Press Release

Charlotte, Raleigh Events To Launch Charter-School Tour

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CHARLOTTE – National experts on education reform will speak Monday and Tuesday at luncheons in Charlotte and Raleigh to discuss charter schools and parental choice in education – issues likely to play in key role in political debates during the 2004 election season.

Both events will be hosted by the North Carolina Education Alliance, which is launching its Fall 2004 statewide tour to discuss “Charter Schools in North Carolina: Innovation in Education.” Events in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Asheville, and other communities will follow later in September.

Nina S. Rees, the Deputy Under Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, will headline the noon event on Monday, September 13 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In her presentation, Rees will highlight the latest research findings and media on the charter school movement, including recent national and local headlines suggesting charter schools are not keeping pace academically with traditional public schools. Rees will address an audience of education reformers, providing a hard-hitting analysis and rebuttal of studies released this summer by the American Federation of Teachers and Duke University’s Helen Ladd questioning the performance of charter school students in North Carolina and beyond.

At the Department of Education, Rees provides leadership for federal efforts targeting innovative education practices, including supervision of all federal charter school initiatives. In addition, Rees oversees the administration of approximately 28 federal grant programs and coordinates the implementation of public-school choice provisions of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act.

Rees previously served as a deputy assistant for domestic policy in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and was a key adviser to the Bush presidential campaign, helping to draft the “No Child Left Behind” education blueprint for the Bush-Cheney transition team. Rees has been a frequent media commentator on education issues, appearing on CBS’ “The Early Show” and “Evening News,” CNN’s “Inside Politics” and “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor,” and “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” In addition, Rees’ opinions and articles have appeared in national print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Tuesday’s event at noon at North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh features Jeanne Allen. She founded the Center for Education Reform, a Washington-based organization, in 1993 to provide sound leadership on education reform issues. She is also the author of The School Reform Handbook: How to Improve Your Schools and a frequent commentator in both print and broadcast media. Allen has appeared on shows ranging from “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” and NBC’s “Today Show” to “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS and “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News.

NCEA Director Lindalyn Kakadelis, a former schoolteacher and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board member, will follow the September 13th and 14th events with a far-ranging, two-month education tour of many North Carolina communities. Speaking about educational innovation and parental choice to civic clubs, educational institutions, taxpayer associations, and neighborhood groups, Kakadelis will address the latest trends and research in the charter school movement and will highlight the NCEA’s newest education releases, a policy report titled Charter Schools in North Carolina: Innovation in Education, and a parents’ guide, A Choice for Children.

NCEA was founded in 1998 as a special project of the John Locke Foundation, a Raleigh-based public-policy organization. It publishes reports and studies on major issues affecting elementary and secondary education in North Carolina, hosts a frequently updated archive and web portal on school-reform issues at www.nceducationalliance.org, and participates in meetings and forums across the state to discuss such as issues as testing and accountability, academic standards, sound curriculum, performance-based compensation, competition, innovation, and parental choice.

Updates on tour dates and locations will be posted regularly on the NCEA web site, as will copies of the two new releases on North Carolina charter schools. Contact Kakadelis at 704-231-9767 or [email protected] for more information.

Upcoming events for the month of September include:

• September 13 at 12:00 p.m. The Westin Hotel
Hosted by NCEA
Charlotte

• September 14 at 12:00 p.m., McKimmon Center
North Carolina State University
Raleigh

• September 17 at 12:00 p.m., MaMa’s Restaurant
Highway 311
Walnut Cove (Stokes County)

• September 20 at 7:00 p.m., Greensboro Academy
4049 U.S. Highway 220 North/Battleground Ave.
Greensboro

• September 23 at 12:00 p.m., Golden Corral Restaurant
University Drive
Winston-Salem

• September 29 at 12:00 p.m., Oyster Bay Seafood
125 John Earl Street
Hillsborough

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