Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Legislators Should Make Education Reform a 'New Year's Resolution' for the New Decade, CER Says

/PRNewswire/ -- State legislators looking to make a lasting impact in the new decade should introduce a package of education reform legislation that will improve quality educational options for children, enhance the teaching profession, and promote and protect the US and its citizens by becoming an international leader in student achievement, according to the nonprofit Center for Education Reform.

The Center today encouraged legislators to adopt its list of "10 Steps to Education Reform in 2010" as their individual legislative New Year's Resolutions.

"As 2010 begins, the Center for Education Reform is keeping score again -- this time of state legislatures and whether they work to pass 10 critical reforms," said Jeanne Allen, The Center's president.

At the conclusion of the year, CER will rate each state on their attempts to pass legislation and their success at creating new laws that would:

1. Increase the ability of higher education, mayors and other independent
entities to authorize charter schools so more children have access to
quality public school options.
2. Eliminate arbitrary and unnecessary caps on the number of charter
schools that can operate in a state and on the number of students who
can attend charter schools.
3. Close the gap between the funding for traditional public schools and
public charter schools.
4. Allow charter schools to operate with operational autonomy and teacher
freedom -- freeing these schools to innovate and develop new best
practices that serve our children.
5. Develop a school voucher program or a scholarship tax credit program to
provide private school choice for children with special needs.
6. Begin the process of creating data systems that allow teachers,
principals, district officials and state officials to link student
achievement to teacher performance.
7. Protect teacher's paychecks by prohibiting automatic deductions of
union expenses that aren't related to collective bargaining.
8. Create a teacher merit pay pilot program that allows great teachers --
ones who improve student achievement -- to receive extra pay in
recognition of their hard work.
9. Increase pay for teachers willing to teach high-needs subject areas and
in high-needs schools.
10. Develop meaningful alternative routes to teacher certification for
talented mid-career changers who want to become teachers.


The Center also encouraged candidates for political office to use the "10 Steps to Education Reform" as a model for education campaign platforms.

"These 10 reforms would make a significant difference in the quality of education provided to children, and it is essential that lawmakers act quickly to make real education reform -- not reformist rhetoric -- a priority for the new decade," Allen said.

CER is currently the only independent national organization that scores each state on its charter school laws. CER's Charter Laws Across the States book is now in its eleventh year and, in December, received coverage in more than 100 publications. Based on the feedback of Charter Laws fans, the Center plans additional scoring reports on additional education reform topics for 2010.

The Center for Education Reform drives the creation of better educational opportunities for all children. CER changes laws, minds and cultures to allow good schools to flourish.

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