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STATEMENT: Allen Renews Call for Union Leader to Step Down

Statement from the Center for Education Reform: 

Randi Weingarten’s smug obstinacy in refusing to accept responsibility for her slur against reformers is disturbing. Clearly, she believes staying on message—no matter how insulting that message is to African-Americans and people of color throughout the nation—is more important than honesty, fairness, respect and simple decency.

“She knows that the modern-era education reform movement has its origins in efforts led by such amazing people as Fannie Lewis, an African-American Cleveland City Councilwoman and grandmother who fought for the Cleveland Scholarship Program enacted in 1995, and Wisconsin State Rep. Polly Williams  who, in 1990, did the same in Milwaukee. Neither had any connection whatsoever with segregationists from the past. Weingarten knows it, yet she refuses to amend her remarks, and continues to impugn the reputations and accomplishments of these women, and to discredit the hopes, dreams and work of school choice parents everywhere by insulting them and their motives.

“Weingarten may have been taken aback by the reaction her hate speech generated but even now, after it has been made abundantly clear that her words were offensive, she is not apologetic or even chastened. Her only reaction is to reiterate the ‘truth’ of her noxious statement, as she and her political advisors choose to carefully spin it, and to blame ideological enemies and shadowy conspirators for the criticism she’s receiving.

“It is also possible that she was not at all surprised by the reaction and that it was her intention to use race-baiting to blow-up the school choice discussion.

“Regardless of whether or not it was an act of insensitive ignorance, or ruthless political calculation, Weingarten should step down as head of the AFT.”

About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education

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Union leader’s attack on parents and others who support school choice is hateful and should not stand

STATEMENT BY JEANNE ALLEN, FOUNDER AND CEO

“AFT president Randi Weingarten’s characterization of education reform parents and advocates as racists akin to the southern segregationists of the past, is not just ill-advised hyperbole, it is a deeply offensive, highly inflammatory insult to all the parents and people – of all races, backgrounds, and regions – who have worked to bring options, opportunities, and reforms to an education system that has failed them for generations.

 “Weingarten’s allies should disavow these comments, and America’s teachers should look into their hearts, consider whether this is the type of language and leadership they want as being representative of their views and voice, and consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation.”

(as reported July 20, 2017 in USA Today)

About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims 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.

As a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to great opportunities for all children, students and families, The Center for Education Reform does not endorse candidates or take political positions, but will always recognize and applaud those who advance sound education policies.

Shining a bright light on flaws in Duke University study of N.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

(WASHINGTON, DC) – A white paper produced by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) “is not only a victory for scholarship programs but for honesty in research,” according to Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform.

The paper, developed by PEFNC’s Brian Jodice, catalogs an array of apples-to-oranges comparisons, selective use of test performance data and unfair, unjustified conclusions that are among the many flaws in a recent Duke University study critical of the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

“The data analysis strategy for the Duke report is poorly designed, using both different comparison groups and different tests,” Allen pointed out. Moreover, scholarship students who tend to be predominantly from lower-income families are matched against a national sampling of studnets who come from a cross-section of socio-economic backgrounds, creating an apples -to-oranges comparison,” she added.

“The Duke study completely ignores the good news from the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship and other school choice programs around the nation,” Allen noted. “More than half of the 740 private schools in North Carolina participate in the program and more than 90 percent of first-year enrollees opt to enroll their children for a second year – arguably, the most important statistic of all.”

Read Allen’s full statement. 

Further Analysis Reveals: A welcome rebuke of Duke University’s flawed research on North Carolina Opportunity Scholarships student performance

by Jeanne Allen, Founder and Chief Executive

The white paper “North Carolina Opportunity Scholarships: Countering a Flawed Duke Report,” developed by Brian Jodice of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), is not only a victory for scholarship programs but for honesty in research which, when it comes to school choice issues, is often negatively skewed in both its construction and execution.

