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Newswire – September 25, 2018

Caution: This week’s edition is not for the faint of heart, or easily offended. Yes, it is that kind of week – not just in Washington, DC but all over the country as cameras roll on Capitol Hill. But…

WHAT IF THE WORLD paid as much attention to what’s happening to children and families in this country as it is to the justice drama playing out on every news station.  Tales of teenage and college parties, with or without alleged sexual abuses, are hardly new. But just imagine if a child or young adult student, having failed to learn to read, or having been tracked based on class, race or bureaucratic whim into horrible programs or classes, could get THEIR day in court, or in Congress. What would that take, people?

TWO WEEKS AGO, IN TENNESSEE…  A little boy with mental illness wasARRESTED (!!) He gets little support from his school, and there are no other options where the family lives but the local public school at which he is zoned. Where is the call for the investigations on that one, friends?

ALSO, IN THE LAND OF OPRY…  A school with a proven model designed to catch kids before they fall through the cracks – Journey Academy of Success – was denied a chance to provide that option, despite the school making a valiant appeal that demonstrated, as the state code they cite in the report makes clear, the schools’ existence to be in the best interest of both the pupils, the school district, and the community as a whole. Since Shelby County’s schools are failing a majority of students, citizens should be outraged. The Rethink Forward board is appealing to the Tennessee State Board. Put politics aside and approve the school!


HOW ABOUT INVESTIGATING GEORGIA’s ED DEPT…  Which funds a statewide network of special education schools that according to the New Yorker, “traps black children in neglect and isolation.” How about getting worked up about that?

EVERY DAY STUDENTS FAIL TO LEARN TO READ.  All kids, not just those in poverty. A new bombshell study examining reading scores found that “many kids at the wealthier schools weren’t reading very well either. This was not just poverty. In fact, by some estimates, one-third of America’s struggling readers are from college-educated families… Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don’t know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.” The study was done by the non-partisan APM Reports, which is dedicated to investigative journalism. Let’s have them lay out the case before Congress, shall we, and ask why we don’t require teachers to learn the science, before condemning students to ignorance & worse.

KENTUCKY SCHOOLS BRACING FOR BAD MARKS.  But despite headlines screaming that most KY schools will be on a failing schools list, schools look largely like they did in 1850 with no moves afoot to change that, and lawmakers cannot seem to find a way to enact a law to provide a much-needed lifeboat to many.

AND THEN THERE’S THE PAY GAP…  And some thought-provoking commentary on potential solutions for the teacher pay conundrum, brought to us by Larry Sand of CaliforniaPolicyCenter.org, who directs us to a rebuttal of the Time Magazine cover story on teacher pay “‘I Work 3 Jobs and Donate Blood Plasma to Pay the Bills.’ This Is What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in America.” Reason’s Nick Gillespie says that before we reach for a hankie, we should consider the facts. Among them consider how teacher pay compares to other median household incomes and the way public funds are allocated. ‘Researcher Benjamin Scafidi found that between 1950 and 2015, the hiring of non-teacher education employees in government run schools –– rose more than 7 times the increase in students… Absent this mostly wasteful expenditure, our schools would have had an additional $37.2 billion to spend and could raise every public school teacher’s salary by more than $11,700 per year.’

ALL IS NOT LOST HOWEVER.  You can fight ignorance and build bridges between opportunity and innovation on the new Route 66 of Education, which starts in Miami at CER’s Silver Summit & Gala Dinner October 25-26. We are thrilled to announce the participation of the Honorable Frank Brogan, Former FL Ed Commissioner, Higher Ed president, Lt. Gov. and now Assistant Secretary of Education, who joins an all-star event cast with more special guest reveals to come daily. See you on the Road to Innovation? Register here.

LISTEN to the latest episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen. This week, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest joins RC to talk about making education a priority, using funds effectively and working in and out of the business, education and technology sectors to create a more fluid and opportunity-rich economy in his state.

Dan Forest | Reality Check with Jeanne Allen