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Morning Shots

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later

I can’t quite believe that my seven weeks interning at The Center for Education Reform (CER) are nearly over. It seems like yesterday was my first day.

During my time here, I have been exposed to the demands of nonprofit work, learned about the intricacies of educational policies and have had the opportunity to attend all types of events, from a panel discussion on Capitol Hill about special education to a survey briefing at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) featuring CER’s own president, Kara Kerwin. The other interns and I even had the chance to spearhead and coordinate our own event. It required countless hours of preparation and collaboration but was a rewarding experience that proved to be a huge success.

My two favorite events centered on socioeconomic status, academic attainment, and educational opportunity. As a sociology major, these topics greatly interest me. The first one was at the American Enterprise Institute and was a critique and discussion of Robert Putnam’s newest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. The other, a webinar presentation hosted by the American Institutes for Research, examined inequities within and across education systems and students’ ability to thrive academically despite socioeconomic setbacks.

These events resonated with me because they reminded me distinctly why I want to be a leader in education. I want to provide a voice for those who are usually voiceless. It is my moral imperative.

This internship has really made me question our country’s pedagogical approaches. If we want to reshape our education system, we can’t continue to pass policies enshrined in tradition. It is those kinds of methods that stifle creativity and innovation. Instead, we should concentrate on our changing world and how we can apply new measures to alter the current state of education.

Working at CER has reaffirmed

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All Good Things Must Come To An End, Right?

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was walking across the Syracuse University campus, checking my email and learning that I received a position as an intern for the summer here at The Center for Education Reform (CER). That was almost five months ago now. I look back at my time here at CER this summer and I almost don’t recognize the girl who thought a voucher was just something used at a retail store to get 50% off!

On my first day, I was told countless times that I would get as much from this internship as I put into it. What I wasn’t told was that I would learn more in these six weeks than in any college semester. Meeting real education reformers taught me that this work never ends but that there are real results. We (yes, I would say I’m a reformer now) are helping real live people who need a voice in those scary marble halls of the Capitol. It’s important to remember who we’re fighting for with all these policy briefings and panel discussions. The future of America is in our hands because we’re the ones fighting for those who can’t always fight for themselves.

My experiences here at CER have been vast. From spending afternoons in those scary marble hallways of the Capitol, to planning events, and listening to some truly inspirational panel discussions, this summer has taught me more than I ever expected. A personal favorite of mine was an entrepreneurship panel, titled “The State of Entrepreneurship in K-12 Education” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). This panel proved to me that education does not simply need to be a teacher in front of a classroom but in fact, it is an entire army of people working to

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EdReform: Past, Present and Future

We planned an event.

When we arrived in the CER office all we kept hearing about was the events we would plan. They would be events “for interns by interns” and we would plan them essentially on our own. It was a daunting task but we were up for the challenge and the result would be two success stories.

Yesterday’s event was a panel discussion titled “EdReform: Past, Present and Future.” Each intern was assigned a different role that involved completing a task prior to the event and a task on the actual day of the event. Planning this event required weekly intern meetings that helped to create the bond that has come to exist between this group of seven CER interns. We found our venue thanks to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute during the first week of July. Our speakers, Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Jill Turgeon, an educator and school board member in Loudoun County, Virginia, as well as John Bailey of Digital Learning Now were all people who we had encountered at other events throughout the summer and proved to be influential on us as interns. And finally, we purchased lunch for all attendees as a final ploy to get interns in the door.

The day finally arrived. Michael Petrilli, Jill Turgeon and John Bailey arrived at the conference space and our discussion was under way. Throughout the discussion there was a common theme around parent power and the need for parents to have the ability to choose the school that they think is best for their child. There also seemed to be a common belief among the panelists that technology can be used in the classroom but is only beneficial when it is a support and not simply an amplification of

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