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Newswire – July 7, 2020

Bye Bye Blaine, Supporting Black lives, Building The USA Digital Highway, Winning Cash, Sounding Off For CER.

BLAINE BIGOTRY NO MORE. We confess to still feeling the glow from last week’s Supreme Court decision ruling Montana’s “Blaine Amendment” illegal. Lots of work remains however, as the action now shifts to the states. You can read Jeanne Allen’s insight in The Bigotry of Blaine No More and what the decision means for parental choice in education. We will keep you up to date on the action as it unfolds in state capitols, and you can check out the history and latest developments on CER’s Blaine page on our website.

SUPPORTING BLACK LIVES MEANS SUPPORTING SCHOOL CHOICE. That is the headline of a powerfully written column by Nyarok Tot and Walter Blanks, Jr. , two leaders of The American Federation for Children Future Leaders Fellowship program. They would know – they are both beneficiaries of education opportunity, and both doing the hard work of working to expand it, like a lot of smart young people, rather than just hanging around aimlessly following mobs trying to decapitate statues. Yes, we did just go there.

BUILD AMERICA’S DIGITAL HIGHWAY. The smart way to improve educational access for all is cogently laid out by the visionary Michael M. Crow, President of Arizona State University and journalist Jeff Selingo. How? Replicate the federal program that built the interstate highway program to connect roads in every state with a new digital education interstate system that does the same for education. 

SOMEONE IS GOING TO WIN $2,500 AND POSSIBLY $20,000. It might as well be a student you know! Answer this question, “How has your school delivered on the promise of equal access and educational excellence, particularly during these challenging times?” with a brief video and your students & school will be entered in our contest. Easy to follow instructions can be found here. 

CER ACTION SERIES CONTINUES today with #Espinoza: Implications and What’s Next. Jeanne is joined by the leading US Supreme Court attorney of our day, Paul Clement and his partner George Hicks, who will parse through what the US Supreme Court decision means for education today. REGISTER NOW

BINGE WATCH the Action Series anytime, including the most recent broadcast discussing what charters are doing to advance college and career success.

ARIZONA GOVERNOR DOUG DUCEY CARES. Okay, we’re being a little “punny.” The $2 trillion “CARES” act provides $30.7 billion for education, including grants to states. We’re happy to relay that the good folks at ExcelinEd report that Arizona’s Governor Ducey is using the state’s CARES Act funds to fuel innovative solutions, provide extra support in high-need schools and improve distance learning options. Full details are here.

As we enter the “dog days of summer”, we hope you find some days to relax, refresh and rejuvenate body and spirit. Here’s some mellow summer jazz to help with those tasks. And as always – please let us know how we can help or if you have questions. 

 


Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!

Newswire – June 23, 2020

THE HOT SUMMER IS HERE – so is cold, hard cash for your students. The Espinoza – “Blaine” clock continues to tick on the SCOTUS decision, another special graduation story and exciting happenings in Vermont.

$45,000 “WITH JUSTICE FOR ALL” SCHOLARSHIP. The Center for Education Reform (CER), in partnership with the Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools, the Children’s Scholarship Fund, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, this week launched the #MyEducationVideo contest: “With Justice for All,” a national YouTube contest for students. We’re asking students (13 and older ) whether their school has delivered on the promise of equal access and educational excellence, particularly during these challenging times. Tell us how well your school did — or didn’t do — in providing you a great education.  Videos must be shorter than three minutes, hashtagged with #MyEducationVideo, and submitted to MyEducationVideo.com by 11:59 PM EDT on July 24, 2020.

INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP SCHOOL OF TEXAS is planning a full graduation ceremony in mid-July, but in the meantime decided to do a bit of early celebrating. A parade of cars departed International Leadership Texas Arlington-Grand Prairie High School to congratulate its valedictorian and salutatorian in person on their academic achievement. The parade, led by the school’s principal, Quentyn Seamster, worked its way through town to both students’ homes to surprise them and inform them of the distinction.

MISSED ANY OF OUR ACTION SERIES on how COVID is reshaping education and how we make sure education at all levels moves forward not back?  Read The Future of Schools, CER’s report setting a new course for education. Listen to Reality Check with Jeanne Allen. Or watch any of our 10 events with leaders on the frontline of helping schools navigate the COVID landscape.

