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NEWSWIRE: February 9, 2016

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Vol. 18, No. 6

SECRET MEETINGS IN MA. When Four Rivers Charter Public School principal Peter Garbus showed up to what he thought would be a public discourse on charter schools with Senate President Stan Rosenberg as lawmakers are feeling the pressure to liftScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 4.57.04 PM the cap for 37,000 on waitlists, he was dismayed and shocked when he was asked to leave. “What happened was a partisan, closed-door meeting to organize opposition to charter schools, he said. Speaking of closed-door meetings, the MA teachers union decided to hold an executive session about slowing down their nearly $10 million plan to fight the charter cap lift. The meeting left the union chair of the government relations committee in tears as she wrote on Facebook, “at a time when we needed to push internal politicking aside and fight tooth and nail for our teachers and students… We cannot expect our legislative friends to be accountable for their votes if our own union wants to vote in secret.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 5.11.42 PMTAKE ACTION. Ask Massachusetts lawmakers to give 37,000 students, and others, a chance to attend the schools they want, and deserve.


TN POTENTIAL. While we applaud potential action on school choice, it makes no sense that the legislature would continue to ban partnerships with tax-paying management companies that local groups believe could help them accomplish their educational goals. TN’s charter law prohibits instructional partnership with for-profit management companies, thanks to teachers associations and school boards who are threatened by the potential of top-notch charter schools being built in The Volunteer State. Not allowing these partnerships is extraordinarily un-American, and mind-boggling considering partnerships that already exist in our traditional district schools!

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 5.07.48 PMPRIORITY SCHOOLS. The Jefferson Co. KY school board will discuss what to do with eight struggling schools labeled “priority schools” this evening. To remove the “priority” designation, schools must get out of the bottom 5% and have grad rate above 70% for three consecutive years. The real “priority,” however, should be getting more options for kids since research reveals at-risk students in charter schools & other schools of choice more likely to graduate.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TFA. Congrats to Teach for America, our longtime ally in the battle for great schools, as they celebrate 25 years!

COULSON’S LEGACY. We’re shocked and saddened by the passing of Andrew J. Coulson, Senior Fellow in Education Policy at CATO. A beautiful tribute from his colleagues noted, “When Andrew wanted to fix something, he went to work.” Indeed, he did, as reflected in one of our favorite pieces of his that tackles a NCES voucher study and the media’s dramatic and inaccurate take on it head on. As with John Chubb, we will work to ensure Andrew’s legacy will not be forgotten.