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Newswire: January 19, 2016

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Vol. 18, No. 3

CALL FOR CANDIDATES. We expect our leaders to speak a certain way about what it takes to improve schools. And that’s exactly why we offered guiding principals for presidential candidates, as they debated shortly after President Obama’s final State of the Union speech, centered around the philosophies of those who work on the ground daily to advance innovation, freedom and flexibility in education. While the debates focused on jobs and the economy and foreign policy, candidates could have talked about how all of this ties back to education and creating an innovative and accountable environment so all children have access to excellent schools.

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MISSED OPPORTUNITY. Speaking of what could have been discussed by our nation’s future leaders, President Obama’s first visit to Omaha, Nebraska was the perfect opportunity to address an education system that’s failing too many children, particularly children of color. Read why from Educate Nebraska’s Executive Director here.

EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY. Speaking of candidates, as we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of freedom and equality yesterday, former Florida Governor and presidential contender Jeb Bush, rolled out his education policy plans. “Every individual in this country has the right to rise,” he said. “Yet today, the American Dream — the idea that anything is possible through hard work — is threatened by an education system failing to prepare the next generation of children for success.” For more, go here. CER will be watching for other candidates to release major education platforms centered on parent power and opportunity — or at least we can hope!

STATE OF THE STATES. With governors in the midst of giving their State of the State addresses, how do they stack up on education reform now compared to what they said when they ran? Educationfifty.com is your tool to help hold leaders accountable on their promises.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 2.01.25 PM#RALLYINTALLY. Over 10,000 parents, children, teachers and reform advocates gathered in Tallahassee, FL this morning in support of their state’s tax credit scholarship program, currently helping nearly 80,000 students access an education that better meets their needs but is in the midst of a lawsuit brought on by the status quo. Martin Luther King, III was among those rallying to #DropTheSuit, telling Politico that he believes his father would have supported school choice programs because they lift up and create opportunities for children.

JUDGE JUDY = SUPREME COURT? Nearly 10 percent of recent U.S. college graduates think the famous TV judge is actually a U.S. Supreme Court justice,  according to the report, “A Crisis in Civic Education.”  According to the Nation’s Report Card, not even one third of our nation’s 8th graders are proficient in history and civics, subjects that are vital to our nation’s democracy. If we aren’t careful, we may find ourselves unequipped to govern ourselves let alone provide governance to others we thought in greater need. Which is another reason why we must continue to push for policies that offer flexibility, freedom and innovation in education, and leaders that aren’t afraid to stand up to the status quo.

SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK is happening January 24-30! This 6th annual celebration brings attention to the critical importance of giving parents the opportunity to improve the lives of their children!  Make sure you add your voice to the largest ever #SchoolChoice conversation happening on social media!