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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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Charter School Bills Filed in Kentucky

Charter school, voucher bills filed

by Allison Ross
Courier-Journal
March 2, 2013

As widely expected, Republican legislators in both the Kentucky House and Senate have submitted bills just before the filing deadlines to try to bring charter schools to the commonwealth.

In addition, Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Burlington, has filed a bill that would create a school voucher-like program allowing special needs students to redirect per-pupil public school funding to pay for private schools or private tutoring.

Efforts to bring vouchers and charter schools to the Bluegrass State have been going on for years, but with a new Republican governor that has championed charter schools and vouchers and a House that could be moving closer to Republican control, the chances seem greater compared to recent years that such legislation could pass.

Tuesday was the last day for House members to file bills this session, and Thursday is the last day for Senate members to do so.

The charter school bill filed Tuesday by Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, is similar to those he’s filed in previous years.

The bill, SB 253, would essentially create a five-year pilot charter school program in Jefferson and Fayette counties, with a maximum of two charter schools allowed to open per year in each county. It would create a “Kentucky Public Charter School Commission,” which would have members appointed by the governor and could approve charter applications and provide oversight.

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Winded

thatgirlIn my junior year of high school, I was caught red handed not signed up for a Fall sports team (we were required to participate in one every season). I was guilty, had no defense, was unceremoniously marched over to the cross-country team and “volunteered”. For the record, this was and remains the harshest punishment ever exacted upon my person.

I showed up every day and did only that which was required, nothing more (sometimes less).

When we competed in a race, though I usually came in last, (I thought) I crossed each finish line in style, sprinting with my last reserves of energy. But it was all for show. Those who stuck around to actually see me finish saw only this explosion of effort and quite rightly wondered why I had not doled it out over the entire course.

It was a sad display of ego and false enthusiasm.

And I am reminded almost daily of this as states rush education legislation through their political machines. One by one, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Delaware, Tennessee and their neighbors sprint across the finish line just in time for their ‘Race to the Top’ applications to have a little more content to accompany their creative writing.

What if they had been working on these education efforts over time, with focus and determination? What if they had trained a little harder in order to move beyond the superficial? What if they had made changes to their schools just because it was necessary and right, rather than lucrative?

I was never going to be a cross-country runner, and my finish line sprints proved that. Will the same be true of states in the ‘Race to the Top’?

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