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Newswire: May 27, 2015

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Vol. 17, No. 21

#POWEROFCHOICE. Last week, News10NBC WHEC in Rochester, NY, aired an in-depth, multi-part series on the Power of Choice that explored why parents in Rochester aren’t afforded the same opportunities as parents in Washington, D.C. when it comes to finding the best educational fit for their children. The Center for Education Reform (CER) was honored to weigh in and provide context about how public charter schools are transforming education in our nation’s capital. As News10NBC reported, “Only nine-percent of African-American males graduate and only 10-percent of Latino males get a diploma in four years. These abysmal numbers can’t be blamed on funding – not even close. Rochester spends well over $21,000 — that’s over $9,000 or 72-percent more per student than the national average but still, school leaders say it’s not enough.” This series comes at a time when Governor Cuomo and New Yorkers are working to expand charter schools and bring much-needed tax credits to Empire State families. Newswire readers can stand with them to make sure opponents and special interest groups #DontStealPossible.

CHOICE BOOM. In 2003, there were just over 1,000,000 children ages 5 through 17 being homeschooled in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Education data. Ten years later, that number has jumped nearly 62 percent with 1,773,000 students being educated in the comfort and flexibility of their own homes. To put that 677,000 student increase into perspective, that’s greater than the populations of major cities like Boston, MA, Washington, D.C., and Memphis, TN. But that increase and demand for #ParentPower doesn’t come as a surprise to CER, as we’re seeing school choice programs oversubscribed and charter school wait lists grow across the country. Thankfully, more states in 2015 are working to increase Parent Power, with Tennessee the latest state to sign a school choice program into law, following Montana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Arkansas.

URGENCY NEEDED. Sadly, Maryland didn’t get the memo from other states working to expand education options available to parents, as The Wall Street Journal highlighted last week how changes made to the state’s charter school law restrict choice. Like other prominent media outlets, the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal agrees that changes signed into Maryland’s charter school law roll back progress, and do nothing to help improve conditions in cities like Baltimore. It’s sad when the “tricky” politics in statehouses get in the way of doing what’s best for students and providing them every opportunity possible to access excellent education environments. As Kevin P. Chavous notes about the missing link in Baltimore education, “instead of talking incessantly about how and why cities are exploding, let’s develop a sense of urgency around getting as many kids as possible in better schools… because in providing these kids immediate access to a high-quality education, we give them the tools to navigate around the ignorance of others because of the confidence and knowledge gained through education.”

ENROLL, LEARN, LEAD. You’ve broken out the grill, planned vacations and summer camps for the kids, but have you thought about your own enrichment this summer? EdReformU™, powered by CER, has just the thing for you with its Summer ’15 Program, History of Charter Schools (HistoryCS-201), beginning June 15. This new eight-week online course will give you in-depth knowledge about the genesis of charter school laws, and what lessons we’ve learned from over twenty years of educating, advocating, analyzing, and sharing what works within and across state lines when it comes to maximally effective charter school laws. Head over to university.edreform.com to apply NOW and learn more about how you can be part of the next generation of leaders to make real change happen in America’s schools with EdReformU™! But don’t just take our word for it – see what students are saying about EdReformU™. Don’t delay; you must apply by Sunday, June 7!

SURVEY SAYS… That your charter school’s information and feedback is vital when it comes to painting an accurate picture of the charter school environment in the U.S. Since 1996, CER has worked to collect information from charter schools across the nation to provide a comprehensive picture of the day-to-day operational struggles and triumphs of running a charter school. These results are analyzed and published in the Survey of America’s Charter Schools, helping fight myths about charter schools sadly still prevalent today and shedding light on policy changes needed in state houses across the country to ensure charter schools can thrive. So if you’re a charter school leader, click here to take the survey, which should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete. If you’re a charter school association, help spread the word to your schools – click to share the survey on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for your participation!