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NEWSWIRE: October 14, 2015

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Vol. 14, No. 40

#DEMDEBATE. Last night’s Democratic presidential debate was pretty disappointing for all interested in K-12 education, as talk of the cost of higher education overshadowed ensuring kids are actually armed with an excellent education before they get there. Perhaps not surprising though, after Democratic candidates were invited to attend a summit on K-12 education issues hosted by The 74 but declined, likely thanks to pressure from unions. In August, six Republican candidates discussed their views on K-12 education at The 74’s New Hampshire summit. Historically, education issues haven’t gotten much attention during election years, dropping almost seven percent compared to the previous year. As November 2016 gets closer, however, we sure hope candidates find a way to make the issue more prominent, as it’s without a doubt intricately tied into the well-being of our nation.

GOV RACES. Three states this year, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi, are holding elections for governor. Last year’s gubernatorial races ended up as an overall win for #edreform, with 52 percent of all governors (including the D.C. mayor) considered to be reform-minded after 2014 election results. Education50 helps voters understand where candidates for governor stand on critical education reform issues like school choice, charter schools, and teacher quality policies like performance pay. While Kentucky and Mississippi elections are both held on November 3, Louisiana’s falls on Saturday, October 24, so folks in the Pelican State need to do their homework soon. The Louisiana Federation for Children hosted a forum on Louisiana’s Education Revolution, where both candidates Dardenne and Vitter made clear their support for school choice and the importance of empowering parents. If you reside in these three states, be sure to read up on where candidates stand on critical education issues so you can spot the real reformer, and make sure you vote for someone that shares your views and will work to advance substantive change and #ParentPower in education.

CHARTER LEGISLATION. Last week, important charter school legislation that would uphold accountability and ensure greater transparency passed the full Ohio House and Senate. While Ohio still has a ways to go in improving its C-rated charter school law, Ohio lawmakers (and the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools for working so hard to make sure lawmakers get it right!) should be applauded for this step forward in addressing critical issues. “These lawmakers did their due diligence, came to a bipartisan agreement, and upheld due process for schools to ensure that students and families across the Buckeye State can continue to have access to quality options,” CER President Kara Kerwin said in a statement. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, parents, teachers, and advocates are hoping their policy makers can improve laws in order to expand access to excellent education options, with an Education Committee hearing yesterday drawing hundreds of people to testify on bills related to charter schools and lifting the charter school cap. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has proposed a plan that would allow up to 12 new charter schools to open each year in low-performing districts. However, lifting the cap completely is an important first step in removing barriers to allow charter growth to meet parental demand.

OPTIONS ARE BAD. They aren’t really, but that’s the message in the first satirical music video about school choice from Choice Media. Check out the “We Don’t Want School Choice” video and don’t forget to share on social media so that all the school choice naysayers can see just how silly their arguments against school choice are!

FEELIN’ 22. I dunno about you, but we’re feelin’ 22! Yesterday CER officially turned 22, marking over two decades of advocating for choice, accountability, and Parent Power. While we’re proud of what the #edreform movement has accomplished, it’s time to ramp up the pace at which students have access to choices. Across America, only about five percent of all school-aged children are taking advantage of great educational opportunities. YOU can help edreform grow more opportunities for children in its 22nd year and beyond in a variety of ways. Together, we can change the conditions of education today and push for policies that increase #ParentPower.

SURVEY SAYS…If you are a charter school, we want to hear from you! CER is encouraging all charter schools to take our 2015 National Charter Schools Survey. These survey results are analyzed and published as CER’s Survey of America’s Charter Schools, a vital publication that since 1996 has helped fight misinformation about charter schools. Click here to take the survey, or contact CER at 800-521-2118 or tlosey@edreform.com if you would prefer a hard copy.