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Game Changers Newsletter title
September 14, 2011                   Vol 2, Issue 15             


Education Sector Executive Director Richard Lee Colvin is our guest columnist this edition.


Marches on state capitols! Recall campaigns! Calls for President Obama to fire Arne Duncan! Actors and comedians coming to the rescue of beleaguered teachers! Barrages of tweets claiming education reformers are corporate stooges who want to make billionaires even richer, one student at a time!


Politics, as the saying goes, ain't beanbag. Neither is education reform-as most of those active in the PIE Network know only too well. Striving for consensus and avoiding conflict-two impulses prized by the make-nice culture of public education-haven't brought about significant improvements in student outcomes. But how much conflict can be endured before it undermines political, community, and educator support for reform?


In Wisconsin, for example, twice as many teachers retired in the first half of this year compared to last year. Did the salary hit due to an increase in their pension costs and the narrowing of the scope of collective bargaining drive good teachers out? Will similar salary cuts in Michigan and New Jersey have the same effect?


How should we think about the polarization and heated rhetoric around education reform? Is it evidence reformers are making a difference? Or does it impede progress by alienating the unions, which are not going to go away?


There are lots of questions for reformers to answer as they think about the tactics they should use. Obviously, the political context matters a lot. Republicans dominate in many of the states where we've seen significant change. But not all.  


State teachers unions also vary a lot. Illinois has had several strong and reasonable statewide teacher union leaders. Wisconsin's union is widely known to be staunchly anti-reform, at least until recently. Did Scott Walker win or lose in taking on the unions? Did Illinois give away too much? Do the media still matter? What other factors should reformers consider?


Richard Colvin will be moderating a panel on the topic of "Going Jugular" at the PIE Network Fifth Annual Policy Summit later this month in Seattle.  


PIE Network Announces Eddies! Nominees      

EddiesWe've just announced the top nominees for PIE Network's first Eddies! Awards, recognizing the best in education advocacy.  Where else can you watch "Leaders and Laggards" duke it out with "The Widget Effect," "Ed School Essential" and "Stretching the School Dollar?"


The Eddies! also recognizes game-changing state policies--not just the reform legislation in states like Indiana and Illinois that have been getting national attention, but lesser-known reforms that will have a huge impact in their states.


Because advocacy work is all about collaboration, we're especially excited about the award recognizing coalitions-- reformers in Colorado, Washington State, Delaware, and Illinois have all been recognized by their peers.


And perhaps the award that is most important to us at PIEn is the MVP, which applauds the person who has gone above and beyond to support their network colleagues and advance reform not just in their own state, but across the country.  SCORE's David Mansouri, Advance Illinois' Robin Steans, ConnCAN's Alex Johnston, Foundation for Florida's Future's Patricia Levesque, and Rodel's Paul Herdman each received many votes from across the country.  


The Eddies! will be awarded on Sept. 27th during the PIE Network Fifth Annual Policy Summit in Seattle. It promises to a festive evening with M.C. Rick Hess.


Congratulations to all the nominees and thanks to everyone who took part in the voting process. Read the complete

list of nominees here.

And if you won't be at the summit, you can still join in via Twitter - we'll be using the hashtag #PIE11.


Education Sector seeks a Senior Policy Analyst for key ares of its K-12 work.

Voices 4 Delaware Education is looking for an Executive Director  in Wilmington or Dover.


SCORE is seeking a Director of Policy and Research  in Nashville.


is hiring a Director of Policy and Research

Stand for Children has a number of openings across the country.

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In This Issue
"Eddies!" Nominees Named
In the News
Research and Analysis

In the News

Patricia Levesque of the Foundation for Florida's Future reacts to the lawsuit filed today by the state teacher's union against a new law requiring merit pay.  She says SB 736 benefits both teachers and students.


California ended its legislative session last Friday having approved SB 547, which would create a new "education quality index.Legislators also passed

the California Dream Act, which would give illegal immigrants more education benefits than any other state.


Jana Carlise is the new executive director of Partnership for Learning in Washington State, previously serving as policy manager.    


Stu Silberman began his work as leader of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence this month. He discussed the complexity of education reform in Kentucky.  


Colorado's third-grade literacy crisis is the subject of an op-ed by Colorado Succeeds' chairman. 

Following Indiana schools chief Tony Bennett's State of Education speech, Stand for Children's Linda Erlinger said there is a lot of promise ahead.     

Education Trust Midwest urges more classroom time as Michigan school leaders get little support for an earlier start.       


"Our Students Deserve Better" is a new video from Stand for Children featuring staff members from across the country. 


ConnCAN's Alex Johnston applauds the selection of charter school founder Stefan Pryor as Connecticut's Education Commissioner.   


SCORE will announce the winners of its first annual SCORE prize

on Sept. 20th in Nashville, recognizing Tennessee schools with dramatic gains.        


The Dallas Morning News talks to Stand for Children's Jerel Booker about how his group plans to mobilize Texas parents.


Research and Analysis

The Education Trust: Getting it Right: Crafting Federal Accountability for Higher Student Performance and a Stronger America

Fordham Institute: Teaching about 9/11 in 2011: What Our Children Need to Know 


Hunt Institute: Impacting the Future (state strategies for implementing Common Core) 


Partnership for Learning:
Student-Based Budgeting, Revamping School Funding in Washington to Improve Performance 


 PIE Network Fifth Annual Policy Summit, Seattle, Sept. 27-28 (invitation only)

2011 Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform, Oct. 13, San Francisco, Foundation for Excellence in Education

Vision 2015 Annual Conference 

Oct. 18, Newark, Delaware


The Education Trust 2011 Annual Conference  

Nov. 3-5, Washington, D.C.


The next edition of Game Changers from the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network will appear September 28th.  If you have an item you'd like to share, please contact us.