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Newswire – June 19, 2018

COUNTDOWN TO CER’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY SUMMIT… it may seem early, but October will be here before you know it, so make your plans now to join CER on October 25-26 in Miami for its Silver Anniversary Summit & Celebration “The Road to Innovation for ONE America.” One of the features of the gathering will be our honoring of some of the pioneers of the education reform movement who will be on hand for the event, including Tommy Thompson. As Wisconsin’s governor (from 1987-2001) Thompson was one of first high-profile champions of education reform pushing for the creation of the country’s first parental school-choice program, which provided Milwaukee families with a voucher to send children to the private or public school of their choice. He did other great things as governor, too (e.g. welfare reform), and went on to build a remarkable career of public service, including a stint as Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush, but he’ll always be tops in our book for his commitment to, and success in, achieving substantive education reform.

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH… Last Sunday night NBC News aired a charter school story that argues charters are increasingly geared to support “white flight.” If the claims weren’t so outlandish and unfounded, it would be laughable. The producer, who was incredibly open to receiving information countering these allegations, based his report on an analysis performed by the Hechinger Report. In one of the documents CER supplied, we demonstrated Hechinger’s bias against charter schools, as well as the folly of the argument. Read more…

A DOUBLE DOSE OF REALITY… This week Jeanne Allen Erica Komisar, author of “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.” Based on more than two decades of clinical work and breakthrough neurobiological research on caregiving, attachment and brain development, her book challenges established concepts (and myths) of infant resiliency, ‘having it all’ and even the definition of feminism. One thing this book is not about is quitting your job. “It’s not about working vs. not working – it’s really a book about more is more.” Also on Reality Check, an attorney for Mark Janus from the Liberty Justice Center shares his thoughts on the likely outcome of the high court’s pending decision.

Find the podcasts at edreform.com/realitycheck and on National Review.

WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS… Just as the AFT and NEA are bracing for the ruling from SCOTUS in the Janus v. AFSCME case, teachers in New York state have filed a class-action suit claiming (correctly, we might add) that they are being illegally forced to cough up union dues even if they’re not union members. This is in response to NY’s new law, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last April, mandating that all teachers pay a New York State United Teachers “agency fee” regardless of their membership status. Supporters say all teachers benefit from pay hikes and perks secured by the union and should subsidize those efforts. In a suit filed Thursday the two teachers who brought the case say (correctly, we might add) that they oppose “NYSUT’s political advocacy and collective bargaining activities” and shouldn’t have to fund them. Yep.

In Other News…

MORE THAN REASONABLE… The Reason Foundation has put out a great piece on school funding. Although titled “Five Recommendations to Solve LAUSD’s Looming Fiscal Crisis” its applicable, in parts or in whole, to school funding crises around the country and is worth the read.

SUNSHINE STATE SUCCESS… Former Florida Senate Education Chairman, John Legg, recently summed up Florida’s great, new K-12 scholarship program. “… [it] is conceptually reminiscent of the free tutoring programs developed by bipartisan education advocates under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. This scholarship is driven by the educational principle that children must learn to read so they can then read to learn.”  Notably the program doesn’t try to simply thread more money into district elementary reading budgets but instead provides a reading scholarship, which gives parents the decision on how to spend it. And why is that a better approach, Legg was asked: “The parent is the most influential person in the child’s life.”

A PROGRESSIVE POINT OF VIEW… Also of note this week, a passionate op-ed on educational opportunity for all, titled “Progressive, affluent parents who send their kids to good schools shouldn’t deny others that right.” An excerpt: “Simply put, I’m a progressive. So it troubles me deeply to hear self-styled progressives attack educational options that other parents choose for their children. Worse, these attacks on the educational choices that lower-income parents and parents of children with special needs make almost always come from progressives of higher means. We have a recommendation for that: Check your privilege. I support educational choice for all. Educational options have existed for the wealthy for as long as anyone can remember. What’s controversial is when we suggest that those same options should be open to everyone.” Amen. 

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