A NEW COLLEGE is on the horizon for some fortunate students thanks to an exciting new venture from Seth Andrews, the visionary Founder and President of Democracy Builders. Degrees of Freedom is an early college, late high school program that offers a fully-funded, flexible and career targeted degree to students in grades 11 – 14 who are low income and the first in their families to attend college. After two years of purposeful course work and compensated internships students will have the skills and knowledge to begin their careers or pursue further education.  And they will be surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, as “Degrees” is buying Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont. Learn more from Seth’s interview this week.

COUNTDOWN TO SUPREME COURT DECISION. Even a casual reader of these Newswires will be familiar with the Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue case, dealing with the odious, bigoted “Blaine Amendments” still existing in 37 state constitutions. The Supreme Court has only until the end of June to publish its decisions – 7 more days. We will provide full coverage, analysis and “where do we go from here” once the decision is published.

A WELL DESERVED HUZZAH for CER favorite, parent power fighter and civil rights hero Dr. Howard Fuller (@HowardLFuller) with the announcement that he is retiring after decades at Marquette University, where he served as distinguished professor of education and founder and director of its Institute for the Transformation of Learning. He has resigned from all boards on which he served, other than that of the charter school he founded, Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy. Dr. Fuller is a legend and his accomplishments are legion. While lightening the load a bit he is staying involved, which is great news for all interested in excellence and innovation in education. Will have much more to offer in the coming days but until then, a huge THANK YOU from all the people whose lives you’ve empowered and enriched by your actions and leadership, among those, ours.

PROTECTING BAD APPLES at the expense of a vast majority of good employees has been in the news of late – focused on law enforcement.  Police unions don’t have a monopoly on shielding very bad characters from discipline, as cogently explained in Defund the police?  How about defunding the teachers unions?  Worth your time reading it.

Billie Holiday famously sang “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” Sadly this summertime may be bereft of a lot of easy living, but our wish for you is an overabundance of such living, and a chance to recharge your batteries at least a bit.  In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can be of help to you and your work.

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!

Newswire – June 16, 2020

FLAGS, GRADS AND DADS

 

A MOMENTOUS WEEK kicked off on Sunday with the 135th celebration of “Flag Day,” observed on June 14th.  That was the date in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the flag. We can’t think of a better time to remind ourselves of the last line of the Pledge of Allegiance – “With liberty and justice for all”. That is our fervent hope — and an absolute necessity. We also had creative graduations and a wish that at least one “father” does not have a happy day.

INNOVATIVE CHARTER GRADUATIONS CONTINUE. Charters around the country are showing that innovation isn’t just for learning, but also for celebrating that learning with unique graduations made necessary by COVID19 regulations. Here’s a sampling:

A THREE DAY OUTSIDE, “ONE AT A TIME” GRADUATION was held by STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, TN.  Ninety-eight graduateswalked across the outdoor stage to receive their diplomas with families proudly watching from a safe distance. These ninety-eight enrolled in fifth grade as underachievers in math and language. All graduates are headed to college with over $5.5 million in scholarships. The achievements and ceremony generated a well deserved very upbeat local television news report.

TELESIS PREPARATORY ACADEMY was the only school in Lake Havasu, AZ that live streamed  graduation ceremonies, socially distanced, for their PK-12 charter school. They had a Keynote  speaker and a Valedictorian who delivered her address, and many smiling and some crying moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, friends and more relatives watching from home at the very moment and day that their graduation date would have been held . . . right on schedule.

HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY in Lorain Ohio had a “Family in Person” graduation ceremony, where families are called into the auditorium one-by-one, the student walks across the stage, receives a diploma and walks out of the auditorium to an area where all celebrate — with proper distancing.  Horizon produced a superb video of the event for students and families to keep for many years to come.

BURNS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY charter in Oak Hill, FL had a “drive thru” graduation on campus.  Each student had a car decorated with their name, the cars were driven to the front of the school where they stopped and received diplomas and awards,take pictures and see their teachers and staff members. Many thought this was more fun than a “normal” graduation.

SEVEN THOUSAND CHARTER SCHOOLS – THREE MILLION STUDENTS. How did the movement begin?  How did we get to where we are? Answers to these and more can be found in Jeanne Allen’s “An Unfinished Journey”. Part memoir, part history of charters from one who was “present at the creation,” part keen observations on education and politics, it’s all great reading.  Be prepared to laugh — and cry — on this fascinating journey.

UNHAPPY FATHERS’ DAY FOR THE FATHER OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY IN EDUCATION? The US Supreme Court is about to decide a case that could change the way students attend school forever.  Espinoza v. Montana, will either validate or deny parents rights to direct their kids education. At the heart of Espinoza are the remnants of 19th Century bigotry under the guise of the “Blaine Amendments.” Named after notorious bigot James G. Blaine, the laws strictly prohibit government from supporting attendance at private school and exist in 37 state constitutions. The case could be decided any day.

