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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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Black Lives Matter, NAACP Call for Moratorium on Charter Schools is “Inexplicable”

Indeed, paying attention to data and facts is important. But when data and facts are one-sided and lack the bigger picture, it does an injustice to those trying to become educated about an issue.

When it comes to charter schools, there’s still much work to be done when it comes to getting out the facts and truly educating the public.

Take the Black Lives Matter and the NAACP call for a moratorium on charter schools, for example.

“Can’t understand why the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Movement for Black Lives have issued proclamations opposing the expansion of school choice and Parent Power for the very black families for which they proclaim to care?,” writes RiShawn Biddle of Dropout Nation. “The answer can be found in the annual financial statements of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions.”

Black leaders nationwide are pushing back against moratoriums and proclamations against charter school expansion.

“The fact that the NAACP wants a national moratorium on charter schools, many of which offer a high-quality education to low-income and working-class black children, is inexplicable,” Jaqueline Cooper, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options told the Washington Examiner.

Data reveals black students in public charter schools gain an equivalent of 36 learning days a year in math and 26 in reading respectively. And the learning gains are even higher for poor minority students.

In Massachusetts, where there’s a debate about expanding charter school learning opportunities to meet the demand of more than 32,000 on wait lists, charter schools have been an important part of education, offering choice and opportunity for children especially in low-income areas. Massachusetts charter schools are among the highest performing in the nation, and serve 31 percent more Black

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More Than 80 Latino Leaders – Joined by Governor Charlie Baker -­‐ Call on State Legislature to Lift the Cap on Public Charter Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 8, 2016

CONTACT:

Josiane Martinez
josiane@discoverasg.com
857-­‐222-­‐0800

Eileen O’Connor
eileen@keyserpublicstrategies.com
617-­‐806-­‐6999

More Than 80 Latino Leaders – Joined by Governor Charlie Baker Call on State Legislature to Lift the Cap on Public Charter Schools

EAST BOSTON – More than 80 Latino leaders from across Massachusetts gathered today at Excel Academy in East Boston to urge immediate legislative action to lift the cap on public charter schools in the Commonwealth. Governor Baker also attended the launch event, and echoed the urgent call for a legislative solution to increasing access to public charter schools.

CLICK HERE TO READ LETTER FROM COALITION

The Latino leaders – which include state legislators, city councilors, school committee members, non-­‐profit leaders, business leaders and community activists from Boston and Gateway Cities – joined the Great Schools Massachusetts Coalition and announced a public information campaign, “Justicia en la Educación: Latinos Unidos por Escuelas Públicas Charter,” which will focus on educating Latino parents and community members about the benefits that public charter schools have provided Latino children across the state.

“Massachusetts’ public charter schools have provided kids, parents and families in our communities with a student-­‐centered approach critical to the success of children who face additional barriers to a great education,” said Governor Baker. “I am proud to join these leaders to call for raising the cap in low-­‐income communities of color so that all children, regardless of zip code, can share in this success.”

“This legislation is something that our community wants and perceives it needs – and we await the leadership of our legislators at the State House to deliver it,” said Samuel Acevedo, Executive Director of the Boston Higher Education Resource Council and Pastor of Leon de Juda church.

“Public charter schools

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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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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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