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Newswire: May 16, 2017

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ASU + GSV TAKEAWAYS  The 8th annual “Davos of the Desert,” (aka, the ASU + GSV Summit) led by Ed revolutionaries Michael Moe (CER’s Vice Chair) and Deborah Quazzo was every bit as dynamic as past years. From insights into brain science and how games play a role in improving its functioning, to presentations by the queen of personalized learning Diane Tavenner of Summit Public Schools and tennis legend and education philanthropist Andre Agassi, thousands gathered opened up their minds and committed to expanding the breadth and depth of what we mean by “education.” CER also hosted several key discussions with school leaders, policymakers and business leaders. Review the conversations and let us know what you think.


AND FOR THE BINGE WATCHERS  Our CEO Jeanne Allen joined SecEd Betsy DeVos’ in a wide ranging discussion of the issues. Most reported was her comment that rather than reauthorize Higher Ed we should start over. Read DeVos’ full remarks here.


MISSING THE MARK  Public conversation about Edreform is always helpful. But while detailed coverage by the AP’s Geoff Mulvihill about the landscape of the educational choice field was interesting, he seemed to get a distorted picture from those he interviewed. The story, “School Choice-Billionaires At Odds,”which appeared on AP’s web site, tells a story of a schism that opponents of full educational choice seem to think exists. Choice advocates “aren’t serious about delivering high-quality education,” Nick Hanauer, a Seattle investor is quoted as saying. “They’re simply interested in making it cheaper for people who already send their kids to private school to continue to do this.” And while it’s true that a small cadre of organizations and advocates disagree about the best way to improve schools for all kids, the real people affected – the millions of parents, educators and students in various non-traditional schools of choice – are thankfully oblivious to elite arguments of who and what kind of choice is best. They – the people who CER represents – just want the opportunity to send their child to a school that best meets their needs, no matter what it is called. Advocates who espouse the great schism of 2017 are missing the mark…and the opportunity to provide real content, insight and understanding to the discussion.

LA VOTES  Los Angeles head to the polls today vote in two incredibly critical school board elections for the future of LA’s charter schools. The campaign has been immensely contentious with individuals on both sides donating many millions of dollars to their causes. The fight sprang up after the current iteration of the LA School board, buoyed by large union spending, tried to shackle charter schools and limit their growth. Regardless of the election result, one thing is clear: unions have too much lobbying and negotiating power when it comes to issues of education often fighting policies that help kids but hurt the status quo such as charter schools. (Part of that power comes from union’s “right” to collect dues from all teachers regardless of their union membership or if they agree with how those dues should be spent. Fortunately, a group of dedicated teachers have filed suit — Yohn v. California Teachers Association — which seeks to end this practice.)

BATTER UP, PONY UP  Some very innovative and committed people are putting together The World Series of Entrepreneurship – “an open competition series aimed at giving high school students an extracurricular outlet to develop their ideas, challenge their comfort zones, and learn along a fun, empowering journey.” It’s a great idea with great potential. Check out the organizers’ Indiegogo crowd-funding page and help get them to their $50,000 goal (they’re already 25% of the way there).