Home » Newswire Weekly » Newswire: September 17, 2013

Newswire: September 17, 2013

Volo. 15, No. 35

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the horrific shooting that took place yesterday in Washington, DC’s Navy Yard. We applaud the precautions taken by the courageous educators and school leaders in the surrounding area who kept all students safe and away from danger. Police, emergency personnel, teachers, and school staff members should be commended on what must have been a very trying day.

CHALLENGING STUDENTS IN CIVICS. Congratulations to Challenge Charter School in Arizona for being named a school of distinction in civic engagement. The founders of Challenge are true pioneers. Schools of distinction in civic engagement teach government and history, discuss current events, and encourage extracurricular activities and community service. Schools like Challenge recognize that increased involvement in schools and communities is crucial to student development. Challenge was one of the first charter schools to open in Arizona and is consistently one of the highest performing charters in the state. Despite pressure to do so, the founders have chosen not to expand the school too much and remain true to their mission, making them a perfect example of quality “mom & pop” charter operators. The fact that schools like Challenge are able to carry out their mission and turn students into engaged citizens is a testament to the high level of Parent Power in Arizona.

HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY! Today we celebrate the document that laid the groundwork for the great experiment that is the United States of America. In addition to learning about our nation’s founding, it’s important to reflect on the federalist system instituted by the Framers and how it affects the world education reform. With recent challenges such as defining the role of Congress in education to harmful intrusions into successful state policy, the need to understand the relationship between the federal government and the states is stronger than ever. Read more about the relationship between federalism and education reform at Edspresso.

GARDEN STATE OPTIONS. A recent poll shows New Jersey voters hold a slightly more favorable view on Governor Chris Christie’s education record than in months past, but that hardly tells the whole story. Voters evaluated Christie
on issues such as his tension filled relationship with teacher unions and education budget cuts. But one issue largely overlooked by the pollsters was the current charter school environment in the Garden State. New Jersey earned a C grade for its charter school law, which does not allow for multiple, independent authorizers but rather funnels all charter school decisions to the State Commissioner. Conditions will worsen if Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan’s proposal to require local approval of charter schools and invite more bureaucracy actually becomes law. There are reasons to be optimistic that quality schooling options can still become available, as evidenced by the partnership between online learning provider and “CER at 20” sponsor K12, Inc. and Newark Prep Charter School. Let’s hope there is more focus by all New Jersey lawmakers on implementing successful charter school policies that allow for more quality educational options.

NOT WASTING ANY TIME. Recently, the Douglas County School Board in Colorado has been on a reform hot streak that has drawn national attention, embarking on a Parent Power overhaul to introduce more choices and accountability standards for its students. Former Education Secretary and “CER at 20 honoree” William Bennett hit the nail on the head when he claimed the Board members are, “trying to do all the good reforms at once.” The School Board has implemented a school choice voucher program, set up a virtual charter school and allowed the teacher union contract expire, much to the chagrin of the Colorado BLOB. Douglas County is a prime example of a school district refusing to be satisfied with the status quo despite past successes, giving way for the emergence of a new frontier in education reform.

RSVP here to attend CER’s 20th Anniversary Conference & Gala. Come join us for insightful panel discussions that will include the ed reform pioneers themselves, who will reflect on 20 years of creating excellent educational options for students and families, and what lies ahead. Afterwards, stick around for the gala and Rat Pack EdReformies, featuring the always entertaining “Reformer Performers” and help congratulate the six 20th Anniversary honorees who have made unique contributions to the movement!

RSVP and don’t miss out on this swingin’ party – secure your spot today!