Newswire: June 13, 2017

WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US.  As the school choice and charter school movements have evolved, or mutated, two camps have emerged: one that relies on bureaucracies and officialdom to decide what educational options are best for kids, and one that relies on innovators and parents. The former sounds A LOT like the status-quo-education-establishment arguments that have been reform’s bane from the beginning.  The latter sounds like, well, one of the core principles on which reform was founded. That rift is laid bare in the latest work from CER — Charting a New Course:  the Case for Freedom, Flexibility, and Opportunity Through Charter Schools.  A collection of essays by eight education experts, the book compares the approaches of the two main groups in the charter-school world and is this summer’s must-read.  Download your copy here.

A WELL-RECEIVED RECEPTION. Several hundred charter school leaders came together at CER’s Salute to Charter School VIP reception held in Washington, DC during National Charter Schools Week. In addition to a lot of meeting, mingling, and networking, (and marveling at the spectacular views from the roof-top venue) guests got to hear from and meet Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Capitol Hill education leader Congressman Paul Mitchell, President of the Jack Kemp Foundation Jimmy Kemp, and, lending an international flair to the festivities, First Counselor for Consular and Social Affairs at the Italian Embassy, Catherine Flumiani .

 

WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THIS BEFORE?  Every year the National Charter Schools Conference helps raise awareness of, and strengthen support for charter schools. It’s a conference tradition that the Secretary of Education offers remarks to the assembled and this year was no exception, although the message from Secretary DeVos was a little more pointed than some may have expected. “I suggest we focus less on what word comes before school…and focus instead on the individuals they are intended to serve,” DeVos told an audience of 4,500.  “We need to get away from our orientation around buildings or systems or schools and shift our focus to individual students. Charters alone are not sufficient. Private schools alone are not sufficient. Neither are traditional schools. That’s OK. Let’s humbly admit this fact and realize no top down one-size-fits-all approach will give children a world-class education.” (See item one: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”)