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Morning Shots

Writing Coming Back Into The Equation

I like to refer to myself as a “professional reader” when I tell people that I am an English Major. What I commonly leave out of the equation is the amount of writing that accompanies, if not equals, the copious amount of reading that awaits me every semester. Writing, like many other skills, is perfected through practice. Writing is critical in the schooling of a student because it is a skill transferrable throughout the disciplines; a skill that is integral to success in several fields, it is not just limited to English.

The National Writing Project (NWP) works as an organization to enhance teacher quality and commitment regarding the reintegration of writing into the curriculum of low-income schools. Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, the executive director of NWP, recently discussed the unfortunate reality that when schools are dubbed as “failing” or “struggling” writing is quickly dismissed from the curriculum to make room for test prep to improve test scores. As made evident through personal experience, being able to answer multiple-choice questions doesn’t transfer directly to success in college and beyond. Eidman-Aadalh and the other panelists made the need to reintegrate writing into the curriculum of these schools imperative, as well as make teachers competent instructors in the field of writing.

Reintegrating writing into the curriculum is one thing, but without effective and quality teachers who can teach students to write well, success will not be obtained. This is where the NWP comes into play, as well as the several devoted individuals across the country who work in tandem with NWP to help teachers optimize their teaching skills and make low-income students gain success through effective writing. Hearing the panelists discuss nationwide initiatives that have helped teachers become more effective at teaching low-income students how to write well and therefore excel across the

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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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