Spring Successes for School Choice Advocacy Across the Country

Reposted with permission from the National Coalition for Public School Options:

Summer is just one day away which means two important things for Public School Options:

  1. School is out and the kids are home in all the glory and agony that entails.

  2. State legislative sessions across the country have mostly wrapped up for the year.

Here is a rundown of some of our successes. I wish you all the best of summers!

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Teacher Appreciation Week

by Colleen Cook - Reposted with permission from the National Coalition for Public School Options

As Teacher Appreciation Week winds down, I wanted to be certain that I took time to acknowledge the teachers I’ve had in my life who have had an impact on me not just in my childhood, but as I navigate adult life.

Temple Grandin once said, “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher”.  I could not agree more, I find myself repeating this often.

Thankfully, I have had some good teachers in my life.  When it comes to classifying who was good, it isn’t always the content or subject they taught that comes to mind, but more their example and life skills I took away while watching them in their classroom.

In first grade, I was taught by Sister Victoria, she could be stern and had very high expectations, but the memories I have of her are all pleasant. She set boundaries and standards, and that was something I needed in my life.  It is her example that I try to emulate with my own children.

Mr. Hocker was my junior high woodshop teacher.  It was always amazing to take a piece of wood and — with his instruction and guidance — create.  He always had fun and never doubted my skills. I may not have been the best craftsman in the class, but he was always reassuring. If he could only see some of the projects I’ve completed with the recall of his junior high instructions!

Mr. Martell was also a teacher who had a positive impact on my life. He was my softball coach and always pushed me to be better.  He was a positive male role model in my life at a very critical time. The encouragement, the correction, and the expectations were what I needed and I am grateful for his positive impact.

My most memorable teacher was Ms. Weir.  She was relatively new to our school and I had her for speech. Ms. Weir was always kind, professional, and uplifting.  She believed in me and supported me. She did not judge me. She was someone I looked up to and aspired to emulate. Her ability to see me for who I could be has always encouraged me to be better.    

I am grateful for all the educators I’ve had throughout my life.  Each one has left an eternal impression. I know that my children have had their own Sister Victoria and Ms. Weir, and I am grateful for the educators who continue to do so much more than provide content. Through their examples they are shaping our future and making a difference.

Colleen Cook is a board member of the National Coalition for Public School Options and a long-time school choice advocate.

Time to Rethink High-Stakes Testing

Standardized, high-stakes testing has quickly become a lighting rod issue for parents, teachers, administrators, and lawmakers. Even the media have agreed that schools are spending too much time teaching “to the test.” No matter your ideology, it seems nearly everyone agrees we need to pause testing, take a step back and reevaluate what these tests are accomplishing and what the results are being used for.

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Fair Funding for Virtual Students

The Funding Subcommittee of the State Education Reform Commission has chosen  to recommend to specifically reduce the amount of funds that virtual school students receive from 66% of traditional schools down to only 50%, a reduction of over $6.5MM, or nearly $475 per GCA student. With funding increasing overall for the vast majority of school districts in Georgia under the new system, this would actually increase the disparity between virtual students and other public school students receive

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GFPVE Capitol Day 2014

Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education is hosting our annual Capitol Day on March 3, 2014.  For the past two years over 700 students and parents have met in Atlanta to ask their local legislators to support virtual schools.This year our event will feature great guest speakers, a Scavenger Hunt at the Capitol for students, free lunch for the first 500 RSVPs, and free t-shirts for the first 250 students that arrive for registration the day of the event.  For more information, please visit www.gavirtualed.org/resources and RSVP today. 

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