Friday, September 12, 2008

Prominent Education Reformers Call for Longer School Days, Performance-Driven Teacher Pay, Expanded Public School Choice

Here's the 1st press release about the DFER event:
Prominent Education Reformers Call for Longer School Days, Performance-Driven Teacher Pay, Expanded Public School Choice

Sharpton, Klein, Booker, Fenty, Romer: "Let go of outdated orthodoxies."

Last update: 12:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 24, 2008
DENVER, Aug 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- America's leading voices on education reform joined in Denver to call on Democratic leaders to steer public education in a new direction. On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, more than two dozen progressive elected officials, education reform advocates, school leaders and civil rights groups from across the country gathered at the Denver Art Museum to release the Ed Challenge for Change, which highlights new ideas for closing America's devastating achievement gap.
"An entrepreneurial explosion has occurred over the last few years in public education," said Joe Williams, Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform, the organization responsible for conceiving the Ed Challenge for Change. "The creativity exhibited by this new group of educators is helping raise student achievement, empower teachers, close the minority learning gap, and bring hope to places where it's been in very short supply. It's a movement that we believe Sen. Obama and other Democrats have taken to heart, and we hope to see these reforms increase in schools across America during the Obama Administration."
Recognizing the "positive perfect storm" for education reform in America, participants, including Rev. Al Sharpton (Education Equality Project), Michelle Rhee (Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools) and Delia Pompa (National Council of La Raza), identified the following core principals and priorities for reforming federal education policies:
Universal access to quality early childhood education programs. We must make bold new investments in early education programs, which have been proven to make a critical difference in leveling the playing field for students in high-poverty areas.
Expanded charter school access. We should provide parents with meaningful public school choice for all students, while also making clear that choice comes with responsibility: parents must be partners in helping our young people become disciplined students and concerned citizens.
Improved accountability measures. In order to close the achievement gap, we must set high standards and demand accountability from not just teachers, but also students and parents, principals, education schools and researchers, and policymakers.
Extended school days and school years. Research has proven that more time in the classroom is essential to helping children who are falling behind to catch up and become proficient. We must make a commitment to providing extended school days and school years for students who need it and parents who choose it.
New teacher recruitment strategies. We must transform teaching into a profession that is competitive in compensation, continuously providing growth opportunities, and focused on accountability and producing results.
New funding allocation. In order to overcome the education deficits in our poorest districts, we must provide new pay incentives to attract the best teachers and principals to the lowest-performing schools, while also expanding access to high-quality pre-school, after school and summer programs.
A full list of participants is below. For more information on Democrats for Education Reform, including a full copy of the manifesto from Sunday's discussions, visit
    Participants:     Joe Williams, Executive Director, Democrats For Education Reform     Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Schools     Adrian Fenty, Mayor, Washington D.C.     Cory Booker, Mayor, Newark     Federico Pena, Former Secretary of Energy     Roy Romer, Chairman, Strong American Schools, former Colorado governor     Rev. Al Sharpton, Education Equality Project     Michelle Rhee, Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools     Barbara O'Brien, Lt. Gov., Colorado     Peter Groff, President, Colorado State Senate     Jonathan Alter, Newsweek     Michael Bennet, Superintendent, Denver Public Schools     John Merrow, PBS     John King, Uncommon Schools     Diane Piche, Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights     Andrew Rotherham, Education Sector     Delia Pompa, National Council of La Raza     Amy Wilkins, Education Trust     Larry Rosenstock, High Tech High, San Diego     Jennifer Gonzales, Metro Organizations for People      Sponsored by:     Democrats for Education Reform     Sam and Nancy Gary     The Education Equality Project     Daniels Fund     Piton Foundation     Center for African American Policy at the University of Denver     New Schools Venture Fund     Education Reform Now     Education Trust     Ed in '08     Progressive Policy Institute     School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado     National Association of Charter School Authorizers     National Council of La Raza     Public Education & Business Coalition     Terry Minger, Gary-Williams Company     Massachusetts, 2020     Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound     Citizens Commission on Civil Rights     Center for American Progress     Donnell-Kay Foundation     Colorado League of Charter Schools     A+ Denver     Colorado Children's Campaign     PICO National Network     Metro Organizations for People     Padres Unidos     Denver School of Science and Technology     The Odyssey School     GetSmart Schools     Denver Venture School     Center for Policy Entrepreneurship     Manual High School     West Denver Preparatory Charter     AXL Academy 


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