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Newswire: March 19, 2013

Vol. 15, No. 11

THE MAINE EVENT. Earlier this year, Governor Paul LePage expressed his outrage that Maine’s “school systems are failing.” And when the newly-created Charter School Commission rejected four out of five charter applications he called on “…those people, if they’re afraid to do the job, if they can’t put students first, then they ought to resign.” Vowing to go back to square one on reform efforts, the Governor jumping back in the ring to convene a conference this Friday, March 22. The conference will feature sessions on best practices from across the country like Florida’s school performance grading system, school choice, and stretching education dollars. CER President Jeanne Allen, will lead a panel discussion on “Multiple Pathways to Success.”

BATTLE IN THE BAYOU. Today, parents, students, educators and reformers rallied before the Louisiana Supreme Court to defend the Louisiana Scholarship Program. Over 4,500 students across the state benefit from the program which provides scholarships to qualifying students enrolled in underperforming and failing schools, to attend schools of their choice. Former DC Councilman, attorney, advocate, and CER board member Kevin P. Chavous addressed the masses today and said, “I know justice, and it is absolutely criminal to snatch away opportunity from children.” The debate is heating up and attorneys brought their arguments for a showdown today with oral ammunition before the state’s Supreme Court. A ruling on the appeal is not expected for several weeks.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY. As Newswire reported last week, a charter school proposal must still be negotiated in joint House-Senate conference committees. As it stands now, “Mississippi has yet to open the book on what charter schools can really do for the whole of education across the state. Not only is this not significant in any way, but it’s evidence that even the relatively new leadership in power is inept at withstanding the political power of the education establishment,” said CER President Jeanne Allen.

DEFENDING CHOICE. When recently blasting the current state of public education in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie stated, “Nothing else in our society works without competition, and public education won’t work for everybody unless it does, too.” Reformers couldn’t agree more. This is the opportunity for Christie to put his money where his mouth is in backing meaningful voucher programs and serious reform of the states charter school law with multiple authorizers as it centerpiece.

IN GOOD COMPANY. Congrats to the legislators, advocates and CER’s own, Jeanne Allen, who were honored last week at Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) Symposium.

BLENDED LEARNING IN ACTION. Check out how Oakland, CA’s Aspire ERES Academy is pushing the boundaries on innovation in teaching through blended learning.