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Newswire: April 12, 2016

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PUTTING THE EDTECH IN EDREFORM, the team of the nation’s premier parent power organization, CER, will be joining ASU+GSV Summit attendees April 18-20. The standout conference with its unique focus on technology, innovation, and education will be ground zero for major advances in the effort to improve economic outcomes for all Americans, particularly our youth. We’ll be taking a straw poll on innovation for the Presidential election, conducting presentations, and reporting to our followers via email and social media updates, as well as live-streaming all of our sessions! Look for an update from us early next week!

dont-break-lawL.A. CHARTER BUCKS. The Los Angeles Unified School District must pay Ivy Academia Entrepreneurial Charter School $7.1 million dollars for breaking the law. California’s B-rated charter school law says districts must provide equivalent facilities to charter schools, however districts aren’t fond of following the requirement, making it unfairly tougher for charter schools to do their job. In the case of Ivy, the arbitrator noted that “the district’s failure to comply with the law harmed children attending the charter during those years because it forced the school to use some money intended for educational programs to lease a building.”

MILE HIGH ACHIEVEMENT. In Denver, CO, school choice is lifting student achievement. In a ten-year time frame, students scoring at or above grade level in reading, math, and writing increased 15 percentage points. During that span of time, Denver added about 38 more charter schools, bringing the total to 39 percent of Mile High City students enrolled in either a charter school or an innovation school, which is a district-run school granted slightly more autonomy than a traditional public school. When districts employ a portfolio strategy, giving parents multiple excellent education options, it creates a ripple effect, putting pressure on other schools to do more and do it better.

MDcharterInfographicMARYLAND CHARTERS. Evidence that Maryland’s F-rated charter school law needs fixing abounds. Frederick Charter Classical Academy has been in a legal battle  trying to obtain transportation funding it feels it’s owed, since Maryland law requires charter students be funded in a “commensurate” manner and at the same level as traditional public schools. Meanwhile, there are arguments in Frederick to make teacher salaries more competitive. But what’s missing from this conversation is the realization that if Maryland’s charter law were improved to allow schools to take hold of their own operations and staffing, charter schools could be part of the solution and allow teachers more access to funds, not less.

PHANTOM CAP LIFT. Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation masquerading as a solution to lifting the cap on public charter schools in Massachusetts. The reality is this legislation actually boils down to a moratorium on new charters and gives districts greater ability to veto their creation. As this bill masquerading as pro-charter school heads to the House for debate, it’s time to put the pressure on policymakers to put kids first. Learn more about the #LiftTheCap effort, an advocacy effort that is a national model, here.

ED TECH INNOVATION OF THE WEEK. Learn online the smarter way with Smartly, an interactive web and mobile app for the everyday learner from Pedago offering free online business courses and then helping you match with top employers worldwide. And, it’s completely free. Check it out here.

(Have an ed tech innovation that advances student, educator or parent power? Send it to Michelle@edreform.com)