It’s critical that people like yourself involved in education policy/legislation be informed, and prepared to take action when this momentous decision is issued. A court win would be a memorable Father’s Day gift to the fathers and grandfathers who support parental choice in education.

We close with a salute to all who labor in the charter school vineyards, as quality education for all is one sure road to equality for all. A colleague recently wrote what I think are profound words: “It is not just the past sins of our nation, but the current policies and actions of our leaders that place a knee on the neck of many students. Unequal and wholly inadequate educational funding for Black and Brown students is a knee on their necks. Government policies that mandate students attend a horrible school is a knee on their necks. An education system that is driven by politics and power and not what is best for scholars is a knee on their necks.”  Amen and amen.


Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!

Special Newswire – June 8, 2020

A Special – and perhaps most important to date –  Newswire

EDUCATION AS A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE

Dear Friends –

We, too, are saddened and shocked by the murders, the racism, the disrespect, the destruction. As advocates for education opportunity and excellence, we’ve always believed that education — if not “the” — is at least “a” great equalizer.  

We’ve watched and read the many statements that continue to pour out to join with those who hurt, and to take a stand. We’ve contemplated what to do, what to say and didn’t want to just write something to say we did it, especially when so many other voices are more important, and more in need of being heard.

For 26 years CER has pushed the cause of all parents and children who desperately need a chance at a great future to the front of the line — prodding, cajoling, yelling and demanding equal access to opportunities for all that are normally reserved for the affluent.  Life-saving education opportunities help students defy the odds, graduate, go to college, land amazing jobs, and live more fulfilling lives.

As CER Director David Hardy, founder of Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia often argues that without such opportunities in his native Philadelphia, most African-American boys are lucky to make it out of high school.

Donald Hense, another CER Director, founded the Friendship Public Charter School network precisely to equalize opportunity and elevate the change of low income students of color and he succeeded.  We learn regularly from Donald, David, Kevin Chavous and hundreds of our friends and mentors who work every day to eradicate racism.  

But this alone has not made our society more inclusive nor made the actions towards minorities live up to the ideals put forth in our founding documents. Our efforts to build a just society must indeed match our efforts to build a country of wealth. Education is not all that is required to ensure every person is treated with dignity. 

As Jessie Woolley-Wilson of Dreambox Learning wrote, “I remain a strong believer that access to a great education for all is a civil right and an essential ingredient to cultivating learning and life success for everyone. Nevertheless, recent events demonstrate that education can only go so far in a society where POC are dehumanized, marginalized and victimized.”

Jessie and thousands like her have shared inspiring thoughts in recent days to spur action. Rather than add to the chorus, we’d prefer to share just a few of those that say it better than we could, and exemplify how we at CER believe we are best able to contribute to the cause of justice.

Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State, professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business:
“Perhaps this is like the moment in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. Or perhaps this is like that fateful Sunday in September 1963, quite personal to me, when a bomb in a Birmingham church killed four girls from my neighborhood and shook our nation to its core. Some six decades later, perhaps all of us — regardless of skin color — are, to quote Mississippi sharecropper and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

“Our country has often moved forward and been made better through peaceful protests. But our cities must stop burning. Innocent people, including many minority and immigrant business owners, are watching their livelihoods go up in smoke. There is no excuse for looting and criminality, and offenders must be stopped. But a call for calm is not enough, either. This time, we must remain vigilant and maintain our determination to make a difference….So I ask my fellow Americans: What will each of you do? My personal passion is educational opportunity, because it is a partial shield against prejudice. It is not a perfect shield, I know, but it gives people a fighting chance. In my conversations, I want to discuss why the learning gap for black kids is so stubborn and what can be done about it. What is your question about the impact of race on the lives of Americans? And what will you do to find answers?”

Michael Horn, co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation and senior strategist at Guild Education
“As a white person, I’ve been moved to sadness and anger in the days since Floyd’s murder… It’s served as a reminder of one of the reasons I work in education…Why my personal mission is to transform learning so that all individuals—regardless of their background and identity and unfettered by the biases of others—can build their passions and fulfill their human potential. So that all individuals can discover how they can best contribute positively to that world—and do just that. So that we can create the opportunity for all individuals to be inspired by others and make progress. And why I believe that we must tailor learning for each and every child so that we embrace and view each as an individual human being full of promise, not a widget in a factory-model education system….” 

