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CER Just Celebrated School Choice With President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary DeVos

Earlier this week, our founder and CEO, Jeanne Allen, joined a celebration of school choice in the District of Columbia at the White House. She was joined by students from local schools; leaders of organizations that support school choice; and President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary DeVos.

“It’s important that we salute the recently reauthorized SOAR Act, which is a lifeline for so many students in Washington, DC,” said Allen. “And it was heartening to hear the President make an unequivocal plea that every child—no matter his status in life—deserves the opportunity to attend a school that best meets his individual needs,” Allen said.

The bottom line: It’s nice to have allies who are committed to an educational renaissance in the nation’s capital.

The Theme is Innovation

This country has been built on innovation and ingenuity. When it comes to American education however, we are far too cautious. For us to succeed as a nation, and for our students to achieve, we need to be vigilant, constantly reevaluating progress and challenging the status-quo, calling into question existing systems and the opinions of the majority.

We need to examine the fundamentals that are the basis for end results; what is the rationale for the existing academic calendar structure and school schedule? We should be calling into question issues such as standards of student-teacher ratio and class size, and examine learning methodology and teacher preparedness—and awareness. Implementing new education technologies in the classroom can help young educators struggling to connect with students innovate in their lessons, understand their role and communicate more effectively in school and beyond. Charter schools and the unique freedom and flexibility they enjoy have brought about enormous leaps in the quality of students’ education, immense rises in academic achievement across the states, and brighter futures for the nation’s most needy children.

Gone are the days when a school in a community would be limited by distance and cost from availing its students of every imaginable lesson that exists in the world to enhance their learning. First and foremost, it requires listening to the students and directing their educational experience in totally new ways – and then talking about it!

Every effort must be made to bring innovative technologies to our schools. The traditional systems of pre-K, K-12 and higher education should not shackle our approach to improving education. Government should prioritize and expand support for innovative education by partnering with agencies that oversee telecommunications and transportation to drive the digital super highway further into rural communities and thus permit them to access the best of

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The Theme is Choice

“School choice” means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the schools their children attend.

Charter schools are public schools that provide unique educational services to students, or deliver services in ways that the traditional public schools do not offer. They provide an alternative to the cookie-cutter district school model. Charters survive — and succeed — because they operate on the principles of choice, accountability and autonomy not readily found in traditional public schools.

How did charter schools get started?

Long before there were national associations and organizations working to promote the schools, individuals launched the charter movement with strategy and resolve. Charter school pioneers talk about their experiences above.

Today we’re highlighting brilliant videos from charter schools who were the runners-up of CER’s “Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter!” Video Contest:

Check out all of the contest entrants’ videos here.

GET INVOLVED. For the movement to grow and meet the demand of parents in need of education alternatives, it’s essential to showcase the hard work charter school leaders and educators are doing day in and day out. Help celebrate #CharterSchoolsWeek by signing and sharing the pledge to support public charter schools!

The Theme is Flexibility

Our public school leaders have been asking for years for government to remove the handcuffs. They welcome and need the ability to change their operations, and drive a new education culture.  People who want to start new schools need freedom and autonomy and they need a level playing field. The barriers to starting a school in some states are too onerous. Some states require that new schools only use “proven concepts” for their curricula or their school model. Others require that teachers have a particular kind of certification or even that they have experience starting up other schools before they can be authorized. Charter schools began as an idea to innovate and to free schools from arcane systems and over-reaching regulations. This school choice option has united people from diverse background and lifestyles who have wanted more personalized and innovative public education to meet students’ needs in ways that traditional public schools often failed to do.  We encourage government to be more flexible and we encourage Charter School advocates to push for charter laws that allow operational freedom, free from top-down compliance and burdensome “one size” fits all approaches which discourage charter schools from starting or expanding.  Flexibility is crucial to innovation and opportunity and the key to continued growth and excellence in charter schools across America.

Today we’re highlighting more videos from charter schools who participated in CER’s “Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter!” Video Contest:

Inspiring Minds

Adventurous Schools

Check out all of the contest entrants’ videos here.

A Salute to Charters

We must be vigilant to overcome challenges, including the overreach of regulation that is stifling a vibrant reform effort

May 1, 2017 — We are pleased to join with our colleagues around the country to celebrate National Charter Schools Week, and all those, especially at the community level, who have steadfastly committed time, energy and bold ideas for nearly 26 years. We hope everyone joins us in celebrating the schools, teachers, communities and innovators who have elevated education to new heights of excellence and performance.

The Center for Education Reform is proud to have been a leader in the fight for expanded opportunity for all children since 1993, and to have helped launch NCSW when the movement was just defining itself. This innovative and path breaking reform of public education has been heralded by each Administration since the first charter school opened in 1992.

In his inaugural proclamation of NCSW in 2000, President Clinton declared that charter schools “are helping us to meet many of our Nation’s most important education goals.”


Today, in President Trump’s 2017 Presidential Proclamation, President Trump called upon us all to embrace the choice that charters represent for so many. “By expanding school choice and providing more educational opportunities for every American family, we can help make sure that every child has an equal shot at achieving the American Dream. More choices for our students will make our schools better for everybody.”

Indeed, such choice affords families and educators the opportunity to voluntarily seek the schools that best meet their vision of education. Charter schools succeed when they have independence, flexibility, and freedom to innovate. It is essential we preserve and advance these core principles.

Here’s just but one of thousands of examples of how

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National Charter Schools Week 2017

National Charter Schools Week is April 30 – May 6!

To celebrate National Charter Schools Week 2017, The Center for Education Reform is shining a spotlight on positive outcomes our nation’s charter schools are achieving for our children.

