The Class Of 2019: Introducing the Network’s Newest Members (Part One)
June 14, 2019

The Network’s newest members include a range of single-state advocacy organizations, state charter associations, and organizations supported by national networks like Teach Plus and Educators for Excellence. We’re also excited to welcome two national partners. While 12 organizations make up the class of 2019, they have long been at work in state capitols and communities. These teams bring expertise in engaging parents and educators in advocacy and policymaking, building partnerships with state policymakers and the business community, and supporting charter schools.

THE NETWORK NOW CONNECTS MORE THAN 90 STATE ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS AND CHARTER SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS AND 24 NATIONAL POLICY PARTNERS—IN TOTAL REPRESENTING 33 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Throughout the month of June, we’re excited to introduce the Network’s newest members and partners, beginning with the six organizations below. 

We look forward to introducing six more organizations later in June, including: Ohio Excels, Opportunity 180, Educators for Excellence Boston, WeRaiseNJ, Georgia Charter Schools Association, and The Hunt Institute.

Meanwhile, you can follow this Twitter list to see a real-time feed of member and partner activity. Also, make sure you’re subscribed to our bi-weekly Game Changers email to follow significant policy advances across the country.

Connecticut Council for Education Reform

Shannon Marimon, Executive Director

Connecticut Council For Education Reform (CCER) is a nonprofit organization that began in 2010 when Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered the creation of an education commission; the commission members—who were tasked with forming a plan to help close Connecticut’s achievement gap—deemed the work so valuable that a year later they formed a nonprofit to ensure the plan would be brought to life.

Many tenets of that plan have come alive through a wide range of policy advocacy and education programming. Recent policy efforts have focused on increasing student access to computer science learning, fostering reciprocity for out-of-state educators, improving efforts to recruit educators of color, adopting Connecticut Core Standards, redefining high-quality professional learning for educators, crafting efficient alternate routes to educator certification, and improving the educator evaluation and support process. Recent programming includes a year-long Literacy Leadership Institute designed to offer school principals a community of practice wherein they can explore ways to implement rigor in reading instruction.

Looking ahead, CCER will continue working in support of its mission: to advance academic excellence and career-connected opportunities for all public school students in Connecticut through collaboration with business, civic and education leaders.

Massachusetts Parents United

Keri Rodrigues, Mom-in-Chief

Massachusetts Parents United (MPU) was founded on the belief that the voice of every parent and child deserves to be heard. Approaching its role with love and compassion, MPU is committed to leveling the playing field and changing the balance of power for families and children.

With thousands of members across the state, MPU is supporting parents as they engage with local, district, and state leaders to provide safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, food safety, and high quality education.

Successes include leading the fight for the Breakfast After the Bell program, resulting in 283 schools feeding more than 100,000 children in high poverty districts, working with parents at Orchard Gardens K-8 school to demand the city of Boston remove needles from school grounds, and supporting the Alma del Mar Charter School to obtain 594 additional seats.

500 MPU parents converged on the Massachusetts State House to make sure that the distribution of $1-$2 billion in education funds ends up in classrooms where it is most needed, and is used effectively.

They are also working on a Boston-centered campaign for educational equity, powered by families concerned about the future of education in the city. Their goal is to gather data about the current level of understanding of challenges facing the district, spread awareness about gaping inequities, and build engagement around potential solutions.

National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools

Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director

In response to a compelling need in the charter sector, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (the Center) proactively works with states, authorizers, charter and special education advocates, and other stakeholders to improve access, create dynamic learning opportunities, and address barriers that may impede charter schools enrolling and effectively educating students with disabilities.

The Center’s work is guided by four priorities:

  • Document and communicate vital facts to policy makers, advocates, and authorizers about the status and progress of students with disabilities in charter schools;
  • Inform policy at state and federal levels to address barriers and create opportunities for charter schools to enroll and provide effective instructional programs and individualized support to students with disabilities
  • Develop coalitions and form essential partnerships to both protect student rights and honor the core tenets of the charter sector: choice, autonomy, and accountability
  • Build capacity for excellence that translates to exemplary supports and services for students with disabilities in the charter sector.

Public Charter Schools of New Mexico

Matt Pahl, Executive Director

Public Charter Schools of New Mexico supports and champions New Mexico’s charter schools. They have advocated for a high bar amongst authorizers for charter schools, as well as setting a separate and higher bar for virtual charter schools. Leaders are working to actively provide families with information needed to meet their student’s needs. They are currently developing a tool to articulate charter school performance and are working to align the application window for charters across New Mexico—all designed to provide families with information to make the best educational choices.

Teach Plus Nevada

Alex Bybee, Nevada State Director

Teach Plus Nevada is devoted to empowering excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that advance equity, opportunity, and student success. Their work is driven by the needs that practitioners have identified as the highest leverage points to driving equity in the system and elevating the teaching profession.

Currently, Teach Plus Nevada is supporting their inaugural cohort of 19 Teaching Policy Fellows from across the state. These Fellows have led impact and raised awareness on three key issues in Nevada’s 2019 legislative session including improvements to the state’s teacher evaluation system, the creation of educator career pathways, and modernizing the funding formula for public schools. Teach Plus Nevada launches its second cohort of teachers for a localized Clark County Teaching Policy Fellowship in July with 17 new teachers joining and three from the inaugural cohort continuing on as Senior Policy Fellows.

Tennesseans for Student Success

Adam Lister, President & CEO

Tennesseans for Student Success is committed to building on Tennessee’s historic gains in public education by ensuring more students graduate prepared for their futures with more opportunities for success than those coming before them.

They are currently working to support the implementation of an assessment aligned to the state’s K-12 academic standards to accurately measure student achievement; support an accountability system that incorporates student achievement and academic growth to improve instruction in the classroom; and support alternative charter school authorizers to promote innovation and increase the number of high-quality seats across Tennessee.

Stay tuned for more details on more of the Network’s newest members and partners, including: Ohio Excels, Opportunity 180, Educators for Excellence Boston, WeRaiseNJ, Georgia Charter Schools Association, and The Hunt Institute.

You can find a complete list of members (here) and partners (here).


    Ashley Schmidt

    Ashley is PIE Network's Senior Director of Member Engagement & Communications


    Leave a response

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *