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CER Goals, Programs, Activities & Successes

Increase & Expand New Opportunities for Students

CER is committed to increasing educational opportunities for learners at all levels, K-career. CER is actively engaged in developing and garnering support for policies to establish a federal tax credit for businesses and individuals to create scholarships for education, workforce training and apprenticeship programs for children and adults.

Our goals include creating policies that expand educational freedom for families, providing citizens the opportunity to create and implement new school models, and ensure that students are measured based on their competency, not passing multiple choice tests.

CER’s Higher Ed and Workforce efforts reimagine how colleges, technical institutes and workforce organizations can be revolutionized to create a new pathway for students as early as middle school and beyond. Higher education or career training opportunities should be back-mapped to the early years, where competency-based tools would be used to ensure that a 21st century sophisticated version of vocational training would align with expectations for two-year, four year or technical training and thus be achievable career paths.

Part of this effort includes creating a new Rural Education ecosystem that combines new education opportunities with a quest to improve the economic landscape of rural America, including building a network of educational institutions and programs aligned across all levels which provide relevant and contextual personalized learning programs, that will ultimately deliver a well-educated, highly skilled workforce.

Grow Innovation in Education

School leaders and developers of great innovations who can help transform teaching and learning so that students, educators and schools can access 21st century tools and new approaches to transform learning. A key differentiator for CER is its ability to straddle both the edreform and the ed innovation sectors. We have been partners and leaders in the ed tech space and have developed strong relationships with companies and leaders all over the world that can inform policymakers for innovation, who are developing tools and products that improve students’ skills, access better education and redesign how we deliver education.

As advocates for student-centered, personalized learning programs for all students, we continue as strong advocates for the growth of innovative approaches in education.

We are working to create a new coalition of forces who embrace educational freedom, expanded innovation in all schools, new opportunities that cross from K-12 into higher education and career, and to fuse the connection between higher learning and career success.

And we are growing new and expanding existing efforts at the grassroots level to find and incubate entrepreneurs, expand virtual parent power tools and new technologies to allow us to reach more parents and advocates farther and faster.

Transform the Education Process; Build Support for Personalized, Student-Centered Learning

Our goal for all schools should be ensuring their freedom to pursue exceptional educational offerings for learners at all levels. The content and approach are critical to ensuring that students have programs that help train their habits and minds to achieve mastery over the subjects that they need to be competent in life.

To better ensure that the opportunities we seek will provide student-centered, personalized learning programs for all students, we continue as strong advocates for the growth of innovative approaches in education.  Specifically, we are working to build federal awareness and support for personalized learning, to ensure adoption of federal policies that give students opportunities to accelerate their education, and local communities the greatest flexibility to use federal funds to that end.

Educating Parents, Policymakers & the Media

Since our inception, CER has uniquely been the leading voice for parents and others who must fight continually against the misleading, inaccurate, false, and wrong-headed reporting and assumptions about the quality of education in middle America—and about reform initiatives. The Center quickly and consistently draws the attention of the media (old and new) to the plight of poorly educated children—and adults—in urban, suburban, and rural communities highlighting the truth about the state of education and learning. CER is just as aggressive in promoting the good work of all reformers—often behind the scenes without recognition.

CER has consistently improved and expanded the media coverage of education opportunity and innovation. We’ve developed substantial relationships with and credibility among even the biggest media skeptics. To do that, we devote almost half of our resources to communications and outreach efforts that often result in extensive coverage of newly generated ideas and policies, accomplishing well over 100 million impressions in the media last year.

This includes millions of hits in various outlets, including:

  • The Washington Post
  • The New York Times
  • Huffington Post
  • USA Today
  • The Atlantic
  • Forbes
  • Fox News
  • Associated Press

Each of these appearances—including many relating to positions and actions taken by everyone from Governors, the President and his cabinet and the grassroots—allow us to bring our message of education transformation to large and diverse audiences around the country. Our work has resulted in hundreds of journal articles, editorials and influential comments across hundreds of news outlets annually.

