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Newswire: May 30th, 2017

A PROMISE FULFILLED? CER leadership joined our friends at Thurgood Marshall Fund at the inaugural forum of the Center for Advancing Opportunity, whose mission is to develop sound policy to help the needs of fragile communities. These comments by Dr. Alonzo Smith, Professor of History, Montgomery College, sums up the discussion:

“Public Schools are the heart and soul of a democratic society, the job is to bring people together, and it hasn’t done that, it isn’t doing that. The public school system as a whole hasn’t delivered properly. Education, like the criminal justice system has this coercive thought mentality… we need to ask the questions of our schools that we ask about our prisons and courts.”

AN ASTOUNDING, TRAGIC, STAT: “Today 750,000 of incarcerated people have disabilities.” Jennifer Mizrahi, RespectAbility. RespectAbility is on the front lines in the battle to reduce stigmas, failed government policies, and other obstacles that deny people with disabilities the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

CHARTERING IS SYSTEM CHANGE. Increasingly the charter community and its various tentacles are talking about the importance of charters needing or being required to share their best practices to help change traditional school systems. The argument among an increasing number of advocates is that charters must become better district partners, and visa versa. But this new piece by the charter concept’s original developer, Ted Kolderie posits that chartering is system change. Their ability (under some laws) to innovate and the pressure they cause are necessary for any change to be realized.

CHANGE REQUIRES EQUITY. And thanks to Legacy Charter School in South Carolina there will be more of that for all the state’s charters! A challenge to the U.S. Department of Education waged by the Greenville County charter school over the state’s distribution of Title 1 funding resulted in the federal department directing the state to require the district to redirect Title I support to Legacy due to its prior growth and expansion. Can anyone say ‘precedent?’

HATS OFF TO THE GRADUATES! We’ve been watching with pride all the graduations of students who have excelled in their schools of choice despite the odds:
Arizona Connections Academy celebrated the graduation of the 100 students of the Class of 2017.
100% of Harlem Village Academy’s seniors have been accepted to college. That’s great news for the New York City charter school. For more information about Harlem Village Academy, visit http://harlemvillageacademies.org.

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.