Education & Schools
Iowans for Public School Options Supports Legislation Expanding School Choice PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Derek Flowers   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:41

Iowans to be offered greater choice in education

Des Moines, Iowa – Today, the Iowa Legislature will begin the process to debate the Governor's education transformation initiatives with a meeting of the subcommittee on HSB 517.  Iowans for Public School Options offers support for HSB 517 and its Senate companion, SSB 3009, which would create expanded options in education to Iowa's students.

 

With initiatives such as greater access to charter schools, online education, and innovative learning models, this legislation gives parents the ability to choose a school that is the best fit for their children.

 

"Iowa has a tradition of pride in its quality public education system.  Giving parents choice through public school options will help Iowa to once again be a leader in education and ensure every Iowa student is getting the best education available.  We support the initiatives to expand school choice found in this legislation," said Brian Kennedy, Chairman of Iowans for Public School Options.

All across the country, state Legislatures are working this spring to allow high-quality options in education to become available to parents and students in their states.  Allowing Iowa families access to these innovative models that have proven successful will continue to strengthen Iowa's public education system.

SSB 3009 and HSB 517 include initiatives to expand school choice:

•    Creates pathways for students to access online education in Iowa

•    Enables multiple authorizers for new charter schools across the state

•    Increases waiver authority allowing schools to innovate and better serve students

About Iowans for Public School Options
Iowans for Public School Options is a chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options (NCPSO) and is an alliance of parents that supports and defends parents' rights to access the best public school options for their children. The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. Additionally, NCPSO advocates for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children. For additional information, go to www.PublicSchoolOptions.org/Iowa.

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National School Choice week kicks off Saturday PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Ben Velderman   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:39
National School Choice Week set to kick off Saturday with a giant rally in New Orleans
By Ben Velderman
EAG Communications
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans has always been known for its ability to throw a good party.

And these days the Big Easy is also developing a reputation as a showcase for the nation’s K-12 education reform movement.
So it’s seems only natural that thousands of parents, students and concerned citizens from across the country are gathering in New Orleans for Saturday’s kickoff to the second annual “National School Choice Week,” which runs January 22-28.
National School Choice Week (NSCW) is an umbrella group comprised of more than 300 organizations and tens of thousands of school choice supporters who join together every year “to shine a spotlight on the need for effective education options for all children,” according to the group’s website.
Those options include everything from “great public schools, to public charter schools, magnet schools, virtual schools, private schools, homeschooling and more,” according to the site. 

Officials involved with NSCW work throughout the year to encourage lawmakers at various levels of government to maximize the number of educational options for children, therefore maximizing their opportunities for success.
The old idea of keeping students trapped in geographic school districts is no longer acceptable. More and more people are starting to understand that the “one-size-fits-all”  approach to education is outdated and ineffective.

“For too long, too many kids have been forced to attend very bad schools, or schools that aren’t a good fit for them, just because those happened to be the only schools in their neighborhoods,” said Kyle Olson, chief executive officer of Education Action Group and National School Choice Week. 

“What could possibly be wrong with allowing parents to determine the best school for their children, regardless of where it’s located? The scope of a child’s educational opportunities should not be dictated by their zip code.”
New Orleans offers proof that choice works
Andrew Campanella, vice president of public affairs for NSCW, said the Big Easy is the perfect location for the NSCW launch because of its impressive record of increased achievement among students.
After Hurricane Katrina ripped the city apart in 2005, lawmakers decided that education reform was a necessary component to successfully rebuilding New Orleans. 

Chronically failing school districts have been taken over by the state. Families with students in those failed districts have been granted access to a variety of schooling options. As a result, the vast majority of New Orleans students now attend charter schools, which has led to a dramatic rise in student test scores and graduation rates. 

