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On the Fifth Day of Christmas CER gave to me…

State Policy Changing

(4th) Reformie Ladies Lunching
(3rd) A Global Hub for Technology
(2nd) Model Legislation
And a Nominee for Opportunity!

 

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

Election 2016 brought about promising opportunities for changes in state policy. Voters cast their votes so that 2017 will see 72 percent of Governors (including the mayor of Washington DC) with passing grades on parent power and innovation. And while we hope that governors can enact real change in their states, we still have a lot of work to do!

So as we look forward to the potential for change in 2017, here’s a brief look back at states we’ve worked in to start moving the needle on expanding opportunity and innovation:

Kentucky: Laying the Groundwork for a New Opportunity Agenda
In 2007, the Center was the first national organization to answer the call from Kentucky lawmakers to help them forge a path for charter schools and greater opportunity for students across the commonwealth. We have again joined forces – with a new governor, his cabinet and legislative leaders – to map out a strategy for broad success that would ensure opportunities for students young and old, in all of Kentucky’s communities. Our comprehensive approach combined with visits to D.C. charter schools laid a foundation for success. (On election day the Kentucky House became choice-friendly. We continue to provide guidance and assistance in helping them use that momentum to create a new day for students and families.) 

A Disappointing Loss in Massachusetts
Although the ballot initiative to increase the number of charter school in Massachusetts failed, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. CER drove media

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A Leader’s Choice

“It’s not an experiment anymore. It’s not a demonstration. It’s not a what-if. After 20 years, we have overwhelming evidence . . . of kids, parents, families who have found what they were looking for in the charter school movement here in the Commonwealth of Mass.”

Those are words from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker as he addressed the crowd of parents, educators and advocates at the State House last week as they prepared to press lawmakers to lift the cap on charter schools.

Since October 2015, the Governor has been pushing legislation that would allow 12 new or expanded charter schools statewide annually in low-performing districts.

While eliminating caps completely and allowing for independent authorizers could really help charter schools grow and thrive in the Bay State, the expansion would without a doubt be a positive step forward, as the state has nearly the s37000kidsMAchartersame number of children on charter school wait lists (about 37,000) as they do enrolled in public charter schools (approximately 40,000). Compared to traditional district schools, public charter school students in Massachusetts score proficient or advanced in all subject tests at every grade level. In fact, some of the state’s urban charter schools with populations that are mostly low-income and minority students are ranked among some of the best schools in the state.

“Governor Baker is putting a lot of political capital on the line for school choice for some of the poorest students in the state,” Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal notes. Despite the fact that charter schools have disrupted traditional public education in positive ways, there’s still reluctance and backlash to expand choices because of pushback from groups like the teacher’s union interested in maintaining the status quo.

From the

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Obama to Governors: Boost Spending

“Obama urges governors to boost education funding, calls it key to competitiveness”
by Beth Fouhy, Associated Press
Chicago Tribune
February 27, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama Monday urged the nation’s governors to invest more state resources in education, saying a highly skilled workforce is crucial for the U.S. to remain competitive with other countries.

Obama made his pitch at a White House meeting with governors in Washington as part of the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association. The president and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a black tie dinner with the governors Sunday night.

Obama said at Monday’s session that he sympathized with governors whose state budgets have been badly squeezed during the economic downturn. But he said that was no reason to trim resources from schools.

“The fact is that too many states are making cuts in education that I think are simply too big,” Obama said. “Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state than the decisions you make about where to invest. Budgets are about choices.”

He reaffirmed his view that decisions about education should be left to states and not the federal government. “I believe education is an issue that is best addressed at the state level,” the president said, “and governors are in the best position to have the biggest impact.”

It was a message directed largely to Republican governors, many of whom have complained of too much federal intrusion in state matters including education. Several prominent GOP governors were in the room as the president spoke, including Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Obama earlier this month granted waivers to 10 states, freeing them from some of the toughest requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, as long as they measure student progress with their own standards.

He called on governors

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