A weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else — spiced with a dash of irreverence — from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.
CHARTERS GO TO WASHINGTON. Wouldn’t you know that on the day CER was taking a diverse bi-partisan group of charter leaders to meet with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a major snowstorm threatened the nation’s capital? It turned out to be more of a whimper than a roar. And most made it here, using trains, planes and automobiles from as far as California. They shared the challenges that all schools face with the imposition of more and more regulations, funding inequity and lack of air and ground cover. But no matter what the problems caused by friend and foe, these leaders are providing great opportunities for students and will not be deterred. This meeting is just the beginning.
Among those CER was proud to accompany on our trek through the snow (slush, actually) were: 7 Degrees of Change Foundation’s Paul Norcross (NC); Friendship Public Charter School’s Patricia Brantley (DC), State University of New York (SUNY) Charter Schools Institute’s Susie Miller Carello; Dawn Evenson and Amber Raskin, iLEAD Schools California; Charter Schools USA’sJonathan Hage;David Hardy,Boy’s Latin Charter School of Philadelphia; Rob Kremer, Connections Education; and K12’s Stuart Udell. Involved but unable to make it through the storm were GEO’s Kevin Teasley, Constellation Schools’ Rick Lukich (OH), Sabis Schools’ Jose Afonso and Indiana’s Tony Bennett.
TODAY: The Fight for Choice in Kentucky continues, and they are aided again by the experience of other states. From iLead Spring Meadows near Toledo, Ohio came LaTanya Wilson and her 5th grade son, Ellis, to tell their story about why this new school, opened only because of the presence of the state’s first university authorizer, has changed their lives. Governor Matt Bevin, who knows that without education opportunity there can be no economic opportunity, has been personally campaigning for a bill to open up the state for the first time to choices. CER has been fighting along side him, and against those who would prefer to maintain the tight grip of school districts on all education, despite their spotty success throughout the state and nation. As all of us know, that’s like giving the competition the keys to your safe.
We are proud to be fighting on the side of educational opportunity in the Bluegrass state. If you’re in Kentucky or know others who are, use this tool to tell the legislators that you want a charter school bill that promotes real opportunity please click here.
WOW? Little noted yesterday was something called the Presidential Executive Order on Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch, which includes this provision: “In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors: (i) whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the Federal Government or would be better left to State or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise.”
For us nonlawyers, what does this mean? It may mean, “Wow!” It may also mean that the Department of Education (and a lot of other federal departments and agencies) could look very different by the end of the year. More to come on this, too.
SOARING INTO EDUCATIONAL EQUITY. Last Friday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing about on the reauthorization of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act. SOAR, as it’s known, provides 1,100 poor students the opportunity to attend schools of their choice. You’d think that a successful program that grants opportunity to low- income kids and closes the achievement gap would be popular across party lines. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong; for opponents of choice and opportunity have done their best to stonewall SOAR. Fortunately, the bill passed the committee and now awaits a vote by the full House.
TWITTER. Every day, CER advocates for educational opportunity through the wonderful world of Twitter. As a testament to our success, we just passed 37,000 followers. Help us get to 40,000 by following us — then tell your friends.
And speaking of Twitter, an op-ed on this very subject by our CEO, Jeanne Allen, was tweeted this morning by none other than Kellyanne Conway.
The mission of the Center for Education Reform (CER) is to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans, particularly our youth, ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.