Alvaro DiVicente, Headmaster, The Heights School, Potomac, MD
“During the course of the past 48 hours I have written and erased multiple letters. Ultimately, this is not the time for explanations about cultural realities, philosophical principles, or even exhortations to healing divisions. Instead, this is a time when we, as a family of families, are called to grieve, empathize, support, love, and protect.

“To grieve, because a man died unnecessarily in a brutal manner.  We must not forget to pray for the repose of the soul of George Floyd, and for the consolation of his family and friends.

“To empathize, because this is a dismally difficult time for black Americans.  No man should be defined by the color of his skin.  No man must suffer because of his race.

“To support, because our black students live with a keen awareness of the prejudice that presses in upon their childhood, boyhood, and youth.  May the message from every Heights student, faculty, and parent to our black students be: ‘I stand with you. I am here for you. What can I do to help?’

“To love, because that is the most powerful force in the world and the only one capable of cauterizing the long-festering wound of racism in our country.”

Pope Francis:
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that violence is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost. Let us pray for reconciliation and peace.”

St. Francis of Assisi
“Lord, make us instruments of Your peace.”

***

In His good time He will indeed make us instruments of His peace. Until that time, we will continue to learn, to understand, and to do all in our power to provide quality education to those in our society who need it most. God bless you, your families, your schools and your kids.

 

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!

Newswire – June 2, 2020

NO POMP – LOTS OF CIRCUMSTANCES

COVID 19 MEANT GRADUATIONS WITH NO POMP BUT LOTS OF CIRCUMSTANCES.  This is a very different Newswire, but these are very different times. Anyone worried about the ingenuity of the upcoming generation need look no further than the joyous graduation celebrations that are taking place — looking nothing like what we’ve seen in the past. Most of the “pomp” associated with graduations could not take place, but schools and graduates made sure that the “circumstances” were memorable nonetheless. Get ready to smile as we run down — in no particular order — just a few for you.

SENIORS AT SOMERSET ISLAND PREP, in Florida, graduated in style—on jet skis! Thanks to a local business that allowed the students to use their jet skis to help celebrate this milestone, the students received lessons prior to their big day and then jet skied in front of Key West’s Southernmost House wearing their gowns and masks—where the principal stood on the dock to hand out their diplomas.

STUDENTS AT CAROLINA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL in North Carolina participated in a drive-thru graduation ceremony. Staying close to tradition, the students listened to speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and keynote speaker—while also following social distancing guidelines. The high school seniors then hopped out of vehicles and joined a line one at a time to receive their diplomas. Each graduate received a handmade mask to celebrate this moment.

THE LARGEST CLASS TO EVER GRADUATE FROM Southwest Leadership Academy in Phoenix will always remember their “drive-through” graduation ceremony as the craziest but probably the most fun. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of the school staff, teachers and administrators students still celebrated their achievement with a parade of cars, food, pictures and lots of whooping and hollering. The school still intends to have a prom this fall and formal graduation in August.

THE SECOND CLASS OF SENIORS WILL GRADUATE FROM Oregon Trail Academy, but unlike their predecessors they will not get a ceremony at the iconic Timberline Lodge.  Students will participate in a drive-thru ceremony in the afternoon and watch the pre-recorded portion in the evening. The virtual celebration will include speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and commencement speaker. It will also include words of wisdom from the graduates and photos. Kudos to the school and seniors for their creativity and determination to celebrate a new chapter!

NEWARK CHARTER SCHOOL in Delaware held a drive-thru graduation for their high school seniors. Parents and students drove through the parking lot to celebrate this milestone. Each senior had the opportunity to exit the car one at a time to receive their diploma. Families later received a recording of the school’s commencement speeches.

THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT is blessed with incredible physical beauty and the Mission Achievement and Success charter schools, one of only 13% of schools in the state to consistently receive an A rating.  Faculty, parents, and of course students were sad that they could not have graduation ceremonies on the regular scheduled date, but the schools have big plans to make it up to them with a celebration that the grads will not forget. 100% of the graduating class has been accepted to college or the armed forces. You can get a glimpse of the grads in this video.

RENAISSANCE ACADEMY IN PENNSYLVANIA is helping their high school seniors show off their accomplishments! The school gave their students yard signs to keep spirits high and celebrate graduation. Members of the school’s board of trustees went door-to-door delivering the signs. Many students are showing their appreciation and enthusiasm on social media—using the hashtag #RASeniorsStrong.

