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Morning Shots

When Parents Have A Choice, Kids Have A Chance

On Tuesday morning, PublicSchoolOptions.org held a rally outside of the U.S. Capitol to unite edreformers in an effort to celebrate school choice as well as push for more options for heightened parent power. The group of those who gathered at the rally was diverse to say the least. Coming from all over the country, students, teachers, education professionals, parents, and kids gathered in Upper Senate Park in support of giving parents the opportunity to make individual school choices for their children. Every parent wants what is best for their child, every mother and father wants to see their son or daughter succeed and live out their dreams. The importance of parent power is undeniable because more so than anyone else, parents have their child’s best interest in mind. All around me I saw impassioned people holding “I Trust Parents” signs and chanting those same words. The atmosphere was infectious and immediately, I was captivated.

To add to the excitement, we were joined by many notable guest speakers including Senator Tim Scott (SC), Congressman Luke Messer (IN), Kevin Chavous, CER board member and Executive Counsel at the American Federation for Children and CER’s very own Kara Kerwin. Each spoke with a sense of urgency for more school choice and each instilled in the crowd a feeling of purpose and pride in the cause. Although the four individuals come from diverse backgrounds and have different experiences, the four cannot deny the importance of choice in education.

One thing that really stuck out to me at the event and that I believe will follow me on my journey in the education reform movement is everyone at some point or another will be touched by school choice. There is an innate sense of universality in school choice and

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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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