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Choice Internationally

Today, we celebrate education options internationally, and organizations like Bridge International Academies working to ensure every child has a chance to experience a quality education, regardless of their family’s income.

There are nearly 3 billion people living on less than $2 a day around the world, and Bridge International Academies recognizes that just like in the U.S., a huge gap exists between the education offered and the needs of the population in these communities.

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Bridge International Academies currently serves approximately 100,000 families in Africa, and is expanding soon to Asia. They offer access to low-cost, high-quality private schools, charging fees that are 70% lower than any other private schools in local communities. They work to provide both intellectual and social education for their students, along with preparing them for the 21st century.

And that’s exactly what they’ve done for Josephine Meweni Nyakundi, a Bridge International Academies student in Ongata Rongai in Kajiado Country, just outside of Nairobi, Africa. She dreams of being a neurosurgeon one day so that she can help the people in her community, as its sorely lacking in its supply of qualified doctors. Thanks to Bridge International Academies’ scholarship program, which works to support its top-performing pupils by helping them to complete secondary school in the U.S., she’s closer to realizing her dream.

“With determination, courage, support and assertiveness …you can achieve your dreams, no matter how big they are and despite your current circumstance,” says Josephine of her beloved school.

The scholarships are a testament to the support and dedication of Bridge Academies’ teachers, academy managers and an incredible achievement for the pupils. These children only want to better their lives and the lives of the people around them, and having the choice to attend a school that offers

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National Lawmakers Championing Choice

Today, we celebrate national lawmakers like Rep. Luke Messer and Sen. Tim Scott who understand the importance of creating education opportunities for children, especially those who need it most.

They are champions of DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), which has proven powerful in improving education for low-income children in the nation’s capital for over a decade. The average annual income for families who receive opportunity scholarships is less than $22,000, and approximately 98 percent of DCOSP students live in zoned neighborhood schools designated as in need of improvement. More than 90 percent of DCOSP participants graduate from their schools of choice – a much higher rate than DC’s traditional public schools (by at least 30 percent!) – and 88 percent go on to enroll in two or four year higher education institutions.

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More than 16,000 families have applied to the program since its inception. Data reveals that parents are both highly satisfied with their school of choice as well as the progress their children are making.

However, despite efforts to reauthorize the program in October 2015, the DCOSP was left out of the FY 2016 Omnibus Bill, creating uncertainty for these students most in need of educational attainment and options.

Take action here to ask Congress to make sure the DCOSP continues to be a vital lifeline for students.

This is one of a series of posts highlighting numerous diverse opportunities from towns to nations for National School Choice Week 2016.

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A School of Choice

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

This is the motto found on Columbus Preparatory Academy’s (CPA) website — a K-8 public charter school in Columbus, Ohio that’s not only earned a National Blue Ribbon distinction, but has also been recognized with an “Excellent with Distinction” award for four consecutive years.

Because public charter schools are free from traditional rules and regulations, while still being held accountable for results, CPA is able to help students succeed using an innovative curriculum and methodology called The Blitz©.

“The Blitz© is an exciting way to teach students to create, motivate, be a team player, and above all, be responsible for their own success in testing and academics. It is a year-long data tracking tool that customizes each individual student’s learning experience based on strengths and learning opportunities.”

CPA implemented The Blitz© in 2009 in part to respond to the challenges it was facing, such as inconsistent leadership, enrollment, teacher turnover, and parent involvement. During the school’s first few years, CPA was deemed a school in academic emergency by the Ohio Department of Education.

However after implementing The Blitz©, the school was able to achieve excellence, creating a culture that “embScreen Shot 2016-01-25 at 5.57.55 PModies a collaborative momentum toward closing the achievement gap… and a school-wide drive toward excellence, every student at CPA feels like a champion.”

Schools of choice like CPA are able to overcome challenges because they’re free from the traditional bureaucracy and red tape that can limit a school’s ability to innovate.