SUCCESS IS MORE THAN A MOTTO AT THE SUCCESS ACADEMY. We’re not sure of the graduation plans for the Success Academy of Liberal Arts in Manhattan, but we are sure of the cracker jack job the school does educating its students. Every senior at Success –  one of the city’s largest charter school networks serving 17,000 students in 45 schools —  has been accepted to a college this year. Eagle-eyed readers will note that this achievement is not a stranger to charter schools. And by the way,  the senior class notched an average SAT score of 1268 en route to their college acceptances — nearly 200 points higher than the national average.  Someone please tell us again why charter schools are bad for kids.

DID WE MISS YOUR UNIQUE GRADUATION? We know we’ve barely scratched the surface with the items above.   The country needs good news now more than ever — and you can help us spread it. Send us information and photos to info@edreform.com ( or bill@edreform.com )  so we can include it in next week’s Newswire. In the meantime, stay safe, take comfort from your family, and as our British cousins say, keep calm and carry on!


Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!

Newswire – May 26, 2020

FREEDOM’S LEGACY – AND FUTURE.

BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY SLIPS OUT OF MEMORY, let’s be sure to remember what it is all about — the cost paid by our fellow Americans to insure that we all had a precious commodity, one they thought worth dying for — freedom.

“WHY AMERICA”? Teaching love of country isn’t just for patriotic holidays.  Now’s a good time to share new resources with the kids in your home or who you are teaching remotely. Easy to use course outlines and material that make teaching American history a snap can be found here on Why America? at edreform.com.

SCHOOL DAZE. The biggest ed story out there daily it seems is reopening schools. As Wall Street Journal’s Tawnell Hobbs reports, “Students wearing masks, eating lunch in classrooms and attending school in person only two days a week are among the scenarios being looked at in school districts throughout the U.S. planning to reopen in the fall…Children who are academically behind or without internet access would get preference for in-person learning under some proposals. Other plans prohibit sharing school supplies and desks closer than six feet apart, and limit parents and other visitors on campuses.”Whatever your own community or schools’ solutions, it’s clear that options are essential.And when schools do reopen, who will be there? “About 20% of teachers say they don’t intend to return in the fall. And about 30% of parents say they’re very likely to continue at-home learning,” according to a new poll from USA Today.

SILVER EDUCATION LININGS. Yes, the virus has been a tragedy for the country. But behind the Covid cloud, the everyday, real life experiences of millions of Americans during the “lockdown” have opened eyes and shown the many possibilities that come with new education responsibilities…  Reporting for the New York Times, Elizabeth Harris says “one unexpected silver lining of the shutdown has been an improved learning experience for certain students, including some who struggle to pay attention in class and even some high-achieving self-starters.” Where ‘remote learning’ was a foreign concept to most parents it is now catching on

YET SOME ARE ATTACKING REMOTE ED…. And also likening it to homeschooling, where parents drive when and what their children are taught. A Harvard prof said home schooling maximizes potential for child abuse. But he and others like him were summarily rebuked and many are now becoming convinced of the value. According to John Stossel, “‘Home-schoolers score 30% higher on SAT tests.’ They also do better in college, and they are less likely to drink or do drugs.”

LEARNING CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE. Love this idea from an educators technology group (h/t to Real Clear Education) to take a tour of the world using google maps!

BLACK & BROWN v BIDEN?  “The votes of black and brown charter school parents matter. Ignore us at your own peril.” The bold and unwavering Dr. Howard Fuller cautions Vice President Joe Biden about the loss of votes he’ll encounter if he continues to toe the union line rather than what’s good for children.  As we all agree, giving parents power and ensuring all have access to education excellence for America’s kids are way too important to become just another political piñata. 

In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration or “Decoration Day” for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War. It is to be designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country…” 

Throughout the years a number of changes have been enacted to this federal holiday, a shift from May 30 to the last Monday of the month to allow for a three day weekend, the name Memorial Day being officially adopted, and since 2000, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.

No matter the official name or date, it’s of paramount importance we celebrate Memorial Day.  Millions have given their lives on the fields of battle to make it possible for us to enjoy the “blessings of liberty.”

It is those individuals who gave what President Lincoln called, “the last full measure of devotion…to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Pause with us to remember and reflect on the sacrifice made by these brave individuals and understand that even in the midst of today’s challenges, it pales in comparison to offering one’s life for something greater.

Enjoy your Memorial Day week.


Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!

