Over the past six months, our network of local leaders have been working to secure meaningful policy changes for kids across the country. We’ve put together a midyear update on how they have done: the wins, the progress made and the hard-fought losses.
The stoplight indicates a green light for an advocacy win, a yellow light for significant progress made towards a goal, and a red light for an advocacy loss. Read on to see what our inspiring local leaders have accomplished!
Secure passage of an Achievement School District bill.
CarolinaCAN worked with partners and legislators to pass an Achievement School District law that will require the state to identify the lowest-performing five percent of schools based on student growth and performance and select specific schools for turnaround.
Increase access to high-quality seats for more students.
CarolinaCAN secured the expansion of 25,000 opportunity scholarships to low-income students and students with special needs.
Foster greater local funding commitments for K-12 education.
CarolinaCAN has partnered with local philanthropic and business initiatives to raise the awareness of needs of North Carolina’s students throughout the year. The team plans to host a series of events throughout the summer and fall to continue the local funding communities engagement in education.
Ensure charter schools receive more equitable and timely funding.
CarolinaCAN and partner organization Parents for Educational Freedom championed a charter funding equity bill through the House and the Senate, but the bill ultimately failed in conference committee. The team will continue to advocate for this bill in the 2017 session.
Launch the Baltimore Principal Leadership Consultancy so that principals can help each other lead more children from low-income households to achieve at high levels.
MarylandCAN successfully advocated for Baltimore City Schools to allow a program, based on research of programs throughout the country, of principal peer-mentoring. The program launched in June 2016 with 11 mentor principals mentoring 22 mentee principals.
Pass legislation that authorizes high-quality operators of schools of choice to employ principals and teachers.
Legislation that MarylandCAN supported for greater charter autonomy was ultimately not introduced in the 2016 legislative session. MarylandCAN is currently laying the foundation for pursuing the measure in 2017.
Disaggregate student achievement data by ethnic community in order to better tailor supports and resources.
MinnCAN and partners successfully championed new legislation that requires the state to disaggregate and cross tabulate student data by race, ethnicity, home language, immigrant status and more.
Ensure that the state develops and executes a clear, streamlined licensure process for experienced out-of-state educators.
After slow implementation of the landmark 2015 law that sought to streamline licensure, MinnCAN supported an amendment to bring more precision to licensure requirements, and the creation of a legislative task force on educator licensure that will make recommendations for additional overhauls.
Reform school discipline policies to keep students in the classroom.
MinnCAN played an active role in the Solutions Not Suspension Coalition, which made a series of policy recommendations grounded in a restorative approach and successfully pushed back against efforts to codify zero-tolerance approaches. MinnCAN also supported the creation of a school discipline task force that will research and make recommendations on model reforms to school discipline policies.
Increase funding and support for programs focused on improving teacher quality, diversity and effectiveness.
Working closely with many partners, MinnCAN supported efforts to increase funding for programs that train and support teachers of color. The legislature allocated funding for the Grow Your Own teacher residency model, and for the Collaborative Urban Educators program.
Improve the public charter school landscape by promoting funding parity and stronger charter management.
MinnCAN supported multiple policies to better support high-quality charters, including a policy that will make it easier for certified Montessori teachers to gain licensure, a policy to ensure that schools have more time to find a new authorizer if their current one closes, and dedicated financial support of charter pre-K.
Continue the growth of charter schools in New York City and across the state.
NYCAN and partners worked to improve and extend charter facilities per pupil funding, secured permanent funding for co-located charter schools, and supported flexibility in teacher hiring at charter schools, all contributing to the growth and health of the charter sector in New York.
Support the implementation and rollout of Common Core aligned assessments.
NYCAN played an important defensive role in standards and assessments this year, working with partners to ensure that the standards review commission did not weaken standards and that the state continues to require testing with its new vendor.
Increase options for families with the passage of the Education Investment Tax Credit.
The Education Investment Tax Credit was not signed into law for the second year in a row, an issue NYCAN will continue to advocate for in 2017.
Elevate personalized learning as a statewide education priority in Rhode Island.
RI-CAN has secured expanded support for personalized learning in the Ocean State from the governor and state legislators. Through the Learning Pioneers program, RI-CAN is also supporting and connecting teachers who use personalized learning in the classroom.
Provide fair, sustainable school facilities aid to all public schools.
RI-CAN advocated for continued state funding for school facilities this year, but did not achieve equitable reimbursement for charter schools. The team laid the foundation to pursue this important provision in 2017.
Ensure the education funding formula is fair and focused on the needs of students.
RI-CAN successfully advocated to keep the funding formula student centered and equitable, and worked to secure additional funding for English-language learners, a state-funded pre-K program, pilot programs in computer science and advanced coursework and statewide access to the PSAT and SAT.
Champion progress made in expanding educational options and opportunities & raising standards for all.
RI-CAN was not successful in blocking a harmful bill to Rhode Island’s charter sector, which limits new charter networks from opening new schools without explicit approval from local town councils. RI-CAN is pursuing options to support high-quality charter growth moving forward with these new provisions.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania will continue advocacy work through their summer and fall legislative sessions. We look forward to sharing their progress with you and the inspiring work our advocates are doing across the network soon!