Reimagining Education

CEAM joins other education reform groups asking for collaboration from teachers unions

Kate Casas, State Director, Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri

On June 20, CEAM joined other education reform organizations from around the country and signed a letter (read the letter below) asking leaders of the nation’s two largest teachers unions to collaborate with education reform organizations on common sense reforms that will improve student outcomes.

The letter is timely for those paying attention to education reform in MO because this morning Governor Nixon signed a bill to expand and increase accountability for charter schools. The charter bill represents a sincere collaboration between education reform organizations, administrators, school boards and the teachers unions. While there are certainly items in the bill that each of the organizations would like to have seen written differently, the important thing is that an honest dialogue took place during the drafting of this legislation. Thus, when the Governor signed the bill this morning, this was not only an important victory for Missouri’s students, but also an important victory for collaboration.

While the charter expansion bill was a step forward for Missouri’s kids, there are a lot more we could be doing in Missouri to prepare students for success in the 21st century. For this reason, I am hopeful that Missouri’s teachers unions, administrators association, and school board members will accept our invitation to continue collaborating. If they do, I can assure you that at this time next year, Missouri’s students will have a lot to more to celebrate.

_______________________

Dear President Weingarten and President Van Roekel,

You have both said that we should look for ways to collaborate for the benefit of students, and it appears we may have such an opportunity. Both of your organizations, as well as many of ours, have agreed that the recent legislation in Connecticut represents a step in the right direction toward a goal that all of us share – making sure every child in this country receives a great education.

We are pleased that both of your organizations have described the reforms recently passed in Connecticut as a victory. These reforms include changes that will improve teacher evaluations, increase funding for public charter schools, help turn around failing schools, and expand access to pre-K programs. We particularly appreciate your support for:

–  Creating a commissioner’s network empowered to make meaningful changes to turn around failing schools.

–  Building a teacher evaluation system to be implemented statewide next year, and which includes evidence of student learning growth as a significant factor.

– Increasing funding for public charter schools to help bring school funding equity for all students in public schools.

We agree that these are common sense reforms, that they represent “a significant step toward improving Connecticut’s public education system” and that they can be part of a “national model” for improving our nation’s schools. Many states across the country are considering or have considered similar reforms, including Pennsylvania, California, Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa. But advocates in those states have often had trouble securing support for these reforms from your local unions, and we hope you that you will speak up in support of these important reforms and expand these opportunities to students all across the country.

We look forward to this new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.

Sincerely,

StudentsFirst
Democrats for Education Reform
Students for Education Reform
Hispanic CREO
Families for Excellent Schools
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Missouri Charter Public School Alliance
Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri
Missouri Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota Business Partnership
African American Leadership Forum
Charter School Partners
PennCAN
Students Matter
Padres Activos
Parents Advocate League

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