The Education Innovator #34
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The Education Innovator
 October 20, 2003 • Number 34
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What's inside...
Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation, Black Alliance for Educational Options, and Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options
What's New
Secretary Paige addresses educators at the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week event and a meeting of the Mississippi Association of Colleges; private schools apply to participate in Colorado's new voucher plan; the Mayor of Indianapolis issues 2003 Accountability Report on Mayor-Sponsored Charter Schools; Project for School Innovation launches a teacher-powered education reform initiative called "By Teachers for Teachers"; Education Trust will hold "Zap the Gap: Learning from the Frontier" conference; and Center for Education Reform to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a school reform conference.
Innovations in the News
Utah minority students' standardized test scores improved at twice the rate of their white and Asian peers; plus information on teacher quality, charter schools and school improvement.

Nonprofit Organizations to Provide Parents with Information on Opportunities under No Child Left Behind
With the enactment of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), parents whose children attend schools in need of improvement are given additional choices for their children's education. However, many of these parents are unaware of the options available to them and are not equipped with the tools to make educated choices for their children. One option is the ability to transfer a child out of a school in need of improvement to another public school in the district. Another option available to low-income parents is to enroll their child in free, after-school tutoring.

Three organizations have developed programs to address the need to inform parents of their options: the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation (GEO); the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), and the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (Hispanic CREO). All three are targeting families in large cities throughout the country.

The oldest of the three, GEO and its predecessor organization have worked since 1991 to make educational choice a reality for all families, regardless of ethnicity or income. The foundation has implemented community outreach and educational awareness programs, promoted options that empower families, and created new options. One option it has fostered is the 21st Century Charter School in Indianapolis, a free public school that features small school size in a downtown location, strong basic content, electronic portfolios, hands-on experiential projects, and required parent involvement (see Mayor Peterson's report on performance of this school and other charter schools in What's New). This fall, GEO also helped open a new charter school in Denver that is designed to meet the needs of high school students who have dropped out.

GEO will build on this record to mount expanded parent outreach programs in Indiana and Colorado. The project will aim to increase the number of parents who are knowledgeable of, and taking advantage of, their options under NCLB, and to increase the number of supplemental services providers in the cities. The project will feature a media campaign, a 1-800 number, and a website to give additional information about and access to NCLB and state-specific services.

In addition, GEO will distribute posters from the U.S. Department of Education on supplemental educational services through community organizations in the 50 largest cities in the country.

BAEO initiated its first campaign to raise awareness about the need for more quality educational options for African American and low-income families in 2000. The Alliance advertised in leading national publications and on television and radio in select local areas. Today, BAEO provides information on a broad range of options, including charter schools, privately financed private scholarship programs, homeschooling, and tax-supported vouchers. The Alliance has developed "Project Clarion," a high-quality communications and media campaign designed for low-income black parents in Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Dallas. BAEO hopes to demystify the provisions of NCLB and work with school districts to simplify the application processes for parents and community members to transfer students to other schools and provide supplemental services.

The Hispanic CREO was founded in the summer of 2001 and has since been dedicated to improving educational outcomes for Hispanic children. Through a new initiative, CREO aims to help 18,000 at-risk children in five urban communities with large Hispanic populations: Miami, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Camden (NJ). Part of its plan is to establish parent, community, and school resource operations in these cities to increase public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the educational options and services available under NCLB. The project is developing Spanish language communication tools and will disseminate the information through Spanish language outlets.

GEO, BAEO, and Hispanic CREO all received Fund for the Improvement of Education grants in 2003. These grants are administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. For more information about


What's New
Secretary Rod Paige outlined the education system for all students.
Secretary of Education Rod Paige outlined how the educational system for all students can be strengthened through rigorous courses in math and science when he addressed the educators at the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology Week event at the University of Texas-Pan American. To read his remarks, see (Oct. 14)

Secretary Paige cited progress in the education of black students.
Secretary Paige cited progress in the education of black students, but noted that the achievement gap has widened when he spoke to the Mississippi Association of Colleges in Jackson, MS. In his speech, he cited a new Department report, Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks. To read the Secretary's speech, see To read the report, see (Oct. 14)

Deadline for private schools in Colorado to file for vouchers.
October 1st was the deadline for private schools to apply to serve students in Colorado under the state's school voucher program. Eighty-one private schools applied to serve students in the Denver Public School system alone. For more information on this program, see

Indianapolis 2003 accountability report.
Mayor Bart Peterson of Indianapolis issued the 2003 Accountability Report on Mayor-Sponsored Charter Schools, an in-depth analysis of the performance of the first three charter schools he authorized. (Sept. 2003)

Project for school innovation is launching.
The Project for School Innovation is launching a teacher-powered education reform initiative called the By Teachers for Teachers series. The Project for School Innovation is a Boston-based nonprofit that brings educators together from all types of public schools-district, charter, and pilot. For more information, go to: (Oct. 9)

Education Trust will hold its conference on November 6-8, 2003.
The Education Trust will hold its "Zap the Gap: Learning from the Frontier" conference on November 6-8, 2003. The conference features Secretary Rod Paige as a keynote speaker and will address both No Child Left Behind and the places where on-the-ground innovations are making significant, measurable progress in raising achievement and closing gaps. For more information, go to (Oct. 7)

The Center for Education Reform is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The Center for Education Reform is celebrating its 10th anniversary on October 29-30, 2003 with a conference on The Best of Education Reform from the last 10 years and The Best That's Yet to Come in the next 10 years. For more information, go to (Oct. 7).

Deputy Under Secretary Nina Rees will testify today for the U.S. House Subcommittee on Education Reform in Greenville, SC.
Deputy Under Secretary Nina Rees will testify today at a field hearing for the U.S. House Subcommittee on Education Reform in Greenville, South Carolina entitled "No Child Left Behind's Education Choice Provisions: Are States and School Districts Giving Parents the Information They Need?" To read her testimony: download files Word (35K)


Innovations in the News

Achievement Gap
Over the past six years in Utah, African American and Hispanic students' standardized test scores in reading and math improved at twice the rate of their white and Asian peers. The trend indicates the district is improving the academic achievement of its most at-risk students without jeopardizing the achievement of others. [More-The Salt Lake Tribune] (Oct 8)

Teacher Quality
Rafe Esquith, a fifth-grade teacher in Los Angeles, teaches his students Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and algebra in a school day that goes from 6:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. [More-Washington Post] (Oct. 14)

Charter Schools
Emerson Charter School, located in downtown Portland, OR, is the latest option for local families with young children who are looking for an unconventional way to stay in the public school system. [More-The Oregonian] (Oct 8)

School Improvement
An ongoing effort to improve the quality of math instruction in grades 6-12 in the Philadelphia region has gotten a boost-a $12.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.[More-The Philadelphia Inquirer] (Oct 9)

In the October 6th issue of the Innovator, the introductory sentence to the piece on virtual learning in Florida schools misquoted the original article. The complete sentence from the original article is as follows: "Statewide, just 15 percent of virtual students take all their classes online." [More-The Herald Tribune] (Sept. 29)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011