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Newswire – February 13, 2018

Much Ado About Nothing? …

“Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?”

Much of the education world has Shakespeare’s February Face today as a result of the proposed federal budget released yesterday by the Trump Administration. Nary a constituency was spared, netting scorn and fury from most, save for the educational choice community, buoyed by news of a potential pilot project that would allow up to 50 school districts to consolidate federal, state and local education funding into one pot that would be allocated based on students’ needs. Says American Federation for Children leadership of the proposal, “The President’s second budget proposal once again shows a commitment to expanding school choice in America and putting more decision-making power into the hands of families.” Funds for teacher development, early childhood and career and technical education lose, while support for new charter schools and promoting innovation win. But the frost, storm and cloudiness is misplaced. First, it’s a proposal, just like last year’s and there is still much to be done. Second, even if the budget was enacted as it is, would it really have an impact on great education?

STATES ARE GROUND ZERO. As the nation’s governors prepare to convene in Washington together and then separately by partisan groups, we remind our colleagues who are wringing their hands that opportunity and innovation is most likely to occur in states, with or without federal stimulus funds or support. Personalized learning started in reformist districts and schools without DC’s intervention; Capitol Hill is inconsequential to great boot camps and training programs like General Assembly; federal vocational education programs subsidize the very same system that has failed the traditional public ed track students; and states with early childhood education are more innovative because they aren’t heavily dependent on federal funds.

CONSIDER, INSTEAD… of crying wolf to Congress on what you may or may not lose this time around (yes, and that includes you, charter start-up fund fans), why not demonstrate that no matter what fate befalls Washington, you can handle the challenges and opportunities of learners at all levels. Innovators should show up and share their unique approaches and why (or why not) federal action can help. As Ed Week offers, “If history’s any guide, it won’t go anywhere in Congress, where lawmakers are not in the habit of just rubber-stamping presidents’ spending plans.”

WHO WE’D LIKE TO SEE ON CAPITOL HILL. Rather than the same old faces, and in akin to the “here’s who we’d like to see in the president’s box at the state of the union” Here’s a handy dandy list of those we’d most like to see sharing their stories on Capitol Hill:

  • Stig Legsley, CEO of The Charles Sposato Graduate School of Education, Inc. and The Match Foundation, Inc. With the skyrocketing costs of college, uneven quality, and 50 percent completion rates, Match Charter Schools opened its own college and jobs program entitled, Match Beyond in 2013.
  • Kelly Young is the Executive Director of Education Reimagined, a community dedicated to accelerating the growth and impact of the learner-centered education movement in the United States.
  • Deborah Kenny is CEO of Harlem Village Academies, a network of charter schools in Harlem, New York. The network created a graduate school of education, the Progressive Education Institute, in which students learn though immersion in effective progressive classrooms embedded within the K-12 schools.
  • Michael Sorrell is the President of Paul Quinn College, the country’s only urban Work College, the first work college in Texas, and the first Minority Serving Institution in the Work College Consortium.
  • Jake Schwartz is the Co-Founder and CEO of General Assembly, a global computer programing boot camp organization. With 20 campuses, 10,000+ hiring partners, and 40,000+ full- and part-time course grads, General Assembly helps students and professionals learn today’s most sought-after skills.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Roughly 22 percent of Americans – more than 191 adults – can’t read at a basic level.
  • On average, higher-income students in the U.S. achieve the equivalent of six years of learning more than their lower-income peers on standardized tests of reading achievement.

Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics as part of a new CER paper, The Case For Education Transformation, Part I: The Disappointing Reality of American Education.


IN THE NEWS

  • As part of a plan to transform Puerto Rico’s education system, Governor Ricard Rossello recently announced that he will push to create charter schools and vouchers, and give all public school teachers their first raise in a decade.

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