Four Florida Schools Reach The Finals in CER's "Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter School!" Video Contest

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Indian River Charter High School, Vero Beach; Inlet Grove Community High School, Riviera Beach; Rising Leaders Academy, Panama City; and SLAM Academy, Miami; four of the ten finalists in The Center for Education Reform (CER) sponsored “Hey John Oliver Back Off My Charter School” video contest.

Indian River Charter High School, Vero Beach; Inlet Grove Community High School, Riviera Beach; Rising Leaders Academy, Panama City; and SLAM Academy, Miami; four of the ten finalists in The Center for Education Reform (CER) sponsored “Hey John Oliver Back Off My Charter School” video contest.

The contest was launched by CER in September in response to a segment of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, hosted by comedian John Oliver, that unfairly criticized charter schools.

“John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is always pretty over the top,” said CER Founder and CEO, Jeanne Allen, “but unfortunately in this case it was also pretty unfair to all the cheater schools that are doing excellent jobs.

“As we said then, Mr. Oliver could have focused on the great work being done by charters all across the country, or on the thousands of individual success stories charters have fostered. But instead, he criticized the very idea of charter schools in every way he could, setting off a negative media frenzy and arming opponents with a lot of distorted characterizations they could use to oppose charter school cap lifts, and spur calls for moratoriums on charter schools.

“So,” Allen explained, “to bring some balance to Oliver’s ‘report’ we asked schools, parents, teachers and students to produce a short video showing why they chose to attend their charter school, and why innovative and diverse schools can better serve the needs of students and communities. The results of the contest are extraordinary. Once you see the video content and hear the messages, you really understand how much these schools mean to kids, their families and communities.”

CER received 250 video entries from 32 states across the country. The videos were judged on creativity, originality, message, and impact. Of the remaining six finalists; two are from California: Natomas Charter School, Sacramento, and Science and Tech Academy at Knights Landing, Knights Landing; two are from Illinois: Gary Comer College Prep, Chicago, and Southland College Prep Charter High School, Richton Park; one is from Colorado: STRIVE Prep-Smart Academy, Denver; and one is from Tennessee: Purpose Preparatory Academy Charter School, Nashville.

The winner of the contest will be announced on November 14th, so as not to be overshadowed by the elections, and will receive a $100,000 donation prize.

About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.

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Michelle Tigani
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