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Newswire September 12th, 2017

 

A SILVER ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. While the establishment and others are crowing over charter schools and trying regulate, slow or limit their growth, you may want to pause a moment to read the Wall Street Journal piece, “Charter Schools Are Flourishing on Their Silver Anniversary.” As we noted last week, City Academy, the nation’s first charter school opened in St. Paul, Minn. on Sept. 8, 1992. “Since then (charters) have spread and proven their success [as today] some 7,000 of these schools serve about three million students around the U.S.” Let’s take this occasion to remember just what the charter movement is all about: Freedom, innovation and opportunity for kids; not bureaucracy, the status quo, or a 19th century model of education. It’s talked about in CER’s book, released this summer, Charting a New Course – The Case for Freedom, Flexibility & Opportunity Through Charter Schools. Another great source is the numerous important research and analysis done by the Godfather of charter schools, Ted Kolderie, his work available at educationevolving.org.

UNION WATCH. Exercising lobbying muscle and throwing around political weight the NEA and AFT have long been a roadblock to change, a maddening thorn in the side of education reformers and pro-opportunity advocates, and a sharp-clawed force to be feared by anyone with political ambitions. But all across the country – in some very unlikely places – leaders are standing up to the unions and dramatically changing the dynamics of education reform. Read about it in Jeanne Allen’s Washington Examiner op-ed “How teachers’ unions became the paper tigers of education reform.”

WITH THAT SAID … Union activities are far from dead as witnessed by this headline: “Teachers At Chicago’s Largest Charter School Network Renew Push To Unionize.” The AFT affiliate can’t stand the fact that a successful charter network has educated scores of at risk kids without their input, or their ongoing member losses. Fear mongering of teachers is ongoing, but we trust principle will prevail.

WILD WEST OUTPERFORMS. “If Arizona’s public charter students were separated and measured as their own state, it would rank among a handful of the top-performing states in the entire country on the Nation’s Report Card,” says the Arizona Charter Schools Association. For the third straight year Arizona’s charter school students have beaten the averages in the state’s AzMERIT scores in virtually every subject area and at every grade level. And, we’ll also note, per the item above, that Arizona was not far behind Minnesota in launching charters – opening their first school in 1995. The state now has 556 schools that serve 185,000 students. No wonder both Arizona and Minnesota score high on the 17th Edition of CER’s National Charter School Law Rankings & Scorecard.

MEANWHILE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. … Rumors that a federal effort to expand parent power has stalled are premature and exaggerated. A story today in Politico quoting insiders and those claiming to be in the know about the issues is, well, out-of-the-know. Interest in ensuring that more Americans have real access to parent power remains high on active issue on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington. How and who participates, and when it gets done actually takes a long time when dealing with a complex representative democracy (NB: readers may want to consult Tocqueville about this). Indeed thousands of supporters from around the country have been flooding Washington, meeting with their members of Congress within their own communities and working to educate the policy makers and policy leaders about why this issue matter. As they say in politics, “those who say don’t know, and those who know, don’t say.”

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AND IN CASE YOU MISSED IT.  Log onto EdReform.com for the latest on the AFT Chronicles or the ongoing effort by African-American leaders to show they have a different point of view on educational opportunity than many established organizations who claim to represent their views.

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