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Newswire: June 26, 2012

Vol. 14, No. 26

ALL IS NOT WELL. Delusion is rampant among the status quo when it comes to the state of American education. In Idaho, they fought to get on the November ballot three referenda that, if passed, will annihilate Superintendent Tom Luna’s sweeping reform efforts that could bring about a quality education for all students in the state. As the Wall Street Journal aptly notes, a state like Idaho doesn’t fit the “familiar education narrative of inner-city hopelessness. “That’s where the delusion kicks in. CER’s Jeanne Allen compares Idaho’s attempt to block reform to the Lake Wobegon effect. “In states like this, the assumption is all is well. The reality is they’ve been simply going through the motions for years, and the result is a kind of Third World education status. “Incredibly, after international report after international report, some in Idaho continue to believe in the myth of their grand success. For a reality test, read the Atlantic on Stanford economist Eric Hanushek and colleagues’ study.

NEW JERSEY’S OPPORTUNITY. E3, and others, are pushing for passage of the New Jersey Opportunity Scholarship Act, a pilot corporate tax credit bill designed to fund scholarships for low-income students attending the state’s lowest performing and chronically failing public schools. The battle is furious and your support is needed now so students can quickly transfer from dysfunctional schools to ones that will put them on track to a successful future in college and the world of work. New Jersey can redeem itself by passing this bill after bowing to status quo pressure and sidestepping seniority reform.

LYNCH’S LOSER MOVE. Muttering something about how New Hampshire’s voucher bill would be available to families regardless of their income, Governor Lynch vetoes the bill. Apparently someone actually read the bill and a few days later Lynch acknowledged that, in fact, the vouchers are not available to everyone (although that would not be a problem for us). He did not, though, remove his veto, also claiming that “diverting public funds to private schools and downshifting costs to cities and towns is the wrong policy for our state and taxpayers. “Well, he’s wrong there, too, since money follows students, not systems. Now’s the time to throw support behind an active override effort.

BLAMING SUCCESS FOR SUCCESS. Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies are touted by all for improving student achievement. But, the accolades come grudgingly from some as critics bombard Moskowitz for her acumen at raising money and her equally aggressive marketing strategies. Within a day, the New York Daily News and the New York Times blast her ability to secure funds for her charters. As the Olympic Trials are underway, just wondering how many star athletes who set goals and achieve them would be subject to strident attacks for the success of their aggressive pursuit of victory.

MADNESS TO THE METHOD. The GAO issued a report that finds the enrollment of students with special needs is higher in traditional public schools than in charters. Relying more on he said-she said anecdotal evidence, its conclusions are suspect. CER’s Jeanne Allen writes in a statement that the “GAO admits its government-funded report has no comprehensive data to support it. This is an issue that deserves in-depth analysis of real data on real students and there are many valid ways GAO could have studied and learned from public school models. That’s not what GAO did. We urge Congress to investigate the activities surrounding this report, and issue a reprimand for misusing government resources on a fool’s errand. For more on CER’s analysis of the report click here.