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Back-to-School Campaign Launched

Nation’s Leader on Substantive Reform Invites America to Go “Back to School”

CER Press Release
Washington, D.C.
August 21, 2012

Today the Center for Education Reform (CER) announced a major campaign to take the entire public – not just the students! – back to school on education reform.

The campaign seeks to educate the general public about the condition of education in their states, communities and schools; the opportunities that exist for improvement and change; and the myriad of solutions that are succeeding in arresting a 30-year decline in education achievement. Taking America Back-to-School on Education Reform is a series of tools and products aimed at ensuring a national understanding of the severity of the education crisis and the champions and unsung heroes who are doing something about it.

The campaign will utilize all forms of online and traditional media, engaging parents and interested citizens in becoming more informed, more active participants in the national conversation. CER will roll out several new resources including Education Fifty, a web-based guide to candidate positions on education reform, and a Field Guide on education reform. In mid-September, CER will unveil The Parent Power Index© (PPI), a ranking of the states based on a new evaluation of state policies that most influence the opportunities available for parents to engage in their child’s education. The PPI will be released in tandem with the national premiere of Won’t Back Down, a feature film – based in part on real world cases – that portrays the efforts of parents and educators to improve their own school.

Taking America Back-to-School will also re-introduce the “first principles” of reform to policymakers and reformers who are often barraged by a variety of ideas masked in reform notions but are really a substitute for the status quo. And it will educate consumers on how best to determine whether their candidates or local leaders are in favor of real reforms versus rhetoric.

CER President Jeanne Allen made the following statement:

Nearly 30 years after a Nation at Risk and 20 years after the nation first began to make serious inroads into reforming their schools, many Americans are still unaware of the severity of the education crisis in this country and the basic education reforms needed to address it.

As parents are bracing for another school year for their kids, it’s time for the grownups to go back to school ourselves. We, as a nation, need to be aware of what works and how.

Half measures and lip service are often celebrated as milestones today, lulling us into a false sense of security that our leaders have the job of improving schools well in hand. Yet nice sounding slogans do not always translate into reform. Not every tenure change is alike, not every charter law is strong and not every effort to create standards will necessarily result in better education.

In the 19 years since CER was founded, we’ve learned much about what can make our schools great. Underlying every important effort is one simple premise – information is power. A lack of information among voters, policymakers and the media about schools and their performance, about solutions and their promise can set education in this country back, dropping us even further behind. Great information, like great education, makes all the difference.

To learn more about the Taking America Back to School on Education Reform campaign, watch this video of CER President Jeanne Allen.

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