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Newswire: December 18, 2012

Vol. 14, No. 35

NEWTOWN. Angels, heroism, tragedy, pain, compassion, condolences, fear, love, regret, action. These are some of the words we feel, but there really are no words. Coping is about all we can expect and pray for, and to that end, we join those offering resources and ideas from the best. This is a time to put aside differences and politics. We offer grateful thanks to the President for representing all of us so well to the people of Newtown, and to the education groups who so quickly responded to provide support. That the superintendent and educators in the area are remaking to the best of their ability the walls and halls of the school those children have lost in their new environment today is brilliant and we are grateful for all those playing a role in helping our friends there to heal. God Bless them all.

FALSE PROPHETS. During this season of religious celebration, and given the enormity of the tragedies around us, it’s hard to fathom how some people and groups can be so small. What we accept at face value during the course of the “normal” year suddenly seems ridiculous. So whether it’s the “irrational fear” by the government over companies involved in education that AEI’s Rick Hess addresses in today’s Wall Street Journal, or the continued push back on groups wanting to start schools in league with such providers (whose profits have helped them invest and grow their products — just like our economy is supposed to do!), it’s hard to fathom how anyone would deny or obstruct efforts to give children the best America can offer simply because of a tax-status.

DISTRICTS ARE NON-PROFITS. And they can make big mistakes. “Georgia’s third largest school district, DeKalb County, was placed on probation Monday after a six-month-investigation into scores of complaints of mismanagement,” says the Atlanta Journal Constitution this morning. According to the Philadelphia School Partnership, “last week [Philly] Superintendent Hite proposed a bold facilities plan for the District aimed at stabilizing tenuous finances ….” Failing schools — dozens — will be closed. Clearly being non-profit wasn’t a guarantee of success in these two districts or schools nor in scores of non-profits nationwide. This publication is brought to you by a non-profit, but that’s no guarantee. What makes us accountable is our funders, our shareholders, our customers. That is the way it should work with all organizations, no matter how they are legally structured. Let’s get over it and move on to the more important things in life.

‘TIS THE SEASON?…Not if charitable orgs go over the fiscal cliff! Non-profits have to raise money to stay in business — donations which are usually tax-deductible. But that little incentive for people to give may be on the chopping block as the President’s proposal to cut out deductions for charitable contributions gets pushed in his negotiations with Congress on avoiding the fiscal cliff. Learn about why it’s critical to save the charitable deduction. The Philanthropy Roundtable is committed to the survival of private donations for institutions, which support those who need it the most. Read their extraordinary argument for why we must avoid throwing charities under the bus in the federal budget. And ponder how this difficult business of raising money even when there IS an incentive makes the non-profit business superior to being able to attract and grow investments in education.

MORNING SHOTS. Are you getting yours? Edspresso brings you into the heart of US reform efforts, up close and personal, every day. So be sure to get your cuppa ed-java every day, here.


• Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said this morning that charter schools are a large part of the solution to increasing student test scores.

• Florida last week tapped its fifth top educator in 18 months: former Indiana school chief, Tony Bennett.

• Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and area charter and private schools are gearing up to compete and collaborate at the same time. The new year ushers in the season when families choose where their kids will go to school in August. The competition can be fierce – but leaders of all types of schools have launched talks about working together to benefit students and teachers.

• Teachers working for the St. Charles Parish public school system will undergo reconfigured pay raise scales after the School Board passed a rule change last week.

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Wishing you peace, joy and love this Holiday season and always.   We will break to give Santa his due next week, and return in the New Year!