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A Call to Action for Renewed Focus on REAL Education Reform

by Steven Guttentag, President of Connections Education

On Wednesday June 15th, I attended a lunch at the National Press Club at the invitation of Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform, and a long-time, tireless and effective supporter of choice and charters. At this event, Jeanne unveiled The New Opportunity Agenda, a manifesto for renewed energy, strategy and action around education innovation and opportunity.

In a nutshell, Jeanne and the panel argued that the progress made over the last 25 years around creating educational choices for all parents (not just the privileged few who can afford private schools) and the development of new educational models, practices and pedagogy, is starting to wane. In some cases, it seems to be even going backwards. She provided a wake- up call to education reformers and asked all of us, across the ideological spectrum, to find common ground around the “twin values of opportunity and upward mobility.”

As someone who has been on the front lines of education reform my entire career, first as a teacher in the District of Columbia Public Schools, then as an administrator in the School District of Philadelphia and now as a co-founder and president of Connections Education, a company supporting K-12 online and blended learning in schools and school systems across the country for 15 years, this was a message for which I had been waiting. Attempting to innovate within our public education system is a constant battle to fit a square peg into a round hole—to justify, to explain, to try to comply with antiquated rules and regulations.

Joining Jeanne at the front of the room in support of this change agenda was John Engler, Former Governor of Michigan, David Levin, President and CEO of McGraw-Hill Education, and Donald Hense, Chair and

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DCOSP Parents to Capitol Hill: “Please don’t let this program go away”

Since 2004, 6,385 low-income students have attended private schools through the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), with 90% graduating from high school and 88% continuing their education at a two-year or four-year college. However, DCOSP is authorized through the end of FY2016.

On Tuesday, June 12, The Parent Network for Better Education held a seminar to educate Capitol Hill staff on the importance of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Parents shared how their children’s experience in school evolved since the scholarship and discussed how critical the program is for many DC families.


Here are a just a few of the important parent highlights from the event:

Felix Adeliyi
Felix was ecstatic when his children were accepted for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Felix applied to the program to provide his children with the best possible educational opportunities available to them.


“My daughter would call the teacher at 11 o’clock at night when she would get stuck with her homework. I asked why are you calling that teacher, she is sleep. She said, ‘because that teacher is like a mother to me.’ I see her wanting to go to school everyday. She wakes me up wanting to go. It teaches her behavior that will lead her to grow.”





Francine Johnson
Johnson is a mother who lives in Ward 5 and her daughter attends Archbishop Carroll High School where she is currently in the 10th grade.

“My daughter is an DCOSP student and is much more confident. She is already talking about going to college and academically

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Eight Important Tweets on The Future of Adult Literacy

Thirty-six million Americans can’t read.

Low-literacy skills are directly linked to higher unemployment, less earned income and poor health. The result is a lack of social mobility and greater inequality for millions of families.

On June 8, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy convened entrepreneurs, investors, technology leaders, futurists, visionaries, policy makers, and NGO’s to envision transformational ideas for the next 25 years of literacy.

Here are eight important ideas captured under the event’s #AdultEdu hashtag about the bold ideas and innovative thinking that can help alleviate our nation’s literacy crisis:


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