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Newswire August 1st, 2017

FIRESTORM. AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS SPEAK OUT AGAINST NAACP’S EDUCATION QUALITY HEARING REPORT. The NAACP’s recent report on education quality, which challenges the value of charter schools for minority families has African American ed reform leaders in an uproar. Two of the most prominent to speak out: CER directors David Hardy, founder and Chair of Boys’ Latin Philadelphia Charter School, and Donald Hense, founder and chairman of Washington D.C.’s Friendship Public Charter Schools. In a statement released through CER, these long-time advocates for options for disadvantaged youth describe the NAACP’s campaign against charter schools as an obstacle to opportunity that only serves to stifle a movement, that for thousands of children, is the greatest – and only – hope for achieving a quality education.  Read their full statement here: https://edreform.com/2017/07/african-american-education-leaders-speak-out-against-naacp-actions/

WHAT A GREAT QUESTION!  Would Martin Luther King Have Supported Charter Schools? That’s the question pondered by the man who served as the civil rights legend’s chief of staff in the 1960’s, Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker.  According to Dr. Walker, the question is easily answered with a resounding “yes!”  Check out “A Light Shines in Harlem”, an award winning, must-read about Dr. Walker’s founding of The Sisulu-Walker School, New York City’s first charter school.

AFT OFF BASE AND OUT OF TOUCH. In another firestorm that won’t go out, CER’s Jeanne Allen renewed the call for AFT president Randi Weingarten to step down. As you’ll recall, the union boss smeared choice advocates, ed reform pioneers, and basically all parents who embrace options for their children by likening them to racists and segregationists. Weingarten hasn’t backed away from her statement and is standing behind the “truth” of her assertion, prompting this from Allen: “Randi Weingarten’s smug obstinacy in refusing to accept responsibility for her slur against reformers is disturbing. Clearly, she believes staying on message—no matter how insulting that message is to African-Americans and people of color throughout the nation—is more important than honesty, fairness, respect and simple decency.”

A RISING TIDE LIFTS BOTH BOATS. Charter school opponents like to claim that the presence of a charter school in a community results in less funding being directed to neighboring traditional public schools (TPS). But a new study of NYC public schools now says otherwise. The Temple University study reveals that having a charter school in the neighborhood spurs competition and consequently generates more per-pupil funding for the traditional public school with an increase of 9% when the charter and TPS are in the same building and 2% when they are physically further apart. So there goes that argument.

SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER.  NASA is making efforts to encourage more girls and women to study STEM and prepare for careers in aerospace and other sciences. To give credit where credit is due, NASA’s move is in response to President Trump’s Inspire Women Act, which he signed into law back in February. NASA is also creating other programs to advance STEM studies, including NASA GIRLS & BOYS, a program that provides middle school students with a virtual mentorship with NASA employees.

WELL THAT’S INTERESTING: suburban kids pay tuition to attend DC public schools. While choice opponents like to argue that educational choice is all about taking money away from public schools so that students can attend private or parochial schools, public schools like the DC based Duke Ellington School of the Arts are turning that supposed paradigm on its head. 45 suburban families are currently plunking out $11,000 a year in tuition to send their children to the Northwest DC school. And if it were not for a 10% cap on out-of-district students, that enrollment statistic would be even higher.