Each day we’ll be posting more features that highlight how charter schools are making a positive impact and improving American education – check back here daily!

May 1 – Salute to Charters

May 2 – Choice

May 3 – Flexibility

May 4 – Innovation


For the movement to grow and meet the demand of parents in need of education alternatives, it’s essential to showcase the hard work charter school leaders and educators are doing day in and day out. Help celebrate #CharterSchoolsWeek by signing and sharing the pledge to support public charter schools!



Fast Facts on Charter Schools Today (for more information on Charter Schools, visit the Charter School Facts & FAQs page)

  • Demand for charter schools remains strong, with over 1 million students on charter school wait lists around the nation.
  • Independent charter authorizers play an essential role in the health of the charter school movement. An authorizer other than a local school board has granted over 60 percent of charters across the country.
  • Charters serve a more disadvantaged student population compared to traditional public schools, including more low-income and minority students. Sixty-one percent of charter schools serve a student population where over 60 percent qualify for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program due to their family’s low income.
  • Charter schools receive 36 percent less revenue per student on average than traditional public schools, and, unlike other public schools, most do not receive facilities funds.


Check out more impactful stories on charter schools: 

Blog #1: An “Academic Dynasty”
Blog #2: Engaging the Next Generation

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National Charter School Law Ranking & Scorecard

17th Edition March, 2017

Since 1996, CER’s yearly scorecard and ranking of state charter school laws has provided guidance and feedback to policymakers on the relative strengths and weakness of charter school policies and their effectiveness in fulfilling the true meaning of the words “charter school law,”— i.e., paving the way for high numbers of strong, autonomous, healthy charter schools, that provide meaningful opportunities for families and their children, and the chance for innovation for all involved.

Sixteen successive reports were based on a variety of criteria first designed and validated by the pioneers of chartering. Each year, the national rankings established by CER have not only predicted how a particular law might work in practice, but presented a real-time evaluation of whether, and how, charters are able to operate given the freedoms or restrictions embedded in law. The rankings and corresponding analysis are grounded in the principles and intent of chartering. We review whether a state’s charter school law:

  • establishes the ability for citizens to create schools that are independent, in oversight and operations, from the traditional school bureaucracies;
  • gives schools wide latitude to operate and innovate without onerous administration rules and regulations dictating what they can do and how they do it at every turn;
  • and provides parents with an expansive amount of options from which to choose the schools that best meet the needs of their students.

We are now well into the third decade since Minnesota passed the first state charter statute. The number of charter schools has continued to increase each year at a steady but relatively slow pace. But this past year, that growth abruptly came to a near halt. Overall, the nation’s nearly 7,000 charter schools still serve a fairly small percentage of the

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An Important Message about Dr. King and Charter Schools

This article shines a light on the depth — and longevity of support — for charter schools in the African-American community. The story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest aide and chief of staff, Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, is not only enlightening, but something few know. It is in that spirit that we are pleased to share this with you.

Charter Schools.

“In a sense it was the next battle field…the schools were so bad that most of the young people were crippled educationally… that’s how I turned my attention to charter schools…”

Would Martin Luther King, Jr. have supported charter schools? “Oh yes,” said Dr. Walker! “Without a doubt…”

The mission of the Center for Education Reform is to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans, particularly our youth, ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility through U.S.

Help us do just that – ensure that the conditions for educational opportunity exist for each and every child in this great nation.

This article, along with an inspirational video clip on Dr. Walker and his involvement with charter schools can be found at this link: http://www.realclearlife.com/history/would-martin-luther-king-have-supported-charter-schools/.

Thank you for taking time to read it, to view the video and to share, as no American should be lacking in this critical knowledge about how much the earliest civil rights leaders in this nation embraced educational opportunity for all students.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, reactions, or questions. Please contact us anytime to further this important discussion.


On the 8th Day of Christmas CER Gave to Me…

Charter Schools Leading!

(7th) Opportunity Scholars Expanding
(6th) Parent Power Growing
(5th) State Policy Changing
(4th) Reformie Ladies Lunching

(3rd) A Global Hub for Technology
(2nd) Model Legislation
And a Nominee for Opportunity!


The 8th in our 12-ish days of Christmas series, intended to bring gifts to education reformers everywhere!

Charter schools are no longer a marginal experiment in US education.

Charter schools were started as a bipartisan effort to give schools more freedom and flexibility to meet results currently not being attained by district schools. As Ember Reichgott Junge, former Minnesota state senator and author of the first charter school bill in the nation, explains, “Chartering trades regulation for results, bureaucracy for accountability.”

Today, there are more than 6,700 charters enrolling nearly three million children in 43 states and Washington DC, leading the way in outcomes for children. There are arts-based charter schools, online charter schools, charter schools focused on STEAM and STEM curriculums, charter schools focused on the classics, and much more. 

The beauty of charter schools is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” model, and parents and children are free to determine if a school is a good fit – a sharp contrast to the district model.

As a student from Natomas Charter School – the winner in our Back Off My Charter video contest – told HBO comedian John Oliver, “The world realizes that education is an archaic model that needs updating – that’s why we have charter schools. We experiment, challenge and create – we pioneer change in hopes that other traditional schools will follow suit.”


“Charter schools have made these last three years the best of my life”

Meet the Richards family from Framingham, Massachusetts. They are just one of thousands of families across the Bay State who have had their lives forever changed thanks to the excellent education they received at their local charter school – Christa McCullough Charter School.

“Charter schools have made the last three years the best of my life,” says one of the Richards, who with a 23-page IEP, who feels more at home in his charter school than any other previous learning environment.

Help share this story to show why it’s imperative to expand learning opportunities for more students, in Massachusetts and beyond:



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