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National Lawmakers Championing Choice

Today, we celebrate national lawmakers like Rep. Luke Messer and Sen. Tim Scott who understand the importance of creating education opportunities for children, especially those who need it most.

They are champions of DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), which has proven powerful in improving education for low-income children in the nation’s capital for over a decade. The average annual income for families who receive opportunity scholarships is less than $22,000, and approximately 98 percent of DCOSP students live in zoned neighborhood schools designated as in need of improvement. More than 90 percent of DCOSP participants graduate from their schools of choice – a much higher rate than DC’s traditional public schools (by at least 30 percent!) – and 88 percent go on to enroll in two or four year higher education institutions.

DC opportunity scholarship Save opportunity

More than 16,000 families have applied to the program since its inception. Data reveals that parents are both highly satisfied with their school of choice as well as the progress their children are making.

However, despite efforts to reauthorize the program in October 2015, the DCOSP was left out of the FY 2016 Omnibus Bill, creating uncertainty for these students most in need of educational attainment and options.

Take action here to ask Congress to make sure the DCOSP continues to be a vital lifeline for students.

This is one of a series of posts highlighting numerous diverse opportunities from towns to nations for National School Choice Week 2016.


A School of Choice

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

This is the motto found on Columbus Preparatory Academy’s (CPA) website — a K-8 public charter school in Columbus, Ohio that’s not only earned a National Blue Ribbon distinction, but has also been recognized with an “Excellent with Distinction” award for four consecutive years.

Because public charter schools are free from traditional rules and regulations, while still being held accountable for results, CPA is able to help students succeed using an innovative curriculum and methodology called The Blitz©.

“The Blitz© is an exciting way to teach students to create, motivate, be a team player, and above all, be responsible for their own success in testing and academics. It is a year-long data tracking tool that customizes each individual student’s learning experience based on strengths and learning opportunities.”

CPA implemented The Blitz© in 2009 in part to respond to the challenges it was facing, such as inconsistent leadership, enrollment, teacher turnover, and parent involvement. During the school’s first few years, CPA was deemed a school in academic emergency by the Ohio Department of Education.

However after implementing The Blitz©, the school was able to achieve excellence, creating a culture that “embScreen Shot 2016-01-25 at 5.57.55 PModies a collaborative momentum toward closing the achievement gap… and a school-wide drive toward excellence, every student at CPA feels like a champion.”

Schools of choice like CPA are able to overcome challenges because they’re free from the traditional bureaucracy and red tape that can limit a school’s ability to innovate.

Today we celebrate schools of choice like CPA that are committed to doing whatever it takes to meet students’ needs and the policies that allow them the freedom and flexibility to do what

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A Leader’s Choice

“It’s not an experiment anymore. It’s not a demonstration. It’s not a what-if. After 20 years, we have overwhelming evidence . . . of kids, parents, families who have found what they were looking for in the charter school movement here in the Commonwealth of Mass.”

Those are words from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as he addressed the crowd of parents, educators and advocates at the State House last week as they prepared to press lawmakers to lift the cap on charter schools.

Since October 2015, the Governor has been pushing legislation that would allow 12 new or expanded charter schools statewide annually in low-performing districts.

While eliminating caps completely and allowing for independent authorizers could really help charter schools grow and thrive in the Bay State, the expansion would without a doubt be a positive step forward, as the state has nearly the s37000kidsMAchartersame number of children on charter school wait lists (about 37,000) as they do enrolled in public charter schools (approximately 40,000). Compared to traditional district schools, public charter school students in Massachusetts score proficient or advanced in all subject tests at every grade level. In fact, some of the state’s urban charter schools with populations that are mostly low-income and minority students are ranked among some of the best schools in the state.

“Governor Baker is putting a lot of political capital on the line for school choice for some of the poorest students in the state,” Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal notes. Despite the fact that charter schools have disrupted traditional public education in positive ways, there’s still reluctance and backlash to expand choices because of pushback from groups like the teacher’s union interested in maintaining the status quo.

From the

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