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NEWSWIRE: February 23, 2016

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Vol. 18, No. 8

WILL KING SAVE OPPORTUNITY? When Acting Secretary of Education John King goes up for his Senate hearing this Thursday in Washington, DC at 2 pm by the Senate HELP Committee many will be watching to see if he will acknowledge the failure of thCapSouth4 061609e US Department of Education to disburse over $30 million in federal funds held over from Congressional appropriations that should have gone to fund more scholarships for poor kids stuck in failing schools. Congress has the ability to force this issue and to reauthorize an expanded program for an additional five years. In addition to needing a new Secretary of Education who values the importance of Parent Power, scholarships can continue if you make your voices heard. By filling out this form, you’ll ask congressional leaders to include HR 10, the Scholarships for Results and Opportunity Act of 2015, and full funding for the DC OSP in the FY 2017 base appropriations bill for Financial Services and General Government.

BUFFALO’S BILL? Buffalo, NY public schools pay only 70 percent of the bill for public schools students in their community who choose to attend charter schools, a fact that has  Buffalo parents, educators and advocates rallying in support of fairly funding charter schools. Sporting t-shirts with the slogan “charter school kids are not worth less,” these parents are fighting to gain attention for the fact that charter schools are public schools, are providing a critical option, and already do better for kids despite fewer resources than their traditional public school counterparts. Some of the parents who convened today are plaintiffs in a pending lawsuit, Brown vs. New York, brought on by frustrated parents regarding charter school funding in the Empire State. Sadly, they are not alone. Nationwide, funding varies state by state, with some of the highest ranking charter laws paying as much as 90 percent but most paying on average 36 percent fewer dollars than district schools.

CHOICES FOR THE CORNHUSKER STATE. Working with Educate Nebraska (an organization dedicated to improving K-12 education), lawScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.03.46 PMmakers and community groups like the Bryant Center (a community organization in Omaha, NE providing activities and programs for at risk youth and seniors), CER Founder Jeanne Allen launched the Center’s efforts there this week in supporting a diverse array of organizations in their pursuit of greater opportunities for children, including a much-needed charter school law. Parents in the state are becoming visibly frustrated with their lack of power, as evidenced by their Parent Power ranking of #49. Nebraska is one of the last states in the country without any meaningful choices outside of their districts.

PHILLY MUST FOLLOW THE LAW. Rebuffing Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission (SRC) in ignoring the letter of the law governing the state’s charter school law, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the SRC’s actions are unconstitutional and it will no longer be above the law. Since the General Assembly permitted the SRC discretion in approving and managing charter schools, it has created artificial enrollment caps for charter schools to curtail charter growth. Just last year, despite nearly 30,000 students on charter wait lists, the SRC denied 87 percent of charter school applicants, including an all-girls counterpart to one of the most successful charter schools in Philly, Boys’ Latin.

TRUMP TACTICS IN BOSTON? In their ongoing effort to disparage charter schools for being successful, a tactic that is well-oiled by a certain presidential candiScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.40.39 PMdate whenever the competition gets too close and popular for comfort, Boston city officials continue to lob insults at charter schools hoping to change public opinion and avoid a legislative fiat in favor of lifting the cap on important schooling opportunities for kids. For example, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson last week blamed charter schools for the “inadequate funding of Boston City Schools,” even while Boston public schools continue to fail so many children that 34,000 are waiting for slots to open. Take action now to ask lawmakers to expand education options.