Yes, We 50CAN!

For years now, Eduflack has written about how real, meaningful educational change happens at the state level.  Yes, the Feds have the bully pulpit, as evidenced by today’s expected White House announcement to provide waivers to those state willing to play ball with regard to AYP and student achievement.  But it ultimately falls to individual states to set the agenda, develop the policies, fund the plan, and implement real improvements with fidelity.

Programs like Race to the Top help jumpstart the process, but after the last check is cashed, it falls to those governors, state departments of education, and state boards of education to follow through.  And don’t forget about the superintendents, school boards, teachers, and advocates who make it happen.
Even the most well-meaning state, though, can use a little support, assistance, encouragement, and, if necessary, someone to hold feet to the fire.  
Yesterday was the official launch of just such a broker, with the formal unveiling of 50CAN, the 50-state campaign for achievement now.  50CAN’s new website is chock full of information on what is possible when it comes to real, state-level education reform.  It also spotlights four state CAN organizations — Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island — which have been built upon the groundbreaking work of ConnCAN in Connecticut.
In rolling out 50CAN’s new website, 50CAN President and Co-Founder Marc Porter Magee says it best:

50CAN’s mission is to identify and support local leaders who build movements within their states to ensure that every child has access to a great public school.  As 50CAN board member and National Council of La Raza Senior Vice President Delia Pompa says on our new website, “The job going forward is to create a larger podium for those who are guided by the interests of children.”

That’s what 50CAN is all about. We provide amazing local leaders with the tools to build powerful advocacy movements in their state, including national-caliber communications and research such as websites, lobbying strategies, policy expertise and social media savvy. By empowering local leaders, we are helping create a lasting, research-grounded education reform movement capable of tackling 50 sets of education policy challenges in 50 states.

The website and 50CAN’s twitter feed (@fiftycan) are well worth the look if you are serious education reform.  And the work being done through the CAN network is where the lasting state-based school improvement work will be percolating first and offering real longevity.

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