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Newswire – August 21, 2018

BATON ROUGE IS HOT. Yep, you read that right.  Dozens of schools, including the city’s very first, Children’s Charter School, took kids back to school this year, and the opportunities in this community that was once close to the bottom of all Louisiana are not promising and innovative. Thanks to the variety of local and national providers, students have lots of variety. There’s GEO Prep Academy Greater Baton Rouge, INSPIRE, an NHA School which is a community favorite; Democracy Prep and BASIS is the new kid on the block with a 40,000 square foot state of the art building that promises rigor and world-class programming. These schools are part of the new Innovation Zone created in Baton Rouge. It’s a hot city in lots of ways, thanks in large part to the advent of the charter idea. Let’s hope they continue to grow and thrive (and that those pesky regulators give them a chance to succeed!)


SURVEY SAYS!  Another poll, another body of evidence that parents and educators support more opportunities to tailor schools to the needs of kids they support or serve. This time around it’s EdNext, whose latest poll shows increased support for educational choice but is it anything new?  Must we continue to prove the obvious – that when parents and kids have more relevant, rigorous and diverse opportunities they will pick a school other than that to which they are assigned? Just look at Baton Rouge above, or Washington, DC, NYC, or any town large or small where innovation has been introduced.   In a week the annual Phi Delta Kappa poll will be out again, and they will have something else to say. Then the press and the pundits will scurry to make pronouncements about what it all means.  So, bring on the surveys and polls but remember what really matters is what’s happening back to school all over the US. If it works, let’s duplicate it. If it doesn’t, let’s move on. That’s what parents think and do when given a chance.

ANOTHER INTERESTING TIDBIT.  Respondents prefer the DeVos era Ed Department over Obama’s. To read about this and more go to EdNext.

GLOBAL INNOVATION.  A great conversation about global ed tech is never far away. CER leadership had the pleasure of being in the company of VIPKID at their Dallas regional conference at the George W. Bush Presidential Library. VIP Kid seeks to link the world through education by providing an international learning experience. They do so by giving US teachers an opportunity to help educate students in China by teaching them English…all online! Needless to say, this amazing opportunity for global cooperation shows what’s possible with the parameters of educational options are endless. Former First Lady of the United States Mrs. Laura Bush was there to give her support to this global initiative. “Education gives us power,” she reminded us.

A REAL 45 RECORD.  Congratulations to the American Legislative Exchange Council or as we know them – ALEC, celebrating 45 years in ensuring that policymakers have cutting edge information across all issues, including education.  As we traveled to New Orleans to salute this organization, their impact on society was evident.  Not only did Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the Janus v. AFSCME  case join them to discuss his case, but over the years, ALEC has been able to boast that their members who started as legislators often became governors and members of Congress. People like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Oklahoma’s Mary Fallon and Senator Tim Scott (South Carolina) to name just three, and all who’ve been staunch advocates for education reform, no matter what the odds or liabilities might be. Kudos to ALEC for leading the way!

VOTE FOR US! SXSW – We’re going to SXSW EDU in March 2019 and need your help to make sure our panel is featured! To participate in the voting process, visit panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote and login or create an account. For more information about the voting process visit the SXSW PanelPicker page. The final deadline for getting in your votes is August 30 at 11:59pm PT. We appreciate your support!


NEW HOPE FOR PUERTO RICO FAMILIES. Read how “there is no end to what can be done if people are willing to look beyond their petty differences.” Jeanne Allen’s latest in the Washington Examiner, ‘Educational opportunity comes to Puerto Rico’ tells why new opportunities in Puerto Rico are a good thing – and just a start.

ARE YOU ON THE ROAD TO INNOVATION? Route 66 may not end in Miami, but we are following Innovation’s proverbial big super highway to Miami, FL on October 26th to carve a new pathway for education transformation, and a road to the future for all. Just 66 days are left – book your hotel and buy your ticket today! More information at edreform.com.