Newswire – May 19, 2020

EDUCATION’S BERLIN WALL. When the Berlin Wall fell and East Germans experienced freedom for the first time — there was no going back.  With an assist from COVID19, and despite the overwhelming tragedies and seeming irreversible impact it has created, the walls confining students to education based on zip code has also fallen. Millions of parents and kids are learning for the first time the capacity of their schools’ administrators to respond to crises. As we’ve written in the pathbreaking report, “The Future of School” released last month, this experience is an opportunity to determine how best to educate every child, no matter where, or what their circumstances. Whether the approach taking place is called distance, digital, remote or whatever, it doesn’t matter.  The smell of innovation and creativity unbridled by bureaucracy is in the air. The anecdotal stories of parents, school leaders and citizens city by city shows that 40 percent of Americans now more likely to homeschool and enroll kids in virtual school, when given the choice. Ah, but there’s the rub.

Organizing tele-townhalls, and pro-status quo virtual marches, the NEA is spending all of its time and money advocating for more stimulus funds to plug the gaping hole of the empty school buildings

Read More …

Newswire – May 5, 2020

IT’S CHARTER SCHOOLS WEEK.
THE FUTURE IS HERE – AND NOW.  

The year 2000. That’s when National Charter Schools Week started (though some suggest it was 1999). The first Congressional resolution was introduced in the House by Democratic Representative Tim Roemer of Indiana and by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The resolution acknowledged and commended “the charter school movement for its contribution to improving our Nation’s public school system Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) a National Charter Schools Week should be established; and (2) the President should issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to conduct appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities to demonstrate support for charter schools in communities throughout the Nation.”

And indeed President Clinton did so.He also called for and went on to sign a bi-partisan bill to help expand charters. (see clip) That program has expanded over time and under bi-partisan leadership in Washington, DC and the states.

WHAT CHARTERS UNDER COVID SHOW US TODAY. Today, while there is much more to the charter movement which CER helped to start than a simple week, it’s fitting that during this time of COVID we should celebrate the one and only public school reform in history to give teachers freedom, parents choice, and kids the opportunity out of an education determined by zip code.

So much more to learn and to say about charter schools but here are a few takeaways to share with your friends

Read More …

Newswire – May 5, 2020

Week 8 of Quarantine?

For some it’s 6, 7 or 8 but it’s been a long time. Everything has changed, including when we publish our content and what we are doing. In fact, some suggest that this pandemic has forced us to all do things differently, that have been a long time coming. Change is hard, so while CER won’t change its focus, its DNA or its approach (apologies, foes and fair-weather friends!), we do adapt when the necessity arises. Here’s what you need to know on this 5th day of May 2020–

THIS IS WHY WE CALL IT THE BLOB. Dozens of education groups are mobilizing to get more money moving to education, which you might think is a good thing, if not for the fact that the traditional system has failed a majority of students — for decades. Asking for $200 billion, on top of the $13 billion in new monies already delivered for education (see related story below) to fund federal programs in anticipation of state budget cuts is the epitome of throwing good money after bad. Never mind that the rest of the nation has to try to figure out how to tighten belts, which includes the taxpayers who pay for federal funding. Never mind that students are being educated in many diverse ways, and not just through Districts. Never mind that not one mention of the fact that the system they seek to fund has been doing a stunningly poor job.

Rather than

Read More …

Newswire – April 22, 2020

THE FUTURE OF SCHOOL?  If you’re interested in that, you’ll want to be joining the CER ACTION Series (That’s ACTION — meaning Accelerating Change through Innovation and Opportunity NOW)! Part III on the Future of School covered the experiences of two Change Makers who combined, serve almost 80,000 students remotely and digitally with much individual attention — despite the challenges presented by COVID. Learn more about the work of Jon Hage and his team at Charter Schools USA and Julie Young, CEO at ASU Prep Digital. You can watch the entire session. But just to wet your whistle:

“We don’t need to have a gap in our learning because we have a virus in our country…Hopefully after COVID, we will look at boundaries and geographic barriers very differently.” – Jon Hage

“We believe school is a verb; it can take place anywhere, and anytime — no boundaries, no barriers,”  – Julie Young.

PLAN TO JOIN US FOR MORE… Next week, Tuesday, April 28th, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm with Patricia A. Brantley, CEO, Friendship Public Charter School, a founding partner of the nearly two decade-old Friendship with 12 campuses in Washington, DC and schools in many other cities, and Antonio Roca, Managing Director at Academica Virtual Education, overseeing 200 public charter schools and

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