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Newswire – June 26, 2018

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN’. As the unions anxiously await the Supreme Court’s decision on Janus, the lawsuits keep piling up in lower courts around the country, this time in the U.S. District Court in Camden, NJ where a South Jersey teacher who doesn’t want anything to do with the state’s largest teachers’ union has filed suit saying she shouldn’t be forced to “subsidize” the New Jersey Education Association and its activities, arguing that her constitutional rights are being violated by forcing her to pay ‘representation fees’ as a condition of her employment as a public school teacher “even though Ms. Smith refused to join the teachers’ union and does not wish to subsidize the union’s activities.”

Question.: HOW DO YOU REINVIGORATE THE ECONOMY IN RURAL AMERICA? Answer: EDUCATION. When we improve schools, we improve communities. And while multiple efforts exist across the U.S., rural education has been left out of many modern reforms and innovations. CER’s been working on this question for a while now, and have settled on one county on the coastal plain of North Carolina to develop our pilot rural education initiative. Earlier this month, we brought together some of our friends in philanthropy, business, policy and EdTech at UNC to talk about the blue sky of what is possible in Robeson County if we break down the silos between K12, higher ed and career and all work together to leverage our unique talents. The result? A shared vision and a broad plan for implementation.

AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF EDUCATION IN RURAL AMERICA… “Schools closed. Forever. What happens to a rural town after it loses its only school?” is a somber NY Times feature on the plight of rural schools and points to the desperate need for solutions to this growing national problem.

OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDS. Florida Governor Rick Scott paid a recent visit to Puerto Rico (his seventh since Hurricane Maria) and told Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló the island has “an unbelievable opportunity to change the island for the better.”  At the top of Rosselló’s opportunity agenda: education reform — adding charter schools, better leadership and a school voucher program. And with plans for a modernized energy grid and rebuilt infrastructure you can add innovations in education to the plan.

WHAT DO STUDENTS WANT? According to an annual survey by the Washington-D.C.-based College Savings Foundation the majority of high school students who will be entering college over the next three years would like to see more colleges promote education and skills training rather than only offering majors for future employment: 81 percent would like to see colleges offer skills instead of majors; 70 percent would prefer to go to that school; and 63 percent said their career plans were affecting their school choice. According to the foundation for the past four years, the number of students embracing skills-based education has been growing. This year, 36 percent have their sights set on attending a technical school; 28 percent are headed to community college; and 8 percent will attend a vocational school. “Looking at our survey from 2015 to 2018, the number of students planning on going to community college has increased 9 percent,” said the foundation’s chair.

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. An informative and well-reasoned argument in favor of the president’s proposed merger of the Departments of Education and Labor by the founder and director Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Anthony Carnevale.

“[When] the Education Department was created…two-thirds of jobs required no more than a high school education. Remarkably, 30 percent of good jobs were held by high school dropouts. Now, 55 percent of good jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree… There was a time, perhaps, when these departments could stand apart. But no more. At their core, both share the same goal: to create fully functional adults. In a capitalist economy, that means you have to have a job. And in today’s world, to get a good job, you need an education…  With this combined department, we have an opportunity to realize that education and jobs are inextricably linked.”

REALITY CHECK W/JEANNE ALLEN. Many passionate ed reformers and teachers in general come to the profession from other walks of life or different training but Beth Anderson but has been a teacher since 1991 (beginning her career as a Teach for America instructor teaching bilingual kindergartners in LA). Today, she is CEO of the successful and continually innovative Phoenix Charter Academy Network of schools that challenge resilient, disconnected students with rigorous academics and relentless support. Listen in!

Don’t forget! Meet us in Miami Oct. 25-26 for our Silver Anniversary Summit + Celebration. More info at edreform.com.


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