million adults we have today without a postsecondary credential of any kind (certificate, degree etc.).

Those of us who actually do engage daily in educational change at the home, school, community, local, state or national level are reminded daily that without life-saving educational opportunities through personalized learning, scholarships, charter schools, teacher pay reforms, created over the past 25 years we would be the third world that Nation at Risk warned we’d become if we did not turn the U.S. Education Ship around. It’s a big ship, and a slow turn, but millions of lives are better because of the people and programs Strauss and her mal-intentioned colleagues malign.

Jeanne Allen is Founder & CEO of the Center for Education Reform.

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NBC News offers up a great article on K12 Virtual School in Indiana

Modoc, Indiana, a rural community in Union Township, once threatened with closure because of its small size – has partnered with K12 Inc. to open a public virtual school, Indiana Digital Learning School (INDLS), which has been the savior of the struggling district.

According to NBC News which covered this hopeful story, the school not only brought people back to the community but enrollment in this novel school actually surpasses demand.

“When you eliminate the school, we’ve seen what happens to these small towns,” said school board Vice President Christa Ellis. “Those towns have died over the years. We didn’t want…our community to die.”

It hasn’t, and it won’t. Thanks to the partnership with K12, Union’s enrollment has grown from 256 students in 2016-17 to 937 students in 2017-18 and is projected to top 1,000 next year.  And, with hundreds of Indiana kids on a waiting list for enrollment in INDLS (and many families attending the numerous “EnRolling Skate Events” K12 held throughout the state in May) the future of Modoc, and the kids receiving an innovative opportunity for learning, looks bright.

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CER Had a Very Busy Summer – and It’s Not Over Yet

Here in Washington, DC, most summers are pretty quiet. Not for the Center for Education Reform.

In May, our CEO Jeanne Allen interviewed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the ASU + GSV Summit. The event took place in Salt Lake City, where hundreds of professionals in the ed-tech community were gathered, and was covered by the Associated Press and many other outlets across the country. Then, to cap things off, our board member Michael Moe, the founder and host of the summit, delivered the summit’s keynote address.

But if you know CER, you know that was just the beginning. When the Supreme Court handed down its verdict in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, we again were all over the media. Jeanne also penned an op-ed about the case for the Orange County Register.

In the meantime, CER made news about educational opportunity in Illinois (check out our op-ed in National Review), and we turned an invitation to appear on Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly into a speaking slot for our board member David Hardy. (David recently retired as president of the Boys’ Latin Charter in Philadelphia.)

Finally, no recap would be complete without mentioning Randi Weingarten. In July, the longtime boss of the American Federation of Teachers ignited a firestorm by likening advocates of school choice to — wait for it — segregationists. CER wasted no time fighting back: we issued statements, we wrote op-eds, we secured op-eds from concerned parents, we started a hash tag, and we created a webpage that features a variety of voices testifying to the outrageousness and dishonesty of Weingarten’s comments.

Of course, it’s only August, so there’s plenty more summer left. Stay tuned for more. (Hint: it involves the NAACP.)

Update 8-24: 

And as

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