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Newswire November 14th, 2017


BETTER SERVING THOSE WHO SERVE. America’s 1.3 million service men and women are parents to some 750,000 school-aged children who share the unique burdens of military service: education mobility – bouncing from school to school; attending schools on military bases – most of which are stuck in decades-old pedagogy and lack the personalization and sophistication in educational practice that kids in military families need; and attending traditional public schools that are unequipped to meet their unique needs. These kids deserve better and every service parent should be able to choose any school that will best serve their child’s needs, whether it’s a local public school that’s outside of their zone, a private school or a charter school. In other words, “Our military kids need an education system as flexible as they are.” Read about it here.



PAPER TIGERS. If you follow New Jersey politics you know that the New Jersey Education Association was hopping mad at state Senate President Steve Sweeney saying he broke a promise to lobby for a ballot question that would guarantee teachers’ pensions be funded by the state. So, to get even, for last week’s election the NJEA threw its support to Sweeney’s opponent in the 3rd District race, and poured $4.5 MILLION into a campaign to defeat the incumbent. The only problem for the NJEA is, Sweeney won anyway leaving the union described as “out of touch,” “politically damaged” and its campaign called “a fool’s errand.”  It’s another example of “How Teachers’ Unions Became the Paper Tigers of Education Reform.”



OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS. As Puerto Rico continues to struggle to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, rays of sunlight are emerging that could put the island’s education system on a new footing. As The Interceptreports, PR’s Ed Sec, Julia Keleher, is pushing hard to use the recovery as a vehicle for achieving substantive change. Citing New Orleans’ recovery from Katrina as a “point of reference” she called on Puerto Ricans to see their plight as a “real opportunity to press the reset button…and to create new, better schools.” Her biggest worry, she says, is not capitalizing “on this learning opportunity, this transformational opportunity for us to start to think fundamentally differently about what it is to be in school, and how one goes about getting an education.” You have to admire her goals and enthusiasm, and charter operators and virtual education providers across the country should be thinking about how they can get involved in Puerto Rico’s post-Maria landscape.



JOBS AND TAXES. With all the Sturm und Drang over the proposed tax overhaul an important point has been lost: that, as part of tax reform, there is an urgent need to ensure the preparation of current and future workers for the changing needs of the economy. Job creation and job preparation must go hand in hand. Expanding 529 accounts is the only education item in the current package, but the ability to set aside dollars under a 529 plan simply is not a reality for most Americans. A much better approach: the proposed Education, Workforce and Apprenticeship Tax Credit Act which would encourage charitable donations to nonprofit organizations for community-based apprenticeship initiatives, career and technical education, workforce development, and educational preparedness. Read more here.