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Washington Yu Ying Charter School Recognized For Excellence By Michelle Obama

This weekend, First Lady Michelle Obama, Madame Peng, wife of President Xi of China, and students from the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, attended the naming ceremony of the new baby panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. (his name is Bei Bei!) At this ceremony, the Yu Ying School was recognized by Michelle Obama for being part of the steps forward toward reaching the goal that President Obama and President Xi established: an initiative to teach one million students in the U.S. to speak Mandarin Chinese by the year 2020, the One Million Strong initiative.

Yu YingModeled after a girls’ school founded in 1911 in Beijing, China, the Yu Ying Charter School provides Chinese language immersion with the structured inquiry approach of the International Baccalaureate. The school provides children in grades PreK-5 with the opportunity to a quality public education and Chinese language and culture immersion.

Michelle Obama recognized that students at the Yu Ying School are among the first to be in an immersive school that promotes the idea of global citizenship, and the ability to connect with people around the world due to their early exposure to a different language and culture. She emphasized that this generation does not need to leave the country to be exposed to the rest of the world. That all is attainable with Internet access, and that Yu Ying students have the ability to extend their community across the world as they have the skills to do so. The First Lady encourages students worldwide to follow the Yu Ying students in their journey to expand their communities past language and cultural barriers.

Karina Lichtman, CER Intern


Ten Years After Katrina

After attending the event Ten Years After Katrina: Education Reform in New Orleans at the American Enterprise Institute, I am left with many thoughts. A bit of confusion of course, since I am still learning when it comes to education reform and all of the technicalities that come with it, but I was also very unsettled and surprised. I had no idea until I started interning at The Center for Education Reform (CER) of all of the organizations, people, and work put into reforming education. I also would never have guessed that there were conferences held in Washington D.C. that focus on New Orleans’ successes and struggles (specifically regarding education) still 10 years after the hurricane hit.

The speakers began from a general viewpoint, talking about education, and focusing on areas such as Memphis, Tennessee and Boston, Massachusetts. I really liked the fact that people and organizations care and are passionate about school systems in other cities. The panelists were so knowledgeable about these cities; they were shooting out statistics left and right, as well as answering in-depth questions. I applaud their knowledge and passion of education.

Although I was so impressed by the knowledge of the speakers, in my mind I still always ask one question: How much do conferences, policies, and formal business meetings really help? The real world is so much different than a formal business conference – there is such a big gap between what is happening in New Orleans (and all over the country) and what the speakers are saying. So many people from the audience ask “so HOW do we do this?” and sometimes the panelists would say, “The only question is HOW do we keep this policy in place and functioning?” There are so many “how” factors that it is quite overwhelming.

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FROM THE DESK OF… Jeanne Allen, Senior Fellow: Recommendations on the GOP Presidential Debate

In the hands of some very seasoned campaign advisors, most presidential candidates take a safe approach to debates. With a relatively short time to get your talking points out, numerous issues to cover and lots of competitors working hard to hog the stage, they are advised to stay focused. But the measure of a candidate is what they do – and say – when programming is impossible. Who these people are and how they’d do as our president is best measured by dealing with issues that every one of us can relate to, the most communal of issues. That’s why I’m hoping that the candidates find opportunities across every issue to demonstrate their understanding that education is the great equalizer, and its connection to the economy and our international competitiveness, our peace, our safety at home and abroad is all connected to how well we educate our youth and our adults. Education is a big field, of course, so I’ll be looking for the guy or gal who is able to talk about education in the context of the most important current events we face today in improving and revolutionizing our schools. In my book, the candidate who touches well on the following three most important themes will win my vote.

Number One: Celebrate charter schools

Charter schools provide choice and diversity to parents and teachers, and challenge the status quo to do better. They are held accountable by performance contracts and in states where charters are largely independent from state and local bureaucracies they thrive. Charter schools are the reason we talk about standards today, have performance pay and teacher quality on the table and have closed some achievement gaps. Charters have helped breathe new life into cities like Washington, D.C. and New Orleans (just two out of

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