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Newswire: October 5, 2011

Vol. 13, No. 38
October 5, 2011
Barbara Pape, Editor

A weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else, spiced with a dash of irreverence, from the nation’s leading voice in school reform. See our Newswire Library for an archive of back issues.

THE NEW CER NEWSWIRE. Everyday at EdReform.com central, news, insights, and ideas stemming from our on-the-ground involvement in state and community reform efforts are communicated. Beginning this week, Newswire will take you to the highlights and, as is our custom, provide some context for the successes and the travails so we can keep it all in perspective. Meanwhile, we are tweeting the important developments you need to know daily, as well as opining and reporting on what the news media is saying– and why it is or isn’t relevant. Join us every day and be sure to comment so we can add your thoughts to our reporting. The Editors.

WHEN SCHOOL CHOICE IS A CRIME. “Only in a world where irony is dead could people not marvel at concerned parents being prosecuted for stealing a free public education for their children.” It’s pathetic, but it’s true. This piece by Walden Media president and movie producer Micheal Flaherty is a must read. Now.

NJ & YOU. Anyone who breathes the air now knows that Governor Christie will not be a candidate for president in ’12. What you might not know is that this stalwart leader and fighter for the little guy, for the needs of families, for the civil rights of children, oversees an education agency that failed to give life this year to his passion and commitment when they rejected 54 of 58 charter school applications and approved only 4, while expanding a few existing superstars. Meanwhile, a bill to expand charter authorizing in the state to universities passed a House committee and awaits Senate action. Clearly the writing is on the wall why that’s necessary.

WHO CAN WAIT. New Jersey isn’t alone, and at the heart of those activities is a growing sense among some reformers that they know what’s best for kids. Hmmm. Isn’t that what they grew a movement to fight? More on that in this opinion piece from CER’s Jeanne Allen.

FEDERAL VS LOCAL. Former Ed Secretary Margaret Spellings takes on the Obama-Duncan waiver craze, pointing out that such activities give more control not to locals, but to “School boards [which] are often populated with former teachers and administrators whose policies are aligned with those of the teachers’ unions, including opposing teacher evaluation efforts, discouraging the opening of new charter schools despite pleas from parents and opposing school turnaround efforts.” Lots at stake with waivers, which is well outlined here. Read more in her piece at the Huffington Post .

WHO SAID REFORMERS DON’T HAVE FUN? Failing schools, teacher tenure, high stakes tests. No wonder the public can’t get its arms around education reform. Sometimes we are so darn serious and stoic about our cause that we lose real people who just want to be involved in happy things. But, things can get too happy, like when the establishment wants us to believe that everything is just okay and they needn’t worry that Johnny can’t read. Even though the cause is right and the work is just, Reformers can, and do, want to have fun. Your chance to experience that in person is coming up in just two weeks, as CER hosts its 18th Anniversary Gala — A Rockin Reform Revue.  Stars from within reform — and from the entertainment world — will dazzle you with their talent as they help fete the rock stars of reform. Get the scoop and sign up now, to lighten your outlook and reinvigorate your faith that reformers do indeed have fun.

Next Week: Join us at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, for a preview of the new Digital Learning report card on states, and more…