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Newswire October 17th, 2017

IN PRAISE OF ELI BROAD. Much has and will continue to be said about the contributions of Eli Broad to the cause of great education for kids. Many have praised his support of charter schools, his efforts to help Los Angeles (in particular to recruit and elect pro-reform candidates to the board and other positions) and, of course, his continual financial support of myriad efforts to improve the public good.

Less discussed, however, is the gradual but clear recognition that the public education system Broad once sought to improve is broken. Indeed, investing in disruptive innovations, like charter schools and personalized learning approaches, is far more likely to gain traction for kids in the short and long term than trying to turn around a union-dominated behemoth. While he’s retiring from active work, we hope Eli will help convince his fellow philanthropists to take risks and stand up to adults, on behalf of students.

IF YOUR TEACHER LOOKS LIKE YOU… Then it means you’re likely to do better in school — particularly if you’re a black student. So say NPR, Black Male Educators, Jersey BAEO and others.

Of course, if we care about this fact, then we have to be serious about how to ensure that more students of color become educators. That starts, first, with giving them a great experience in their own school, and second, by getting them excited about a career in teaching.

Much can be and has been written on this subject, but on the point of giving students a great education to start — well, let’s just say the controversy around simple things like educational choice are the subject of misguided documentaries, pronouncements against edreform from national organizations like the NAACP and more.

The data on this subject should compel union-loving politicians and the ed-establishment elite to do everything they can to stop over-labeling black kids who weren’t taught to read as “special needs,” and to start advocating for choice and innovation.

BACKPACK FULL OF CASH. While we continue to fight with our friends who produced the Matt Damon-narrated film that distorts most of our efforts and motives, we must again remind our followers that we wholeheartedly celebrate the “backpack full of cash” metaphor. Every child should be worth the same amount of money, and every school should vie for the privilege of educating our children. Want to get funded? Let parents decide who gets their backpack.

Put another way: Parent power is critical to advancing the needs of kids. In fact, that was the focus this past weekend of the Black Male Educators Convening, and it’s the focus of every committed edreformer. It turns out that business is pretty passionate about the issue, along with Jersey BAEO and many others.

EDUCATION, JOBS, THE ECONOMY AND APPRENTICESHIPS. On Monday, Labor Secretary Andrew Acosta visited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He met with business, industry and government leaders, from the local, state and national levels, all of whom are eager to find a new path to close the #skillsgap and ensure that the six million jobs available today find occupants who have, or can develop, the skills they need.

Whether you start at the tail end of schooling or the beginning, it’s clear that traditional approaches to education (e.g., the traditional agrarian public-ed system) are not only failing to prepare students to be exceptional academically; they’re also failing to expose them to the potential of a rapidly changing world. The Chamber’s latest talent pipeline initiative is promising. Learn more here.