Jodice’s paper delineates the fundamental problems with the Duke report and other studies evaluating school scholarship initiatives like the recently published negative assessment of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The Duke report and others like it are inherently flawed because they inaccurately depict students who participate in school choice programs as performing below expectations just because they have not skyrocketed to the top of the class during their first year in the program.

The new analysis sets the record straight on several fronts. First, the data analysis strategy for the Duke report is poorly designed using both different comparison groups and different tests. For example, scholarship students who tend to be predominantly from lower-income families are matched against a national sampling of students who come from a cross-section of socio-economic backgrounds, creating an apples-to-oranges comparison. The study also integrates metrics such as “national average” without an explanation as to how the term is defined or calculated.

Jodice also points out that Duke’s student test-performance data was only collected for one year which is hardly enough time to make an adequate assessment of the program’s results. Most studies show that it could take at least three years for aggregate test scores to show improvement. Furthermore, the report does not include a comparison of the students’ test scores before and after their enrollment in the scholarship program, making it impossible to know if a student performed better or worse than he

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New White Paper Counters Duke’s Flawed Analysis of NC Opportunity Scholarship Program

Press Release from Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina: 

Raleigh, NC (July 13, 2017) – Today Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) announced the release of a new white paper rebutting a flawed academic analysis of the Opportunity Scholarship Program from the Children’s Law Clinic at Duke Law School. PEFNC’s paper, North Carolina Opportunity Scholarships: Countering a Flawed Duke Report and Setting the Record Straight, disputes Duke researchers’ claim that the Program is unlikely to improve student outcomes and clarifies what data show about NC students’ performance. The paper also corrects misinformation about school choice research nationwide and provides a framework for an “apples-to-apples” comparison of state-sponsored scholarship students and public school students. Duke researchers claim such a comparison is not possible since Opportunity Scholarship students are not required to take state tests in North Carolina.

“Publicly-funded private school scholarships are the subject of scrutiny and debate in our state and nation right now, and understandably so. Unfortunately, the March report from the Duke Children’s Law Clinic interjected a flawed analysis of our state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program into the debate,” said PEFNC President Darrell Allison. “Therefore, we are releasing this paper now to set the record straight. Data to date offer no evidence that Opportunity Scholarships are unlikely to improve low-income students’ outcomes in North Carolina. Nationally, the balance of research shows that scholarships benefit students, especially those who remain in such programs. Though we support full accountability, we also want to ensure that Program analysis is done fairly and is driven by facts. Surely we owe that to our state’s citizen-taxpayers, and especially to the thousands of families statewide that depend on the Opportunity Scholarship Program,” said Allison.

According to PEFNC’s white paper, Duke researchers’ initial analysis, which was reported on by the media, featured an inequitable comparison between private

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Personalized Learning Gains a Big Endorsement

PERSONALIZED LEARNING GAINS…  a big endorsement from a newly released RAND report which finds that students who engage in PL do better in math than their peers and gives an added boost to kids who are behind their classmates and trying to catch up.  The report also found that schools in the study “were pursuing a wide variety of practices to focus on the learning needs of each individual student in a supportive and flexible way;” and that “students experienced positive achievement effects and closed gaps relative to national norms.”  Oh, and it also found that the “implementation and effects both seemed stronger in the charter schools than in the district schools.” Want to learn more about PL?  Start here.

Nevada’s AB49 a Giant Step Backward For Charters

June 2, 2016

CONTACT: Leonora Cravotta, Director Communications | (202) 750-0016 |leonora@edreform.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The leaders of The Charter School Roundtable have cautioned Nevada’s policymakers against enacting Assembly Bill No. 49, a bill creating “an overly bureaucratic and non-charter friendly environment for Nevada and will have the effect of limiting all growth and development other than schools that operate in similar ways to traditional public schools.”

In the letter, the Roundtable, a national leadership group dedicated to sound charter school policy and representing hundreds of thousands of students, cautioned the lawmakers that this bill would put charter schools in the same regulatory path that traditional public school educators have been fighting for years.

“You were probably told that this bill would ensure increased accountability for public charter schools in Nevada. If the traditional public schools like those in Clark County are your model of accountability, this is your bill.”

