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Jeanne Allen: Remembering Education Equity at the March

The commemoration of the March on Washington (Aug 28,1963) this weekend is cause to remember that while struggles in economic and educational equity did and do exist, there were people who for years had been working to integrate schools, even before the Brown v Board of Education ruling in 1954.

One such person was DC Archbishop and later Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle who led the integration of Catholic schools here before any mandate caused him to do so. O’Boyle believed that “we are all God’s children regardless of race.” That principle today may live  in most hearts but is sadly not always put to practice. Despite the clear superiority of equality as a principle that should guide the manner in which we educate children, our governments’ leaders in all but a handful of communities and states still assign children unequally to schools based on their zip code. While many religious and spiritual leaders joined the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr in calling for equality and indeed were like Archbishop O’Boyle welcoming all races to school together, too many of our current civil rights leaders reject publicly supported school choice programs that involve the same religious entities that once freed children. Many work to change their hearts and minds. We must do that, and more. To that end I share excerpts from D C’s Archbishop O’Boyle’s opening prayer on August 28, 1963 at the historic March on Washington:

“Bless this nation and all its people. May the warmth of Your love replace the coldness that springs from prejudice and bitterness. Send in our midst the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of all to the great truth that all men are equal in Your sight. Let us understand that simple justice demands

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Educationfifty.com Educates Public About Candidate Reform Positions

CER Press Release
Washington, D.C.
September 12, 2012

The Center for Education Reform’s (CER) campaign to Take America Back to School on Education Reform continues with a web-based guide to candidate positions on education reform. Educationfifty.com is a dynamic tool that empowers voters to educate themselves about which candidates are real education reformers and which ones merely pay lip service to the idea.

Educationfifty.com compares candidate positions on three key reform issues: 1) strong charter school laws, 2) meaningful school choice, and 3) strong teacher evaluations with performance based rewards.

Currently Educationfifty.com contains information on the nation’s gubernatorial races and state superintendent races as well as the incumbent governors who are not up for election. Comparative information on the presidential candidates will be available in October.

The site, which is based on thousands of data points and comprehensive research, will be updated in real time – providing up-to-the-minute research to voters craving the truth about candidate’s plans for fixing education systems.

“Education is only as strong as its weakest link. Bold, substantive reform happens when the public holds policymakers – both present and potential – to their promises and demands answers on specific policy proposals,” said CER President Jeanne Allen. “When Governors and other state policymakers embrace real reform, great things happen. Educationfifty.com arms voters with the information they need to elect reform minded leaders who will take on the status quo and support real solutions that lead to better – and more — education opportunities for kids.”

CER is going all out this election season to educate voters about the nature of true education reform. In addition to Educationfifty.com, the Field Guide to Education Reform: How to Spot a Real Education Reformer provides voters with those important education policy questions they should be asking their policymakers. Those policymakers (present

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Can you spot a real education reformer?

When trying to separate real reformers from “talkers,” it helps to see how they behave in various habitats. For example, how does this alleged reformer act when invited to participate in a forum where the education establishment may well be present? Does (s)he:

a. Change the word “choice” to “options”?
b. Use accountability fifteen different times but never define what it means?
c. Say there is no silver bullet and we simply have to “do it all.”
d. Advocate for “early childhood education” without mentioning that existing schools that don’t work can’t do a better job just by having the kids early and neglect to discuss how low-quality is an issue in most public pre-schools as well.
e. Banter on about the dropout rate, the state of joblessness, homelessness, foodlessness and more as excuses for poor performing schools?
f. Frequently use the words “non-profit solutions?”

For more about How to Spot a Real Reformer go to look here.

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Reporting From the DNC in Charlotte

Coverage of the conventions continues today in Charlotte, where veteran CER staffer Kara Kerwin has been hob-knobbing with Edreformers… and some not-so-edreformers! Here at a Dems for Ed Reform event the two major union bosses flank entrepreneur, Princeton Review Founder John Katzman. (Note they look a little peeved to have to listen to someone else!) Now that it’s their turn to speak, they use the time to bash organizations like K-12 Inc. and Edison who do good work serving children in non-traditional public schools.

Earlier at the same event, on a panel of state legislators, OH State Senator Nina Turner described the need for education reform in Cleveland: “if your hair is on fire, then you better act like it’s on fire”

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GOP Convention Highlights Ed Reform; Now it's the Dems Turn

It’s the moment one waits for, a bit of a dream come true, when day after day members of a major political party endorse and embrace the work to which you have devoted your professional career. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa was the icing on the cake – demand for high standards, the imperative for school choice, respect for teachers and their good performance, and a resolve to no longer tolerate the false promises of unions who want to defend the status quo of tenure over results. Condoleezza Rice implored us to understand that school choice is the civil rights issue of our time. A parade of Republican Governors who have fought the reform wars and won also embraced the cause and the bi-partisan agreement that has allowed real reform to thrive. Whatever ones politics, it is a real milestone when leaders of a party rarely credited with education as a signature issue demonstrate that it is just that. CER is in the middle of a campaign to educate the public and politicians about what real education reform is and why it is crucial to the future our country. It’s heartening to see that some officials already understand that. With the need for education reform to be a national – not a partisan imperative – the Democrats must now ante up.

