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Newswire October 24th, 2017

Last Thursday, CER celebrated its 24th year of fighting for kids and families with a reception at our Washington office and a roundtable discussion of the past, present and future of education. The evening featured an all-star cast of some of the most notable edreform voices in the nation:

John Engler, the Chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board and the former Governor of Michigan

Kevin Chavous, an author, attorney and national edreform leader

Donald Hense, the founder and chair of Friendship Public Charter Schools

Michael Moe, the founder of GSV and GSV Asset Management

Chris Whittle, the founder and CEO of Whittle Studios

Jeanne Allen, the founder and CEO of CER

Each of these panelists offered insights, opinions, and perspectives on the state of education in America. We’re including a few excerpts below. If you want more, check out the full video on Facebook.

CER Reception 1


Jeanne Allen: Leadership Means Doing More Than Preaching to the Choir

We start with a national conversation about leadership — how can we compel, join and engage people throughout the country? Not just politicians, not just people on one side of the political spectrum, but by really going to the ground where people live and breathe. We want to bring together those who don’t normally come together.

CER Reception 2


John Engler: Everyone Needs Their Own Individual Work Plan

40% of students don’t go to college. And of the 60% who do, half don’t graduate. That leaves 70% of Americans who need workforce skills. But to our detriment, we’ve deemphasized skills-based and technical training.

That needs to change. We have to create alternative paths to career training. Like IEPs for every student, we should have Individual Work Plans to help every person prepare for their future choices.

CER Reception 3


Michael Moe: Want to Participate in the Future? Become a Lifelong Learner

More and more people aren’t participating in the future because they don’t have the knowledge and education. Technology and automation are increasingly eating away at jobs. Human capability is on a linear growth curve, but technology is on an exponential curve. Soon, technology is going to replace the technologists.

In the new world, we have to become lifelong learners. Technology can democratize access to learning. Educational entrepreneurs create weapons of mass instruction. Knowledge will increasingly be the currency that allows you to participate in the future.

CER Reception 4


Donald Hense: Friendship Charter Schools Graduate 95% of Students

When we opened the first Friendship school, the high-school graduation rate in D.C. was about 50%. In the 20 years since, the total graduation rate here has become about 60%. What made the difference? Charter schools. The Friendship schools that I operate have a graduation rate of over 95%.

CER Reception 5


Chris Whittle: What Should a Modern School Look Like?

I attended my first reform conference in 1968, and when you look at where we’ve come over 49 years, you’d have to say, We can do a lot better.

We’ve advanced the ball, and there’s now a reform industry that future leaders can build on. But we need to consider what we’re achieving with students over their early 15 years — from pre-school though 12th grade — and contemplate what a new modern school should look like. Let’s make sure we have the basics — reading and math skills — which will get children off to a much better start than they get now.

CER Reception 6


Kevin Chavous: How Do You Get Students to Succeed?

Part of the challenge we have in building a learning culture is to make it relevant to every single American school-aged child, as opposed to trying to fit a circle in a square. This idea of motivating students and inspiring them — getting a student to believe in himself or herself — is still the essence of the teaching and learning experience that leads to better outcomes for kids.

When great principals are asked, “Why do your students succeed?” there’s a common answer: Because we inspire them to learn.