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NEWSWIRE: February 18, 2015

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Vol. 17, No. 7

NEW SCHOOLS IN THE OLD LINE STATE. This week, thousands of Baltimore families will gather in gymnasiums and meeting rooms to anxiously hear the results of charter school lotteries. Though the lotteries will be for charter schools unique in their missions and student populations, the one consistency is eager parental demand for these education options. Efforts are now underway to strengthen Maryland’s charter law, currently ranked 39 out of 43 on CER’s law rankings. One Maryland parent expressed “tremendous relief” upon hearing her five-year-old son secured a spot at a charter school. If lawmakers succeed in making policy that’s friendlier to charter innovation and autonomy, more parents across the state will be feeling relief knowing their child is in a school that’s the right fit for them.

SECOND CHANCES. Gary Middle College (GMC), a second-chance charter school in Gary, IN, epitomizes how education works to break the cycle of poverty. The charter school, supported by the GEO Foundation, runs twelve hours a day and provides meals and daycare so its adult student body can focus on obtaining their G.E.D. Through a local partnership, some are even able to take college courses twice a week. Educator Nora Glenn says teachers have a voice thanks to a supportive administrator who is “100 percent behind us.” GMC educators take pride in their community and are playing a vital role in the top Parent Power state that welcomes schools like GMC with open arms.

SHARE THE LOVE. The School Reform Commission (SRC) in Philadelphia is scheduled to vote TODAY on 39 charter applications that would breathe new life into a fledgling school system and help 30,000 Philly students currently on waiting lists. For too long, the charter approval process in The City of Brotherly Love has been stalled, hindering new schools and preventing the replication of highly successful charters such as Boys’ Latin, run by CER Board Member David Hardy. A recent op-ed by Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai shows charters are not only producing academic success, but are doing so with less per-pupil funding. There’s still time to support these applications. Click here to be patched through to the SRC to voice your support, or better yet, if you’re in Philly, head over to Philadelphia School District headquarters at 440 N. Broad St. at 3:30pm today!

AND THE AWARD GOES TO... The International Academy of Flint, Michigan (IAF) has a student population of 1,100 students, where 83 percent are low income. However IAF is a shining example of the conviction that all students can learn, as it has been recognized as an “Academic State Champion” by Bridge Magazine for the third year in a row. IAF is no stranger to awards, having been the recipient of a bronze medal as one of the “Best High Schools” from U.S. News & World Report and a “Closing the Gap” award from charter operator SABIS. The IAF model emphasizes college-readiness and a well-rounded education, combined with nurturing a love for learning. Congrats to IAF and numerous other education options like it that serve the students of Michigan.

PARENT POWER. Next Thursday February 26, CER’s Kara Kerwin will be a panelist in a discussion held by The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) entitled, “Empowering consumers and voters for K-12 education reform,” highlighting why effective policy must be coupled with effective implementation. Click here for more information.