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Jeanne Allen on WGAU Newsmakers

WGAU Newsmakers
April 5, 2012

Jeanne Allen talks everything from elections to teacher quality and pay to higher education.

Education Reform Is a Vote for the Economy

By Jeanne Allen
Huffington Post
March 2, 2012

Super Tuesday is upon us, and voters are likely nearing the selection of a GOP candidate to oppose President Obama in November. As people go to the polls in ten states on Tuesday, what should they be looking at in choosing their candidates?

We hear that the voters of 2012 care only about things like “jobs and unemployment,” “retirement security,” “housing” and “debt” — those things that make up the “Big E,” what we commonly refer to as “the economy.”

But there’s another “E” missing from the equation that actually feeds — or starves — even the best economy. It’s called Education, and its reform is the imperative for a nation that continues to lag in achievement and finances.

In every state and community, education reform is the battle cry for those most afflicted by the nation’s 2,000 failing high schools, and for the approximately 70 percent of kids who are not learning at either national or international benchmarks. There are solutions to these true economic deficiencies (yes, education is vital to a healthy economy!) ranging from more choices in public and private education, teacher and parent empowerment, higher standards, better content, online delivery, tenure reform and more.

I don’t know why the candidates don’t seem to recognize, or discuss this. Where are the media pundits on the candidates’ positions on K-12 education? Is it fatigue? Apathy? We have heard for so long how terribly broken our education system is. The problems seem intractable, and perhaps voters are simply tired of hearing about it.

If that’s the case, I suppose it’s understandable. After all, the most recent Nation’s Report Card was particularly grim, showing that barely 40 percent of our 4th- and 8th- grade students are proficient in math and reading. SAT and ACT scores have remained flat,

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MEMO TO THE HOSTS OF MORNING JOE: ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

March 1, 2012

MEMO TO THE HOSTS OF MORNING JOE: ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

From: Jeanne Allen

Dear Joe and Mika:

Tomorrow you will host what appears to be another important show on K-12 education in America. Because we have been toiling in the education reform vineyard long enough to remember when the words “choice” and “accountability” were not even in the vernacular, your openness to airing these issues is welcome, indeed.

We’re pleased that CHOICE and ACCOUNTABILITY now appear to be mainstream watchwords of reform. Yet the opponents of reform are smart, so it also means the words are occasionally cheapened by overuse and misuse.

Perhaps tomorrow’s Town Hall meeting can tease out the real reformers from those who are simply waxing rhetorical. From our on-the-ground involvement in states, we know some of your guests are offering real leadership on reform, while others …, well, not so much.

Here are some questions to help you separate the wheat from the chaff – to tease out the real reform from the empty promises:

CHOICE: As we speak, African American policymakers and educators are gathered at a meeting in Washington to advance the goal of ensuring more and better options for children of color, who graduate at vastly lower rates, barely score “basic” on proficiency tests and are more likely to go to jail than go to college.

Despite this deeply dismaying picture of US education, NJ Governor Chris Christie’s Department of Education has rejected dozens of strong charter school proposals while hundreds of NJ schools are beyond failure. He has been very effective at getting folks off the beach in a storm. But Governor Christie has not succeeded in twisting enough arms to give vouchers to the poor so that they can escape from the state’s worst performing schools. This is doubly

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New SAT analysis: We’re Dropping Back

“Learning is like rowing upstream – to not advance is to drop back.” – Chinese proverb.

Well, get ready to go backward … again. Today’s SAT Breakdown for college-bound seniors shows that student improvement is going nowhere and that Hispanics and African-American students continue to face a wide achievement gap.

When you take into account this year’s SAT analysis and recent ACT scores, which reveal that only 25 percent of the 2011 class could meet the benchmarks for college readiness in all four core subjects, it’s no surprise that we’re dropping back.

The United States has slipped from 12th to 16th globally in college education attainment, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report released this week.

How much more writing needs to be on the wall before we reach a consensus that how we continue to educate our kids is not working?

We’re not adequately preparing our K-12 students for college and therefore we’re falling behind other nations around the globe both educationally and economically. It’s time that we all step back, admit its not working and then work to reform our education system to emphasize student achievement.

We, and especially our kids, need a system that puts them first and rallies against the backward trends evident in our education system.

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New SAT analysis: We're Dropping Back

“Learning is like rowing upstream – to not advance is to drop back.” – Chinese proverb.

Well, get ready to go backward … again. Today’s SAT score analysis for college-bound seniors shows that student improvement is going nowhere and that Hispanics and African-American students continue to face a wide achievement gap.

When you take into account this year’s SAT analysis and recent ACT scores, which reveal that only 25 percent of the 2011 class could meet the benchmarks for college readiness in all four core subjects, it’s no surprise that we’re dropping back.

The United States has slipped from 12th to 16th globally in college education attainment, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report released this week.

How much more writing needs to be on the wall before we reach a consensus that how we continue to educate our kids is not working?

We’re not adequately preparing our K-12 students for college and therefore we’re falling behind other nations around the globe both educationally and economically. It’s time that we all step back, admit its not working and then work to reform our education system to emphasize student achievement.

We, and especially our kids, need a system that puts them first and rallies against the backward trends evident in our education system.

Comments(0)
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