I thought readers might be interested in reading the latest update from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. As you will see, they are about to have a big national conference. The newsletter comes from Nina Rees. Nina has a long history as a reformer: she worked as a domestic policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney where she was involved in crafting No Child Left Behind and worked in the U.S. Department of Education during George W. Bush’s administration.
With June marking the kickoff for this year’s National Charter Schools Conference, we are excited to see many of you in person in our nation’s capital very soon! The largest gathering of the year for the public charter school movement, this year’s conference runs from June 30-July 3 and will feature more than 4,000 attendees as well as fantastic speakers, panels and sessions.
To stay updated on all of our activities and happenings in the public charter school sector, follow me on Twitter along with @charteralliance and #NCSC13 for conference tweets, subscribe to The Charter Blog, and make sure to sign up for our mailings—including news clips, press releases and other important announcements.
President and CEO
Conference Update—Welcoming Pitbull
As a sign of the broad reach and resonance of the public charter school movement, worldwide music superstar Mr. Armando “Pitbull” Pérez will kick off this year’s National Charter Schools Hall of Fame induction ceremony. A globally successful musician, performer, business entrepreneur, fashion icon and actor whose career sales exceed five million albums and 40 million singles worldwide, Mr. Pérez will join us to talk about his decision to open a charter school this fall in Miami called SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) Charter School.
SLAM’s mission is to innovatively and deeply prepare students for secondary studies and beyond. Through an emphasis on preparation for sports-related careers, SLAM’s teaching philosophy centers on the “3 Rs”: rigor, relevance and relationships. Operating a middle and high school, the school’s first cohort of students will begin classes in the fall of 2014.
Mr. Pérez is one of the most powerful voices speaking out today on behalf of young Americans and communities. The National Alliance applauds his leadership in drawing attention onto the need to give all young people access to good public schools. You can read more about Mr. Pérez and our other keynote speakers on our website.
ESEA—Reauthorization Sooner is Better than Later
As many of you know, the potentially long process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—the federal statute that governs the majority of federal investments in K-12 education—has begun. I recently put forward a few reasons why Congress and the Administration should focus on reauthorization sooner, rather than later.
First, many of the Administration’s most effective programs—such as Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation Funds (i3) and the Charter School Replication and Expansion Grants—are not etched into law yet. If ESEA is not reauthorized, these programs may fall by the wayside, which would mean that countless future charter schools may never come to pass.
Second, we have seen overwhelming bipartisan agreement on a host of ESEA reforms,such as strengthening the Charter Schools Program, which passed the House with strong majority. Despite disagreement over some other key aspects of reauthorization, because the House and Senate have already been through this reauthorization exercise twice, putting together a strategy that would get a bill to the finish line would be challenging, but would be well within reach.
Finally, if media attention around the Common Core is any indication, America may be ready to have a more substantive discussion about education policy. You can read more here.
To learn more about ESEA reauthorization, read the National Alliance white paper: Free to Succeed: Public Charter Schools & the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
ESEA—Tests taken, lessons learned through NCLB Sanctions
This past month, the National Alliance participated in a forum held by the American Enterprise Institute which explored a new analysis from Duke University that indicates certain NCLB sanctions have proven more effective than others. Specifically, this analysis found that the threat of significant school restructuring raised student achievement in underperforming schools. You can watch the forum in its entirety here.
The Senate HELP Committee approved the Strengthening America’s Schools Act; and on June 19, the House Education and Workforce Committee started its consideration of H.R. 5, The Student Success Act. Both bills would make changes to the federal Charter Schools Program. In particular, both would increase the number of entities eligible to apply for grants from the Department of Education. We are analyzing the bills very closely on a number of important issues related to charter school quality, growth and innovation. We are working with Congressional staff in the Senate and House, and we’ll continue to keep you apprised of what’s going on in Washington, D.C. as these bills advance.
Click here to view a chart that compares select provisions from the ESEA bills introduced by Senator Harkin, Senator Alexander and Chairman Kline against current law and ESEA Waivers.
According to the responses to our recent national survey, over 20 percent of public charter schools indicated a STEM or math/science instructional focus. Given the prominence of a STEM-focus in public charter schools, the National Alliance was recently invited to join two important dialogues on STEM Education – POLITICO’s Pro Technology team discussion on the current state of STEM education and U.S. News’ STEM Solutions conference.
At the POLITICO forum, I had the pleasure of joining Tom Kalil, White House deputy director for technology and innovation, Becky Pringle, NEA secretary-treasurer, and Eric Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools, for a conversation focused on the implications of STEM on the American workforce as well as what to expect for STEM policy in the year to come.
POLITICO’s Jessica Meyers (left) and Tony Romm (right) are joined by Eric Schwarz (second from left), Nina Rees (third from left), Becky Pringle (third from right) and Tom Kalil (second from right).
I also joined a fantastic team at the STEM Solutions conference, which included Maria Klawe, Harvey Mudd College president, Arthur Levine, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation president, Camsie A. McAdams, U.S. Department of Education Senior Advisor on STEM Education, Leland Melvin, NASA Associate Administrator for Education, and Richard Middleton, regional vice president of the southwestern region at the College Board, to address the question: ‘Are we moving too slowly?’
About the National Alliance
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector.
© Copyright 2006 – 2013, The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
1101 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 1010. Washington, DC 20005. (202) 289-2700