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Morning Shots

Neither Snow, Nor Storm, Nor Dark of Night…

…Can Keep School Choice Week from Taking Flight!

At the heart of any successful education reform effort is freedom – the freedom for students, parents and educators to have new opportunities, and schools to pursue new innovations or ideas.

That’s why we’re thrilled to have a week to share how freedom works when it’s permitted in education. We salute all those engaged in thScreen Shot 2016-01-25 at 8.31.37 AMis, the 6th annual National School Choice Week, and join with the tens of thousands across the country – and globe – in celebrating the power and ever-growing potential of school choice. This year, there are more than 16,000 events planned in the U.S. and beyond, making this week the largest celebration of education choice in history.

Throughout the week, we will share numerous and diverse choice opportunities in education to help you follow the events of the week and share across the net to help raise public awareness for school choice.

And Don’t Forget!

1. Use #SCW to add your voice to the largest ever digital #SchoolChoice event!

2. Find an event near you! Use the school choice week map to locate and attend one of the more than16,000 events planned across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.!

3. Watch & share the official NSCW 2016 kickoff video!

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4.Get educated! Learn facts about school choice and share them with the click of a button.

And let us know if you have questions, suggestions or ideas to share and we will help you get them out there!

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A Call for Candidates – How We Expect Our Leaders to Speak

The other day we developed and distributed our wishlist for the State of The Union and what we hoped to hear the president discuss. While he touched on education more than in most previous speeches and amplified the importance of technology and preparing students for the future, we were looking for more about the most important quest this nation faces – the importance of ensuring opportunity for every child, and underserved and unsatisfied students.

So with another important national event happening tonight — the Republican Presidential debates — we offer the same, consistent vision for how we expect our leaders to speak. Once again, our recommendations reflect the philosophies of those who work on the ground daily to advance innovation, freedom, and flexibility in American education. To all you candidates, please consider and lend your voice to the following important guidelines by which all efforts should be driven:

Education is not about space, a place, or time. Education is not a brick and mortar building; it is not about one person, concentrated on one methodology, or about one option. Innovative education transcends such confines to ensure that our students are prepared to be the future of our country.

  • WE MUST DO BETTER. Despite national graduation rates touted at 82%, our students still lack proficiency in the basic necessities of life such as reading and mathematics; and do not possess the knowledge necessary to preserve our freedom and ensure America’s national and international success.
  • EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITY AGENDA. America needs educational opportunity for every child, regardless of zip code, time, and place. From Pre-K through post-secondary education, candidates could consider informing the American people that ‘one size fits all’ education is an archaic vision that negatively impacts our children, specifically those who lack opportunity. Students of all ages should have the opportunity to

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President Obama Should Seize Opportunity To Address Education Reform in Omaha

Today, President Obama will visit Omaha. This will be the President’s first visit to Nebraska since taking office in 2008. He should seize this opportunity to address an education system in Omaha that is failing too many children, and children of color in particular. The President also has an opportunity to address shocking and ongoing disparities in Omaha with regard to unemployment, violence, the juvenile justice system, and over the incarceration of black men. The President’s leadership has the potential to put Omaha on a better path.

Sixteen months before President Obama took office, the Omaha World Herald published an article called “Omaha in Black and White: Poverty Amid Prosperity.” The article addressed troubling disparities based on race. The worst black child poverty rate in the country, was but one example of such disparity. Omaha’s Mayor at the time pledged to address the academic achievement gap. The President of the Chamber of Commerce discussed a development plan for North Omaha, the heart of Omaha’s black community.

There was also reference in the 2007 Omaha World Herald article to new initiatives aimed at alleviating poverty and improving educational outcomes for black and Latino children. Within one year, many of Omaha’s most generous philanthropists launched the Building Bright Futures initiative and, shortly thereafter, the Avenue Scholars Foundation to do just that. A retired Omaha Superintendent served as CEO of both. Within six years, Building Bright Futures shuttered after spending $50 million and showing no significant progress.

During this same time, urban charter schools rapidly expanded around the nation. Children attending urban charter schools, on average, gain an additional 40 days of learning in math and 28 days of learning in reading each year. The benefits for

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