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NEWSWIRE: September 15, 2015

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Vol. 17, No. 36

NO SPECIAL SESSION. Seattle teachers are still striking, while charter school students are still in school as the September 24 deadline for a reconsideration of the State Supreme Court ruling declaring charter schools unconstitutional draws nearer.  Supporters called on Governor Jay Inslee to call a special session to #SaveWAcharterschools, but on Friday, the anti-charter school and school choice Governor said he would not call a special session on the matter of charter schools. In the meantime, charter school leaders and teachers continue to do everything in their power to make sure there’s no disruption in schooling for 1,200 students as they work to secure alternative funding to keep their schools going for the duration of the school year.

OPPORTUNITY EXPANDED. North Carolina lawmakers have reached a budget deal that expands the amount available for Opportunity Scholarships to nearly $25 million by 2016. The budget awaiting the governor’s signature would allow 6,000 students access to vouchers, a needed increase given the fact that in the first year the scholarships were available, the number of applications nearly doubled the number of scholarships allotted. “Undoubtedly, this is a major win for the thousands of low-income families who’ve desired this Program with over 12,000 applications that have flooded in over the last two years,” PEFNC President Darrell Allison said in a statement.  While there’s still more work to be done in a state that earns a grade of C on CER’s Parent Power Index, this combined with the State Supreme Court’s ruling in July deciding vouchers constitutional are giant steps forward for parent power in North Carolina.

BALTIMORE LAWSUIT. “We were hoping it would not come to this, but we’ve reached a point where we have to stand up for our children and families.” That’s what the principal of a Baltimore City charter school said regarding the lawsuit filed by a group of city charter schools seeking their fair share of funding. According to the Baltimore Sun, these schools are among the highest performing in the city, and they do it with less money than their traditional public school counterparts. Even more frustrating is that of all Maryland districts, Baltimore City spends at or near the top per student, yet just 16 percent of 8th graders and 14 percent of 4th graders are proficient in reading. Inequitable funding has a lot to do with Maryland’s F-rated charter school law, and is exactly why Governor Hogan’s proposal to fix the law should not have been gutted. It’s time for Maryland, a state that ranks 43rd in Parent Power, to take a hard look at its policies and do what’s right for parents and students.

UP CLOSE WITH DEMOCRACY PREP. “Regardless of the route they took to get to school, the Democracy Prep scholars found the same thing once they reached their destination: smiling teachers and principals ready and eager to start a new school year.” That’s an excerpt from Democracy Prep’s new blog started in honor of their 10th anniversary to showcase the stories and achievements of their students and educators. The blog is already jam-packed with stories about scholars winning national competitions and visiting colleges. A great tribute to the over 5,000 scholars Democracy Prep has educated in four regions at 17 schools and one program since it first opened in 2005. Because while policy reports are important in providing guidance on best practices, so too are the day-to-day real results and individual stories that showcase the power of choice and innovation to change trajectories for students, and those need to be highlighted and shared far and wide.

CONSTITUTION DAY. This Thursday, September 17 marks the 228th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, a document critical to our nation’s founding. Understanding the system our Founding Fathers put in place years ago – and how the federal government interacts with the states and the governmental powers afforded to each entity – is critical to ensuring the success of education reform. And with the 2016 presidential election drawing nearer, and Congress attempting to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the need to understand the relationship between the federal government and the states is stronger than ever. Read more about the relationship between Constitution Day and education reform at CER’s blog, Edspresso.

10 DAYS. That’s how many days you have left to enroll in EdReformU’s NEW condensed History of Edreform class! Choose between a certificate class, a highly valued course of mentorship and access to the nation’s leading pioneers and experts, or a basic class, with access to all materials and no live classes or homework requirements, allowing you to work at your own pace and participate as you best see fit. Learn more and enroll at university.edreform.com. We look forward to learning with you and arming you with the knowledge and power to lead the next generation of edreform!