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Morning Shots

The Beginning: CER Intern Chronicles

I am a bit of a nomad. As a kid I moved across the country multiple times; Hawaii, California, South Dakota, Arizona, and South Carolina. Now I am living and working in Washington DC, but I always struggle when people ask me where I am from. It’s a serious identity crisis.

But when people ask me what I want to do when I graduate, or what I am passionate about, I respond with no hesitation or internal debate. “I love education policy.”

Since beginning a policy research project at my first Washington DC summer internship with the Council of State Government (CSG), and picking up my first policy report on school leadership, I knew that I was in love with education policy and research. I have always enjoyed my time spent in school, but I never expected that I would pursue a career in education. However, the more I have learned about the flaws plaguing the schools, especially those in our urban centers, the more I feel compelled to be a part of the solution.

I am not sure exactly where I will fit into the broader picture of improving urban education for the United States, but this semester I am spending the first part of my senior year at Wofford College studying and working in Washington DC. I am spending my mornings working in Senator Tim Scott’s office; I chose to work with him because of his commitment to school choice policies and position on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

And in the afternoons I am excited to be working with the Center for Education Reform. I believe that splitting my time between the US Senate and a nationally known education organization will give me a unique and diverse perspective on education policy, research, advocacy, and

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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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