Today we celebrate schools of choice like CPA that are committed to doing whatever it takes to meet students’ needs and the policies that allow them the freedom and flexibility to do what

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A Leader’s Choice

“It’s not an experiment anymore. It’s not a demonstration. It’s not a what-if. After 20 years, we have overwhelming evidence . . . of kids, parents, families who have found what they were looking for in the charter school movement here in the Commonwealth of Mass.”

Those are words from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as he addressed the crowd of parents, educators and advocates at the State House last week as they prepared to press lawmakers to lift the cap on charter schools.

Since October 2015, the Governor has been pushing legislation that would allow 12 new or expanded charter schools statewide annually in low-performing districts.

While eliminating caps completely and allowing for independent authorizers could really help charter schools grow and thrive in the Bay State, the expansion would without a doubt be a positive step forward, as the state has nearly the s37000kidsMAchartersame number of children on charter school wait lists (about 37,000) as they do enrolled in public charter schools (approximately 40,000). Compared to traditional district schools, public charter school students in Massachusetts score proficient or advanced in all subject tests at every grade level. In fact, some of the state’s urban charter schools with populations that are mostly low-income and minority students are ranked among some of the best schools in the state.

“Governor Baker is putting a lot of political capital on the line for school choice for some of the poorest students in the state,” Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal notes. Despite the fact that charter schools have disrupted traditional public education in positive ways, there’s still reluctance and backlash to expand choices because of pushback from groups like the teacher’s union interested in maintaining the status quo.

From the

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A Family’s Choice

From the Nevada Public Public Policy Research Institute comes this story of a couple who have made it their mission to help low-income children through education, and whose dreams may be shattered by the anti-reform efforts of unions and other groups to block Nevada Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in court from becoming reality in the classroom.

Starting as educators in Detroit, DaJuane and Tamara Anderson moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and founded The Anderson Academy of Mathematics and Science, a private school “with the sole purpose” of helping at-risk students succeed with their education.”

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“So many parents in this community have a one-track mind when it comes to private schools,” DaJuane told the Nevada Policy Research Institute. “They think all private schools are expensive, far away or not designed for struggling minority students. We want to tear down that perception.”

Nevada’s new Education Savings Account (ESA) program made the $500-a-month tuition more feasible for low-income families searching for an alternative to their assigned neighborhood school failing to meet their child’s learning needs.

Sadly, Nevada’s program is in legal limbo right now because it is being challenged by a group of parents and the ACLU in two different lawsuits, threatening the potential for more parents to give their own children the dream of a great education, and not just parents who want better education opportunities for their children, but parents who want to CREATE better education opportunities for kids, like The Andersons.

Today we celebrate families helping other families make it possible to make the best possible choice for their children’s education.

This is one of a series of posts highlighting numerous diverse opportunities from towns to nations for Read More …

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Neither Snow, Nor Storm, Nor Dark of Night…

…Can Keep School Choice Week from Taking Flight!

At the heart of any successful education reform effort is freedom – the freedom for students, parents and educators to have new opportunities, and schools to pursue new innovations or ideas.

That’s why we’re thrilled to have a week to share how freedom works when it’s permitted in education. We salute all those engaged in thScreen Shot 2016-01-25 at 8.31.37 AMis, the 6th annual National School Choice Week, and join with the tens of thousands across the country – and globe – in celebrating the power and ever-growing potential of school choice. This year, there are more than 16,000 events planned in the U.S. and beyond, making this week the largest celebration of education choice in history.

Throughout the week, we will share numerous and diverse choice opportunities in education to help you follow the events of the week and share across the net to help raise public awareness for school choice.

And Don’t Forget!

1. Use #SCW to add your voice to the largest ever digital #SchoolChoice event!

2. Find an event near you! Use the school choice week map to locate and attend one of the more than16,000 events planned across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.!

3. Watch & share the official NSCW 2016 kickoff video!

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4.Get educated! Learn facts about school choice and share them with the click of a button.

And let us know if you have questions, suggestions or ideas to share and we will help you get them out there!

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