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Newswire – May 22, 2018

PRIMARY DAY. It’s a great reminder of what’s at stake, and a time for all to exercise their right to vote, not to mention their responsibility to know what it is they are voting for. A little civics knowledge courtesy of the Bill of Rights Institute might help you or your class, now and in the future to understand what it is we can all achieve if we focus on the issues. Let’s start (and end) with education, a core function of any Governor. Today Texas, Georgia and Arkansas will nominate candidates for Governor to elect in November. In all, 36 states and 3 territories will elect state execs this year. Get to know what you should be asking and thinking now. CER’s handy-dandy voter’s guide Education 50 is chock full of information to guide you and will be an up-to-date analysis of all major state races for November’s final contests.

MORE UNION DISSENT. This time in South Carolina. Dubbed a “mobilization”, the rally at least took place on a Saturday when the livelihood of the children was not at stake. Want more money and benefits? Teachers should get up to speed on what’s really preventing that from happening. (Hint: It’s not education reform).

BAIT & SWITCH. The media have been hoodwinked clearly by catchy surveys conducted by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers claiming a majority of teachers support their strikes and demonstrations. Take a look at this loaded question they used to stir the pot. Again, teachers should ask themselves, what has the union done lately to ensure that school spending reaches the classroom, to reduce their dues, to reduce pension costs, ensure that salaries not be topped off at the end of a teacher’s career, and that greatness is rewarded, while mediocrity is not? The reality is that most teachers don’t know how they are paid, or why.


WHEN THEY CAN’T WIN THEY SUE. Repeated lawsuits initiated by the unions against the tiny Washington State charter school law are going to prevent more students like Jalen Johnson, an 11th-grader at Summit Sierra charter school in Seattle, from succeeding. Johnson told the crowd at a pro-charter rally that the commitment of his teachers helped turn him from an average middle-school student who had little thought of attending college to a thriving high-school junior who hopes to study urban planning at the University of California at Berkeley. “This is how every school should be.” That’s the same theme in Georgia in a news report about charter school graduates.  “Public school choice, in the form of successful, innovative public charter schools, helps struggling children thrive and graduate.”

SPEAKING OF GRADUATES, Michigan’s charter schools are forcing some who have long used flawed data to condemn Detroit charters to eat their words. Turns out that with struggle comes progress (as one of our friends would say). A dollar spent by a Detroit charter yields 2.5x lifetime earnings, according new a new report by the Mackinac Center. Indeed 8 of the 10 top high schools in Detroit for college enrollment were charter schools. Despite the good news, the Gubernatorial Democratic frontrunner in Michigan announced earlier this month his “war on charter schools.” Shri Thanedar is campaigning on a plan to ban most Michigan charter schools. His competitor Gretchen Whitmer is following his lead.

ILLINOIS CHOICES UNDER ATTACK, TOO.  Political efforts motivated by stiff teacher union pressure threaten the elimination of the successful Invest in Kids Act program, despite its popularity and necessity. Empower Illinois received 24,000 applications as soon as its scholarship program went live, causing its website to crash, and is up to 50,000. The state tax credit program is decried by the teachers’ union because it’s a policy that supports educational alternatives. So as the unions work to pull teachers out of school they are also trying to stop kids from going to schools that meet their needs.  Go figure.

FLORIDA DISTRICTS FIGHT equality for kids while they deny charter public schools their equal right to property tax money.

DESPITE FAILURE & SAFTEY ISSUES, the head of the National Education Association (NEA) is galloping into Kentucky to the fight proposed state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools.

LET US PRAY. THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED SCOTUS JANUS v. AFSCME RULING in late June could mean a seismic shift for teachers’ unions. With the strong possibility of a ruling Mark Janus’ favor, releasing non-union teachers from mandatory fees, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Teachers Association (NEA) has announced a projected loss of 300,000 members over two years and accordingly, a proposed annual budget reduction of $50 million. For more details and analysis on the case and how its outcome will affect all educators and students, listen to this Monday’s Reality Check with Jeanne Allen with guest Colin Sharkey, executive vice president of the Association of American Educators.

Check out this week’s Reality Check w/Jeanne Allen for an interview with North Carolina charter school leaders about the strikes and their prescription for success.