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Morning Shots

Drawing Dead at the SOS Rally

Reason.tv did a fantastic job of capturing footage and conducting interviews with supporters, teachers and even Matt Damon at the recent Save Our Schools Status Quo rally in D.C.

The comments may shock you – and no, I’m not talking about Matt Damon’s potty mouth. You can catch his interview at the 0:38 mark. But, you really have to see the teacher at 3:05 who thinks we should be spending a BILLION dollars per student.

Her comments get me thinking about one of Matt Damon’s movies – Rounders. In the film, he plays some uber-smart poker player. I’m sure even Matt Damon can explain what it means to be drawing dead. This is when, no matter how much money you put into the pot, you’re never going to win the hand because your opponent has better cards.

It’s kind of like the battle over education reform. The unions want to put more and more money into the pot, but they’re holding a losing hand. As a nation, we’ve put more money into education than ever before, while test scores and student performance have remained flat.

The unions are drawing dead. And no amount of money can change that.

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And the Ayes Have It

Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education has approved its first charter school. It was a long road for Crossway Community, a local nonprofit organization, to open its Montessori-based elementary school, but in recent months it gained the support of Superintendent Joshua Starr and former superintendent Jerry D. Weast.

It’s being hailed as a “historic moment in Montgomery County,” as it should be, but this also provides credence at the national level to the idea that charter schools have a place in more affluent suburbs where test scores and graduation rates are higher.

Even in rich districts, there are students who are not getting the attention or type of education they need. In Montgomery County, those families will now have a choice.

Nationally, this is a battle that is just starting to take shape. New Jersey is one area that is in the midst of its own fight (see The Next Charter Battlefront: Suburbs). Yet, as the charter movement puts up victory after victory in these suburbs, the tide is turning to give families more options.

Charter opponents you have been put on notice.

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Save the Status Quo, March Against Freedom

By now, you’ve likely heard that the anti-reform establishment will be marching the streets of D.C. this weekend in an effort to “Save Our Schools.” The participating groups want to restore parent and student influence in education.

There’s only one problem with that – they don’t.

The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – two unions that have done everything in their power from distorting the truth and lying to intimidation and lawsuits to stop any reform that takes their control and gives it to parents – are driving this rally.

These groups fight charter school openings across the country. For example they are currently stumping against a Mandarin immersion charter in Milburn, New Jersey.

They’ve sued multiple times to stop or delay school choice bills from taking effect. The teachers association now has a lawsuit in Indiana to stop low-income students in failing schools from using a voucher to attend a different school of their parent’s choice.

They are even fighting the “Parent Trigger” law that was passed in California and allows parents to initiate changes to a school, like converting it to a charter, if a majority of parents agree and sign a petition.

It’s the same coalition of the past 35 years that just wants the status quo. Reform to them is about money, control and no high-stakes tests or accountability.

In each case above, and the dozens of ones not mentioned, these groups are eliminating the influence parents and students have, not moving it forward.

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