Home » Newswire Weekly » NEWSWIRE: November 12, 2014

NEWSWIRE: November 12, 2014

Share This Story

Vol. 16, No. 44

REMEMBERING POLLY WILLIAMS. Sadly, the education reform movement has lost another leader this year in Polly Williams, former state representative of Wisconsin who tirelessly fought to bring school choice to Milwaukee parents, laying the necessary groundwork for families nationwide. So awe-inspiring were Williams’ legislative efforts that President Clinton sent a letter urging Williams to, “keep up the good work.” Known for placing conviction ahead of politics, Williams once said, “And it really doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, the statehouse, the court house, or city hall. It doesn’t matter who controls any of those houses. It matters who controls our house. Parents have got to be in control of their own home and their own children, and then parents make those decisions. All these other houses [should] respond and respect what parents want for their children.” With increased parental demand for more educational options, hopefully there will be more elected officials who adopt this mindset.

CONFLICTS IN CAROLINA. The hits just keep on coming in North Carolina, where the N.C. Charter Advisory Board approved just 11 of 71 charter applications for the 2015-16 school year, a considerably lower approval rate from last year. Reports indicate an aversion to charter management organizations with proven track records of success. Operators such as Charter Schools USA, which has visibly helped lift student achievement through partnerships with school leaders, were wholly rejected in this round of applications, much to the detriment of families in need of options. If state lawmakers nationwide truly want to witness the proliferation of successful schools, major change, void of conflicts, within the state law is needed. Newly elected officials must accept their responsibility to lead on education and push for these changes.

LEADERS WANTED. Now that the Election Day dust has settled, incumbent governors and governors-elect are looking forward to a new administration, more than half of whom have demonstrated true potential to take the lead on enacting policies based in school choice and accountability for families. As it stands now, CER still identifies few state lawmakers who have taken a page out of the Polly Williams playbook to put politics aside and build the necessary coalitions to put kids first. Because of an unabashed willingness to fight for school choice, Williams was able to break through political roadblocks and reach across the aisle to leaders like then Gov. Tommy Thompson to create real change in the form of a parental choice program still in existence today. Now that a majority of voters have elected real reformers, it’s time to hold them to it.

IN THE NEWS. Kara Kerwin recently sat down with Mark Lerner of Examiner.com to lay out what must happen to grow #edreform, “bigger, better, faster” and reflecting on her first year at the helm of CER. While acknowledging reform gains over the last 21 years, Kerwin notes that only five percent of school-aged children are utilizing school choice programs while less than 40 percent of students can read and write at grade level. Having laws on the books isn’t enough; parents also need to know of the opportunities available for their children, regardless of program type. It’s this disconnect of Parent Power that CER seeks to fix, both through sound policy and whether those laws are actually implemented. Read the full exclusive interview here.

CALLING ALL FEDS. If you’re a government employee, you can help CER in its mission to create opportunities for students by giving via the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). In its first year participating, CER has been awarded “Best in America”, a distinction given to only two percent of charities in the U.S. and is a proud participant of the Educate America! Federation. Click here to learn more.

THOUGHT LEADER SUMMIT. As part of National Education Week, The National Education Initiative is hosting on Nov. 12 and 13, the 2014 Thought Leader Summit at the National Press Club, featuring CER Senior Fellow and president emeritus Jeanne Allen as a panelist. Click here to see the full agenda and list of speakers, and follow the discussion on Twitter under the #NatlEdWeek hashtag.