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Spacey In Seattle: Muddled Reaction To Charter Law Decision

Egged on by hyperbolic media headlines, teacher union chiefs and their anti-reform surrogates declared the Washington state charter school law unconstitutional, treating it as the kiss of death to innovative educational solutions in the Evergreen State. However, the ruling actually upholds the law’s constitutionality, albeit not to its fullest, which no doubt sets up an appeal decision in an attempt to satisfy one side or the other.

But aside from that, their declarations were completely accurate.

We would have paid to see Diane Ravitch jumping for joy thinking the charter school law was unconstitutional, only to scale back the celebration in an intellectually profound blog post partially entitled, “figure it out yourself.” (But we’d only fork over a few dollars, definitely not as much as the $29 million in union dues the WEA collected in 2010.)

According to leading interpretations of the judgment, the law itself is constitutional, allowing for the approval of charter schools to move forward in 2014. But the judge also ruled charter schools don’t fit the definition of a “common school” stipulated in the state constitution, which could present a barrier to receiving facilities funding from the state budget.

At the end of the day, all of this represents the feeble attempt at which the teacher unions and like-minded allies are trying circumvent the democratic process and impose their will on students and families in need of better schooling options. They can’t stand that a voter approved measure like the charter school initiative gave blinding clarity to the fact that public opinion is not on their side.

And they’ll continue the attack, even if it’s at the expense of students unable to access a school that provides them with a greater chance of success.

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The End of the Beginning

“I can’t believe it went by so fast.” Isn’t that what every college student says when they wrap up a new experience like a semester-long internship? In my last few days living in Washington, DC I actually feel that I am living and breathing these words. As I sit down to write this post I am just thinking of all the places I should have made the time to visit and the restaurants I should have made time to dine at. In a matter of days I will be on a plane heading home to the other Washington that is 2,786 miles away from where I sit now, and yes, I mapped the distance.

The end of this trip to DC also marks the end of what was part one to my two part senior year of undergraduate studies at Arizona State University. Reality will soon set in as I return to the Grand Canyon State to finish up my final months as a Sun Devil. In continuing with this “coming to an end” theme I’ve started, I realize that I will soon have to decide what it is that I want to do after graduation in May. Even though I don’t know exactly what that is just yet, I have had gained much experience and insight during my three and a half months at Center for Education Reform that has helped me reaffirm that I do in fact want to work in the vast world of education and I can continue to guide myself in that direction.

Being at CER has helped me fumble around with a few career paths that I would most definitely see myself in. Attending debates on the Common Core curriculum and discussions on teacher quality helps me think about being on the legislative side of

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Postcards from the Past – No. 4

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In 1999, a coalition of anti-reformers, including teacher unions, was temporarily successful in obtaining an injunction against Cleveland, Ohio’s opportunity scholarship program. At the time, the injunction unnecessarily caused uncertainty for approximately 3,800 low-income students and their families slated to benefit from having choices.

But they failed in the end, and Cleveland along with the rest of Ohio, now have wide ranging choice programs, making the Buckeye State one of the most versatile states in enacting parent empowering policies.

Today, over 31,000 students are attending a school of their choosing according to the Ohio Department of Public Education.

But as reformers know, the BLOB always creeps back, and this time it’s in North Carolina where the state teacher association has filed suit against the opportunity scholarship program that is so new, families have not yet even had the opportunity to apply. Scholarship applications are slated to be available starting February 1, 2014.

This latest attempt to curtail the availability of options is, “a vile attempt to breach the civil rights of low-income parents and students most in need of educational options,” according to CER president Kara Kerwin.

Let’s hope North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship program withstands this challenge, as other opportunity scholarship programs throughout the nation have, so that students most in need of educational options have a better chance at success.

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