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Newswire: April 5, 2016

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Vol. 18, No. 14

HOW IS LACK OF FREEDOM A WIN? US Education Secretary John King called theScreenShot2016-04-05at5.33.53PM 4-4 SCOTUS ruling on the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association a win for educators, but that’s hardly the case. The whole point of this suit was teacher freedom. Rebecca Friedrichs and her colleagues boldly took a stand against union practices they ultimately felt were damaging to their students, something some Chicago teachers who are in the midst of a union-led strike wish they could do right now, but are afraid of the repercussions. This is exactly why the issue of teachers’ rights is not going away, and will persist until educators get what they truly consider a win – the freedom and ability to be treated as professionals and educate children unfettered by the politics of unions.

CHARTER KIDS SUCCEED AS ADULTS. Now here’s the kind of research that makes a data wonk get all excited! Researchers from Vanderbilt & Georgia State find that charter high school graduates are more likely to stay in college and earn more in their adult life. They use real data, over time, and account for numerous variations in school composition, size, longevity, and more. Read up on this study and more charters & choice research here.

THE REAL SEGREGATION IN EDUCATION. Education pioneer and CER Board Member Kevin P. Chavous takes aim at the claim that school choice is to blame for segregation in US education.Many who are quick to point the finger at school choice fail to condemn the status quo, and fail to consider the fact that school choice programs are designed to help low-income families, many of whom are minority and stuck in failing schools by virtue of their zip code.

IN THE NEWS. Voters in New York can’t decide if they want de Blasio to have control over schools, perhaps because he’s not the Mayor and the leader in education that his predecessor was… Meanwhile, despite Wisconsin being a ground zero for school choice, the issue has been ignored by candidates in the state’s Presidential primary. There are cheers in Pennsylvania over the court putting Philly back in its place, and Treasure State parents are celebrating a court ruling in favor of school choice in Montana.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 5.44.47 PMTRUTH TO POWER. “We have schools in this state that are so low performing it’s almost criminally negligent,” said one of the founders of the successful Raleigh Charter High School at a meeting last week regarding legislation to turn around some of North Carolina’s worst performing schools. Achievement District legislation proposed by Rep. Rob Bryan (a former CER Intern!) would create new opportunities to take the place of schools that have been failing students for too long. As Marcus Brandon, executive director of CarolinaCAN and former lawmaker who supported the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for this General Assembly to say no longer will the state of North Carolina accept you failing kids for 20 straight years.”

ED TECH INNOVATION OF THE WEEK. The Indigo Project aspires to empower all students and aims to transform the national education system. How, you ask? By giving schools non-academic data on who their students are, Indigo creates a path for schools to transform their culture and empower students through personalized learning. Already, a handful of charter schools are taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility they’re afforded and using Indigo as a tool to have real impact on students’ academic trajectories. Visit indigoproject.org to learn more.