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EDUCATION REFORM: Before it Was Cool

As The Center for Education Reform turns 20 and looks back at the history it has had a bird’s eye view of seeing and carrying, we invite you to join us for an intensive conversation about at the original stories of reform, their founders, the lessons of the past, the battle lines, the missteps, and the victories. And help plan the next generation of reform efforts.

Annenberg Redux: Can’t We Just Get Along?

Some think the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was years wasted on fixing the public school system. Yet meanwhile, today, in cities nationwide, including Chicago, there seems to be a resurgence of the “fix-the-system-without-changing-the-contracts” mentality. From Philly to Denver, folks are getting together happily singing from the same song sheet. And to what end?

  • Mike Antonucci, Owner, Education Intelligence Agency
  • David Hardy (Moderator), CEO, Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School
  • Ted Kolderie, Founding Partner, Education Evolving
  • Deborah McGriff, Partner, New Schools Venture Fund, Former Detroit Superintendent
  • Bob Maranto, Endowed Chair, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas


How Charter School Laws Really Got Started

Long before there was a DFER, a SFER, a STAND a CAN or New Schools, individuals launched a movement with strategy and resolve. Who were they, what did they do differently, and what can we learn from their overwhelming early success?

  • Yvonne Chan, Founder and Principal, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, CA
  • Linda Brown, Founder & CEO, Building Excellent Schools, MA
  • Tom Carroll, President, The Coalition for Opportunity in Education, NY
  • Jane Cunningham, Former Missouri State Senator
  • Dwight Evans, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Ted Rebarber (Moderator), CEO, Accountability Works, DC
  • Ember Reichgott Junge, Former MN State Senator & Author
  • Melanie Schulz, Executive Director, Joint Committee on the Public Schools, NJ


Will The Real Grassroots Please Stand Up?

It used to be that the “grassroots” were the organic groups of volunteers who coalesced to initiate change in their backyard, so to speak, and in the statehouse. They just wanted to make schools better for their kids. Some of them continued to do so in other positions. But in their heart, they are still the grassroots.

  • Janet Barresi, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Zakiya Courtney, Director of Community Relations at Catapult Learning, Milwaukee BAEO
  • Kara Kerwin (Moderator), Vice President of External Affairs, The Center For Education Reform
  • Bill Manning, Partner, Saul Ewing LLP, DE
  • Kevin Teasley, Founder & President, Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation
  • Leah Vukmir, Member of the Wisconsin Senate, Representing the 5th District


Before Chiefs For Change There Was The Education Leaders Council

In 1995, a group of reform-minded state education chiefs got together to form a network of education leaders to develop and advance substantive education reforms that were parent-driven, child-oriented, educator-supportive, community-based and decentralized. Many don’t realize who the first leaders of state-based reform were, and why they remain pivotal to what started a generation ago.

    • Jeanne Allen (Moderator), President, The Center For Education Reform
    • Gene Hickok, Former Pennsylvania Commissioner of Education, Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
    • Lisa Keegan, Former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction


Changing The Complexion Of The Room

Fifteen years ago, reformers were working merrily along to change how schools work, and despite many advocates of color working for reform at the state and local level, the board rooms were almost all white. Howard Fuller cautioned us in 1998 that to understand the impact of bad schools on the poor and children of color, they must be represented in state halls, in board rooms, on decision trees, and in the forefront of reform. Learn how Fuller and others have changed the complexion of the room, and by so doing, made the cause of equity and choice for kids real.

      • Kevin Chavous (Moderator), Founder, The Chavous Group
      • T. Willard Fair, CEO, The Urban League of Greater Miami
      • Howard Fuller, Institute for the Transformation of Learning
      • Donald Hense, Founder and CEO, Friendship Public Charter Schools, DC