”New Orleans has been at the forefront  of education reform in our country,” Campanella said. “It’s seen tremendous growth in student achievement because of the choices that have been given to parents – everything from scholarships to virtual schools, charter schools and improved public schools.”
New Orleans’ public education system has undergone such a renaissance that last year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised the city for having the most improved school district in the nation.
"I continue to be in awe of the sense of urgency, the sense of commitment, the entire community getting behind the schools,"  Duncan said, according to NOLA.com.
Thousands expected at kickoff celebration
Thousands of school choice supporters – who represent the full spectrum of ethnic groups, income levels and political persuasions – will participate in the kickoff event, which is being held at the Lakefront Arena, located on the campus of the University of New Orleans

What binds the different groups together is the shared belief that all families deserve the right to choose the best schooling option for their children, Campanella said.
The NSCW event is meant to rally supporters for the upcoming week, as well as to celebrate the school choice victories that occurred last year, of which there were quite a few.
In 2011, Maine became the 41st state to allow the creation of charter schools. Other states, such as Michigan and Florida, lifted caps on the number of charter schools allowed in their states.
Last week, a judge upheld Indiana’s new voucher law that allows low- and middle-income families to use state funding to attend the public or private school of their choice. The Indiana voucher program is the most comprehensive of its kind in the nation.
The new year seems equally promising. Lawmakers in Alabama and Washington state are considering bills that would allow the creation of charter schools, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing for a voucher law that rivals Indiana’s in scope.
After Saturday’s rally, supporters will hold individual events in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
“There will be more than 320 events during the week,” Campanella said. “We’ve tripled the number of participants that we had last year.”
While National School Choice Week has a number of high-profile supporters – legendary comedian/actor Bill Cosby being the most recent recruit – the movement’s success will be determined by the number of families and everyday citizens who get involved. 

To participate in one of the upcoming events around the nation, or learn more about the movement, log on to www.schoolchoiceweek.com.
“We’re getting more supporters every day,” Campanella said.

 
Join Us Saturday! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:38

Now is the time to explore educational options for the 2012-13 school year!

At Rivermont Collegiate, students are encouraged to stretch beyond their comfort zone and are part of an inspiring environment where learning is exciting.  Drop in Saturday to explore our campus, philosophy, curriculum, and programs.  No pressure – just information!

What: Rivermont Collegiate Open House

When: Saturday, January 21st – 8:30-11:00 a.m.

Rivermont Collegiate is the Quad Cities’ only private, independent, nonsectarian college-prep school, serving students in preschool through grade 12.  Rivermont students come from many Quad City area communities and financial aid is available.  100% of Rivermont graduates are accepted to 4-year colleges and universities.

 

 
Keystone pipeline PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:37
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley commented on the President’s decision today to stop the international Keystone XL pipeline project.  This project was approved in 2010 by the Canadian National Energy Board.  The Keystone pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day and help to counteract both insufficient domestic oil supplies and reduce dependence on less reliable foreign sources.  It’s been under review by the Obama administration for more than three years.

Senator Grassley’s comment:

“President Obama’s decision is stunning for how it favors extreme environmentalism over job creation and an energy partnership with a friendly neighbor, a relationship that could reduce America’s dependence on volatile foreign energy sources, including Venezuela, Libya and OPEC.  His decision disregards the fact that unemployment in the United States remains at record high levels, and consumers face the possibility of $5 gas this summer.

“The reality that President Obama has flat out rejected the priorities of grass-roots Americans for job creation and energy production that’s close to home means Congress needs to act.  Whether or not the U.S. approves the Keystone pipeline project, the oil will be produced, and if it doesn’t come here, China likely will get it.  So, it’s impossible to see how President Obama could deny that the Keystone pipeline project is in the national interest.”

 
Andrea Solomonson of Orion Named to University of Evansville Dean's List PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Kristen Lund   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 13:24

EVANSVILLE, IN (01/17/2012)(readMedia)-- The University of Evansville is proud to announce that Andrea Solomonson of Orion has achieved a place on the Dean's List for academic achievements during the Fall Semester 2011. Solomonson is majoring in Management.

To make the Dean's List, a student at UE must earn at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

"At the University of Evansville, students experience a rigorous curriculum built on exposure to great ideas, timeless themes, significant questions, and multiple perspectives," said UE President Thomas A. Kazee. "Earning a place on the Dean's List shows a strong commitment to academic achievement, and students such as Andrea Solomonson and their families should be incredibly proud of this accomplishment."

 
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