AB49 was proposed by the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) to strengthen its hand in making decisions about charter schools. Instead, it creates a punitive, input-driven, and flawed policies that put traditional public school districts on a path to failure.  While requiring more regulatory paperwork and innovation-averse behaviors of charters, the Charter Authority itself would be exempt from the Administrative Procedures Act and therefore permitted to operate outside of all other public agency requirements, including transparency.

The leaders cautioned the Senators: “Please do not support AB49. It is not amendable as constructed and all students deserve better than this.”

Among the signers were schools belonging

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Statement by Jeanne Allen, Founder & CEO, On the official release of the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for the US Department of Education

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Contact: Leonora Cravotta, Director of Communications, (202) 750-0016, leonora@edreform.com

Much more can and will be said about the Administration’s proposed budget. For now, we should use it to open a national dialogue about how we educate, not how much we spend.

The president’s budget is neither offensive nor unfair. It contains some recognition that the federal government’s efforts should follow state and local efforts and not further federal programs that fail to advance or transform learning.

The real question today, and always, should be: ‘How does federal spending better enable and advance critical educational opportunities for students?’

Do programs support the many state and local approaches to fueling improved teaching and learning, or do they exist merely for their own sake, independent of state action, born of, and protected by, interest groups?

Throughout the nation, at all levels, policymakers, parents, teachers and innovators are leading critical new endeavors to focus on student achievement, some by using new technologies in the classroom, some by implementing new schools of choice, some through boosting the traditional activities of districts.

Federal funding should support these efforts, not sustain or increase previously sanctioned programs that do not follow the needs of communities.

Federal education programs for primary and secondary grades represent only a fraction of total K-12 and supplemental spending – funding programs that, over time, have had mixed reviews. Those who gain from those programs always argue that the funds are “necessary” regardless of their effectiveness.

Despite nearly forty years of effort by the US Department of Education, we remain A Nation at Risk. Our students are woefully unprepared for modern day challenges locally and globally, in large measure because we persist in funding programs and not students and where and how they learn best.

Instead of focusing on budgetary line

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Florida Legislature Passes Charter School Expansion Bill, Awaits Signature from Governor

May 17th, 2017

Contact: Leonora Cravotta, Director of Communications, (202) 750-0016, leonora@edreform.com

(Washington DC.) The Florida Legislature passed HB7069 earlier this month. The Best and Brightest Teachers bill would allow for more opportunities to serve students most in need of great education. The bill is currently waiting on the signature of Governor Rick Scott.

Jon Hage, the CEO of Charter Schools USA and Center for Education Reform board member, said, “I am hopeful Governor Scott will continue to demonstrate his ability to rise above politics and support the very priorities upon which his legacy will be built: support for educational choice for families, dedication to students with special needs, and rewards for highly effective educators.”

The bill helps successful charter schools to grow and to serve more low-income students. The funds that are allocated for their education would follow them to the school that serves them, and ensure equitable distribution of Title 1 funds. It rewards highly effective teachers and principals with additional compensation.

While hopeful that Governor Rick Scott will sign the legislation, advocates are nevertheless pressing him to do so.

“We share the enthusiasm of leaders throughout Florida that this legislation addresses critical deficiencies in the charter school landscape in FL and is a benefit for its kids,” said Center for Education Reform CEO Jeanne Allen.

Data for School Choice

 

Collection of data on school choice and breakdown by race, from Greg Forster:

Here’s my recent review of the literature. And here’s a deep dive on methodology. And here’s data on how private schools and their populations have changed in places with school choice (including huge increase in minority private school enrollment in Milwaukee).

Info on school choice among lawmakers, from Lindsey Burke:

How members of Congress practice private school choice.

Info on school choice among lawmakers and links to NCES data, from Joe McTighe:

Here’s an article on where HELP Committee Dems send their kids to school. And here are links to the NCES survey I mentioned:

64% of private schools in 2011-12 had at least one IEP student.

7% of K-12 private school students in 2011-12 had an IEP.

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