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Watch Episodes of Education Reform News
May 16, 2013
Education Reform News, airing on CAN-TV in Chicago, focuses on pressing education issues facing Chicago’s school system and impacting families everywhere. The goal is to bring the community real stories, of real people, making a real difference for our students.
You can watch the episodes after they air here:
Episode 1: What is Education Reform?
Episode 2: Charter Schools
Stay tuned. We'll add more episodes as they air on Can-TV.
Education Reform News, Hosted by DFER IL Director, to Air on CAN TV
May 3, 2013
Devin Boyle | 202.445.0416 | Devin@dfer.org
Rebeca Nieves Huffman | 773.727.5408 | Rebeca@dfer.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Series, Education Reform News, Premieres This Saturday on CAN TV
Show to Be Hosted by Democrats for Education Reform IL State Director
Chicago, IL, May 3rd, 2013 - Democrats for Education Reform Illinois (DFER-IL) announced today that the new series, Education Reform News, hosted by DFER-IL Director Rebeca Nieves Huffman, will air this Saturday at 11:30 AM (CST) on CAN TV.
“This is an exciting moment for DFER-IL and the education reform movement as a whole,” said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. “Education reform has been such an important issue in Chicago and across the nation. With the launch of Education Reform News, we can now bring the conversation to living rooms throughout the city.”
The first season of Education Reform News will run for six episodes on CAN TV starting on Saturday, May 4th at 11:30 AM (CST). Each 30-minute episode will focus on pressing education issues facing Chicago’s school system and impacting families everywhere, with the goal of celebrating the educators, parents, and various leaders fueling the education reform movement.
“There are so many heroes in our community and throughout the country doing phenomenal work for the students that society has historically written off, ” said Rebeca Nieves Huffman. “We now have the opportunity to share real stories, of real people, making a real difference through education reform, in the hopes that the viewers will take part in the movement to provide a high-quality education for all students—regardless of their background.”
About Democrats for Education Reform
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political action committee with 13 state offices whose mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. DFER operates at all levels of government to educate elected officials and support reform-minded candidates for public office.
Future Democrat for Education Reform - Berto Aguayo
April 11, 2013
Berto with Juan Rangel
By LaForce Baker, Manager, Education Reform Alumni
Cutberto Aguayo is a freshman at Dominican University in River Forest, IL, which is home to about 2,000 students. He recently won the presidency of his student government—an unprecedented feat for a freshman in college. And, it’s even more impressive once you know his story.
Cutberto Aguayo, better known as “Berto,” graduated from UNO’s Garcia Public Charter High School on Chicago’s Southside and is the first in his family to go to college. However, prior to enrolling at UNO, Berto was not on track to graduate. He was failing in school and was a member of a gang. Berto’s mom was worried for his future because he was not getting the discipline and support needed to live up to his full potential at his local public school. So, she enrolled him at UNO, a school she believed would help him succeed. And, it did just that.
Once at UNO, Berto’s grades drastically improved and he left the gang. He began to think about college as a part of his future. UNO provided him with the guidance and support he needed to apply, and with hard work and dedication Berto was accepted to Dominican University.
Keeping it real during National School Choice Week
January 29, 2013
By Rebeca Nieves Huffman, DFER IL State Director
This week the spotlight on the demand and excitement for school choice intensifies as parents, teachers, students, and leaders across all sectors grab their bright yellow scarves in celebration of National School Choice Week. As I type this in Chicago, I can’t help but be excited for the attention this week will bring to the need for excellent school choices not only in our city and state, but throughout the country.
In celebration of National School Choice Week Education Reform Now decided to pull together a five-part video series that touches on the problems we face in our city’s schools and the importance of high-quality school choice options to help propel our kids forward.
The first video is of Dr. Howard Fuller speaking to a group of community leaders and pastors at Johnson College Prep about the impact of education reform and school choice in the African American Community. Watch it here.
The rest of the series will be shared throughout the week on the Put Students First Facebook page. Stay tuned.
For the last 10 years, Rebeca has worked across the country for organizations with national scopes and local reach into many states, so she is thrilled to apply her national experience in her home turf as the Illinois State Director of Democrats for Education Reform. Read more about Rebeca here.
The Challenges and Promise of School Turnarounds in Chicago
October 25, 2012
By Rebeca Nieves Huffman, DFER Illinois State Director
On Monday, Education Reform Now hosted its inaugural Policy Forum focused on the School Turnaround Strategy: “Improving Chronically Low-Performing Schools.” Members of the community and elected officials gathered with school leaders as well as local and national turnaround strategy experts to look at the data, but most importantly, hear from the people on the front lines leading the transformation charge.
School turnaround isn’t a new strategy for school improvement in Chicago. When a chronically low performing school is ‘turned around’ an entirely new team — everyone from the custodian to the principal — is brought in and managed one of two ways: 1) by the district’s Office of School Improvement; or, 2) by contracting an outside school operator, like the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL).
Chicago Public Schools is in a dire situation. Between the $1 billion budget deficit, a long list of chronically low performing schools, and the underutilization of school buildings (there are 600K seats for about 400K students), “school actions” are on everyone’s minds. When a school is targeted for an “action” one of a few things can happen: 1) closure; 2) consolidation; 3) phase out; or, 4) turnaround. Since turnarounds are probably one of the most misunderstood school actions in the community we decided to hold this policy forum to have an honest conversation with leaders on what’s working and what needs to be improved.
Throughout the discussion, attendees touched on several key misconceptions on school turnarounds, such as:
- A turnaround school isn’t a school closure. The adults are replaced but the students stay;
- The staff that is let go can reapply for their positions; AND
- Turnaround schools across Chicago are filled with committed diverse staff and reflect the communities they serve. For example, the Academy for Urban School Leaders (AUSL), makes it a priority to develop a diverse, excellent team of educators. 90% of AUSL principals are African American and their school leaders in training are 84% people of color.
The biggest takeaway from the forum was that while the issues surrounding school turnarounds are complex there is a lot of promise.
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