Reduce Red Tape & Regulations

At all levels government continues to hamper the progress of entrepreneurs and advances that will ensure students are able to find the education that best meets their needs. CER adheres to the principle of seeking a smaller, less intrusive, less constraining role for the federal government in education, working to help refocus its efforts and redefine its function; changing the rules regarding federal spending, and requirements that deny states the autonomy and flexibility they need to provide options and opportunities for learners.

How do we do this work?

Research & Data Support

CER prides itself on its nimble approach to disseminating information. We quickly meet critical information requests with the right data that answer the question (as opposed to issuing massive data dumps that answer too much, or nothing at all). This allows us to support and amplify state and local policy efforts. To that end, we support our partners 24/7 whenever they call and proactively recommend data, research, and opposition talking points for use their communications tool chest. We believe that the more information citizens have on education and the various solutions that work, the more likely they are support. them We’re honored to be able to contribute to better informed public and fully mobilize our EdLection Center, generating op-eds, candidate viewpoints, and vital information on policy positions that which thousands rely on to learn about, and weigh, the issues. Our Voters Guide has provided information about how each governor might act on our broader opportunity agenda (school choice, charter schools, and teacher quality), and evaluated U.S. Senators on their stands and actions. Furthermore, our storehouse of 25 years of history, books, publications, and data are used to bolster our cause—as many of these facts, arguments, and stories have never been seen or heard by the press, the public, or policymakers. In just the last few years, CER has been contacted by more than 50 leading university researchers and analysts from such institutions as American University, Boston College, Columbia University, Harvard University, and Stanford University, as well as organizations as varied as the Boston Consulting Group, the Bi-Partisan Policy Center, and Parents Empowered. Our major policy and agenda-setting publications, including OUR TRANSFORMATION SERIES, “Charting a Course: The Case for Freedom, Flexibility & Opportunity Through Charter Schools, and “The First 100 Days: The Path to Going Bold on Education Innovation and Opportunity.” An agenda for action by the federal government, addressed to federal policymakers as well as the new administration, “100 Days” cites four areas for federal focus: spending, teaching, higher education, and educational choice.

National Leadership & Congressional Support

As a thought leader, CER’s leadership represents some of the most successful innovators in the nation—( the board’s combined 135 years of success spans across all sectors of education, business and philanthropy. CER has the support of some of the nation’s highest-ranking congressional leaders, influencers and national organizations who are ready to engage, provide support, and help advance issues that they trust us to bring to their attention. This includes the leadership of the House and Senate finance and education committees, key subcommittees, and the Speaker of the House. We have hundreds of national partners who we work with to accomplish our goals, including:

  • The Jack Kemp Foundation
  • American Legislative Exchange Council
  • Strada Education Network
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • State Policy Network • Opportunity Lives
  • Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation
  • Americans for Prosperity
  • GSVlabs
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • American Federation for Children
  • National Charter School Institute
  • Center for Advancing Opportunity
  • Building Hope

& many more…

Advocacy & Grassroots Development

CER has developed time-tested strategies and technology platforms that are highly effective in attracting and galvanizing supporters at the grassroots level. We not only lend these assets to further local efforts, but also enroll CER followers in those areas. In policy battles we consistently focus on connecting lawmakers with new voices and supporters to ensure they become advocates for change, and the attention we give to state policymakers causes them to respond. For example, when Kentucky began developing its educational choice proposals, the legislative leadership began to waver. We spurred calls from the grassroots and the media asking them about their plans, invited them to visit charter schools in other states, and provided evidence to back up the fact that that without a strong law they’d never have charter schools. We also had business leaders contact them about the issue—people they respect and admire but had never heard from on these issues. Eventually many came to support our point of view. In these and many other activities, CER’s comparative advantage is clear—we are consistent with our principles and relentless in demanding that policies lacking those principles are policies not worth having. We also uniquely focus on transforming the public mindset from thinking about education in silos—pre-K, K-12, Higher Education—and instead have begun to successfully convince lawmakers, the media and influencers that educational change requires us to focus on learners at all levels, and that the conventional definitions of schools no longer fit many students and consequently should not be funded in the same ways.