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Newswire October 11th, 2017

BACKPACK FULL OF CONTROVERSY.  Or hypocrisy, as the case may be. In an interview with a group shooting a documentary that was allegedly taking a look at the progress of education reform, our CEO Jeanne Allen explained the value of having money follow kids, which can create a path to equity for all children and ensure that schools have to demonstrate success in order to attract families. Imagine, she said to the filmmakers, that all of “Our children have a backpack full of cash and schools should vie for the privilege of having that backpack turned over to them.” As she explains in the Huffington Post, they deliberately took the phrase out of context and it’s now the title of the film, which is narrated by Matt Damon, no less. It’s been covered by the Hollywood ReporterUSA Today, and others. But there’s more to the story…

#EDUCATEMATTDAMON.  Never content to let the great work of millions of people over the past 25 years be tarnished, CER has launched a campaign to help educate the Hollywood star, who has his own share of controversy these days in the press. On social media and the web, and across the media we are offering real lessons that might help Matt Damon realize that he’s on the wrong side of the issue, and has been duped by people who paid for the movie (which includes the American Federation of Teachers, among, no doubt, others like it.)

Help us Educate Matt – Send your stories here and we’ll publish them on our website and send them to him – yes to him! – to help him learn that if he joins rather than fights us, he’ll be not only among the ranks of people like John Legend, Jalen Rose, PitBull, Andre Agassi and more but the millions of parents who have found new opportunities for their kids and the systems and schools that have gotten better in numerous cities in response.

WHITHER PARENT POWER?  It’s out and the news is not good for most parents. CER’s 2017 Parent Power! Index, assessing parental influence in K-12 education, finds the nation at a paltry 63% average for Parent Power!, and most states have barely passing grades.  As per usual, Florida, Indiana, and Arizona lead the pack while North Dakota, Nebraska, and Alaska bring up the rear. Lots in between have little to show for efforts to give parents power, and we know that parent engagement is the key to most educational milestones in our children’s lives. So come on, let’s step it up. Learn more here and find out how.

A BIG WIN IN THE BIG APPLE.  A major breakthrough in teacher education and charter schools happened today when “the SUNY Board of Trustees Charter Schools Committee approved a hotly contested proposal allowing some charters to create their own, in-house teacher certification programs.”  The unions are balking, including Randi Weingarten who has tweeted her opposition and knows that this path-breaking idea sets a precedent for change that will accrue to the greater good in NYC and elsewhere.

UNCF FELLOWS.  Please consider joining us in hosting one of the fabulous Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellows. The program places juniors from historically black colleges and universities, innovative partners in K-12 education. We’ve had four and our 2017 fellows had the opportunity to deepen their exposure to education reform by working in a variety of functional capacities including policy research, media relations, and fundraising. Visit our website to learn more!