Home » Newswire Weekly » Newswire: April 17, 2012

Newswire: April 17, 2012

Vol. 14, No. 16

DISGRACE IN D.C. On many levels, the nation’s capitol has led the way in promoting parental choice, with its top-notch charters and scholarship program that ensures students a strong education. But as long-time D.C. reform leaders, Kevin Chavous and Donald Hense, write in the Washington Post, Mayor Gray’s “2013 budget proposal makes clear that parental choice is no longer a priority of his administration.” Why? For two reasons. First, “he breaches a promise made to charter school supporters by not closing the funding disparity between charter schools and traditional D.C. public schools.” Then, like President Obama, Gray zero funds the scholarship program. Chavous and Hense, both CER board members as well, take the mayor to task for watering down education options for the most deserving of students and bid the City Council to “fix what the mayor is trying to break.” Kudos to you.

LOOK TO LOUISIANA. Perhaps Mayor Gray and company should take a play out of Louisiana’s new education reform playbook. Governor Jindal and lawmakers turned a new page in the state with an expansion of both charters and vouchers and changes to teacher tenure laws. Here’s a novel idea – teachers will get tenure now AFTER demonstrating success in the classroom. This kind of straightforward action is what it will take for every state to get education right.

STOP THE ABUSE. Unpleasant as it is, we all need to know that there are educators who, because of legal protections afforded them by their union contracts, stay in the classroom even when they fail, or worse. National non-profit, Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation, (SESAME) is pushing full steam ahead in Pennsylvania to goad federal and state lawmakers to protect students from sexual misconduct of teachers. Under their banner, the dance of the lemons will quickly end for sexual predators. As Terri Miller, president of the organization says, “passing the trash is the practice of allowing teachers who have engaged in sexual misconduct with students, to quietly walk away and find employment in another classroom somewhere else.” No collective bargaining agreement should allow convicted criminals to continue to have contact with children. See what you can do to help.

TAXING TEACHERS. Michigan got itself in a mess with the teachers’ pension system, so now, some lawmakers want to tax charter school teachers, who may not even participate in the state pension system and take as much as $1,000 per pupil to contribute to a retirement fund the charter teachers are not a part of. There also is talk that the state “reduce the per-pupil foundation allowance for all charter school students in order to fund a system in which most charter school employees do not take part,” informs the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Most state leaders recognize that generous pensions are no longer something our nation can afford to subsidize, especially when they are born by taxpayers who cannot afford their own. Fiscal responsibility should be shouldered by those participating in the program and by state leaders too trepid to tighten the budget belt. Click the link to log in and send your message.

IN OTHER NEWS… Innovative and successful teaching in choice schools is being honored this month by the National Coalition for Public School Options. If you want to nominate a teacher “whose passion, dedication and attention to their students’ unique learning needs” distinguishes them from other teachers, complete the form for the American Pioneer of Teaching Award. Do it! Great teachers deserve the recognition.