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Newswire: April 2, 2013

Vol. 15, No. 13

SUPREME VICTORY. Just a week ago, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court decision declaring the state’s school voucher program constitutional. Kevin Chavous, executive counsel for American Federation for Children and CER Board Member explains, “…the bottom line is people and parents are clamoring for change. And that’s why you see that these scholarship programs, these voucher programs, tax credits, they’re emerging all over the country, because people don’t want to be consigned to a bad school based on zip code.” Going head to head with NEA president Dennis Van Roekel on PBS’ News Hour yesterday, Chavous continued, “…this really isn’t about partisan politics. It really is about making sure that parents have as many quality options as possible available to educate their children.” Amen!

CAROLINA CONTROVERSY. Charter School legislation introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly has made its way to the state House and Senate, and has been causing some controversy from the hills of Asheville to the shores of Wilmington. SB 337 would create the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Board, replacing the charter school advisory board. Detractors say that the bill creates a dual system of education but that is actually a moot point because the board that would be created would not be independent; its authority would still rest with the NC Department of Public Instruction. The debate should really be about creating strong laws that result in strong schools, a conclusion CER has made in 14 evaluations of charter laws.

MISSISSIPPI COMPROMISES ON CHOICE. Fearing warnings that changes to a bill could jeopardize support, the Mississippi House passed the Charter Schools Act of 2013, agreeing today to House Bill 369, a bill to expand charter schools. The fate of the law seemed murky up until yesterday evening, when the Republican leaders of the Senate worked out a compromise. As Newswire has noted, the bill is riddled with restrictions. “The reality is that not all progress is good, and it’s unlikely that the legislature which has taken 16 years to even move charter schooling forward would improve upon this measure in enough years to save the 80 percent of children still not proficient in reading across the state,” said CER President Jeanne Allen in a recent statement.

BATTER UP. This week marks opening day at many ballparks across the country, and we are pleased to announce the Tennessee Charter Schools Association is in the game. TCSA became CER’s first anchor partner in our new initiative to provide a state-based Media Bullpen – the nation’s largest and only aggregator of education news. Get in the game yourself with personalized news alerts, and comment and share national, state, and local news from CER’s 24/7 virtual newsroom, the Media Bullpen.

SAVE THE DATE. We’re having a party! And this one will be big, celebrating CER at 20. On October 9, 2013 we will gather at The Washington Hilton to celebrate the tried and true classics of education reform. Mark your calendar for our 20th Anniversary Celebration, Conference, Gala and the EdReformies, CER’s unique honor bestowed upon leaders in the field of education reform. This year’s theme is the Classics of Education Reform, in Rat Pack style, featuring musical performances by The Reformers – the only musical group made of leading reform activists. Please join us as we look back on our last two decades, pay tribute to our founders, and honor those who have made education reform a “standard.” Visit our website for details on the 2013 EdReformies, ticket and sponsorship information, and for frequent updates. Email events@edreform.com for early registration. Mark your calendar. You will not want to miss it!