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Newswire: December 22, 2015 – Special Holiday Edition

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CER’s Annual Holiday & Christmas Convo Guide

‘Tis the season to be jolly, until Aunt Suzie walks in, sets her cookie tray down on the table, and starts railing on the latest political ad or poll she saw. You nod, smile and consider the best way to refocus the conversation. Whatever your holiday of choice, that’s where CER’s Annual Holiday & Christmas Convo tips come in.

Let’s face it. An edreformer’s job is never done. So after you’ve caught up on cousin Bill’s kids, downed some eggnog and have reached a lull in the conversation, it’s time to educate and cultivate some new advocates.

I learned about the most amazing school this year, you blurt out. It is located in one of the hardest hit areas of Washington D.C. (or NY, or Boston, or NOLA) and its kids are 75% more proficient than most other kids in the area.

“What?,” Uncle Frank, asks. “How is that possible?”Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 3.13.28 PM

Well it’s a successful charter school, and its leaders, educators and parents have the freedom and flexibility to operate – along with having to be accountable for performance – in real time.

“I thought Hillary Clinton said charter schools were bad,” your ‘enlightened’ Sister says.

Actually, Sis, she got her talking points wrong. Evidence shows charter school students in most of the nation’s most deprived areas actually score as much as 8 to 10 percentage points higher in reading and math.

“Now, now,” says Auntie Em. “I was a public school teacher for 40 years and we did a great job. Kids are just different these days.”

They are different, and they have more needs. But we also have more data today than you did, and standards against which students are judged. The reality is that we’re an increasingly global society, and with the U.S. ranking 27th in math and 17th in reading out of 34 countries, even our best-performing kids need better learning opportunities, public, private or charter.

“Well, that might be true, but what can we do about that?” says young cousin Tillie whose three kids are clearly showing signs of fatigue. “That’s not our job.”

Actually it is, you say, calmly. Whether you have 1, 5, 10 or 60 minutes a week to work on this, there is a role for you to play in helping to expand educational opportunity for all children. Educational innovation or reform as some still call it not only transcends most political divides but the reality is that over the past two decades the progress we’ve made in schools and for children is owing largely to the disruptive and challenging presence of charter schools and school choice laws.

The Center for Education Reform has been instrumental in creating and stimulating most of those laws and since most of us don’t have the time to get involved, we should write them a check to keep doing the heavy lifting of leading the charge and challenging the status quo!