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Newswire: May 24, 2017

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MONEY  The Trump Administration’s FY 2018 proposed education budget is an opportunity for a national dialogue on how we educate, not how much we spend, according to a statement released today by the Center for Education Reform’s Founder and CEO, Jeanne Allen.

House Education & Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx said the budget is still a proposal, subject to congressional review. However, she reiterated the following concern overall:

Students, workers, and small businesses cannot succeed in an economy that is crippled by too much government and too much debt. …

“For too many years, the federal government has not lived within its means because policymakers have not set real priorities. The president’s budget proposal reflects the consequences of this failed approach, as well as the urgent need for tough choices and bold solutions to pursue a more responsible course.”

The head of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) Jacqueline Cooper, applauded some aspects, while calling others draconian:

“While we applaud the Administration’s efforts to expand parental choice options for our nation’s children, including increased spending for public charter schools, a new private school voucher program, making $1 billion within Title I of ESSA available for students to attend the school of their choice, and an education tax credit program that will be part of future tax reform, the slashing of $9 billion – or 13 percent  – from the Department of Education’s overall budget is an awfully painful way to put families and children first.

“If passed by Congress, these draconian cuts to public education will undoubtedly hurt our most vulnerable children…” 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said the budget “reflects a series of tough choices we have had to make when assessing the best use of taxpayer money.”

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called the budget “cruel.”

It’s certainly not a warm and loving budget, but cruel? Isn’t it cruel to allow so much money to be spent to subsidize bureaucracy and not serve children?

In other news…

EVERYTHING’S ALWAYS BIG IN TEXAS  Virtual charter schools are set to expand under a bill passed by the Texas State Senate this week. If adopted thousands more students will have access to online opportunities, which PublicSchoolOptions.org President Tillie Elvrum argues helps students work in an environment that best meets their unique needs.

LEHIGH, PA CASE SANCTIONS CAP LIFT  Pennsylvania has ruled that Lehigh Valley Regional Academy can have its charter renewed without enrollment caps, ending its battle with the Bethlehem Area School District, which was seeking a cap to save $1 million. When LVA’s charter was up for renewal in November, the Bethlehem Area School Board approved a charter that included an enrollment cap. The imposition of a cap is against state law. A similar battle was tried and won in Philadelphia a few years back; sadly the School Reform Commission extracts cap commitments from charters in not so acceptable ways.

BOOKS HELP KIDS  A group calling itself “Better Outcomes for Our Kids” (BOOK) has been formed in Atlanta to help families better navigate the world of school choice. Because many parents “don’t understand that their children don’t have to attend the traditional Atlanta public school in their neighborhood,” the group’s founder says BOOK wants to be a “beacon of information” to help parents understand, and know the options that are available to them via charters and school choice. What a great idea—for parents in Atlanta and everywhere choice options exist.  (Online at BookATL.org)

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