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Newswire – February 12, 2019


AND IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, DENVER TEACHERS ARE OUT. Following the union playbook to gain visibility as we move into a hot political year, teachers in Denver officially went on strike Monday, though schools remained open. Despite what may appear to be legitimate concerns about pay and class size, the mile high city’s teachers are being misled to believe that all they need do to get paid more is strike. The union rejected a generous offer of $50 million in pay increases over the next three years and  guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments through 2021-22. The long term solution however is not bargaining but legislative fixes in how and where the state pays for education. But those aren’t the kinds of discussions the union ever invites teachers to attend as it would put power in the hands of teachers over unions to show that the real fix doesn’t rest with the union and therefore why would one need them?

So once again the losers are the clients: the kids. With a solid leader in the Governor’s mansion, who received high marks in CER’s “Ed 50” rundown of gubernatorial candidates last fall, Governor Jared Polis needs to step up to the plate, bang some heads together and get teachers back to doing what they signed up for. While they are back at their desks, the Right Honorable Polis might consider changing the entire system’s structure so that pay is no longer set by the state, performance is part of contracts and local schools are permitted to hire, pay and reward the way they see best. But then, that would be radical. In a state where smoking pot in public is not, they could at least try.

SCHOOL CHOICE OPPONENTS ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN OPINIONS, BUT NOT THEIR OWN FACTS. Opponents of innovation and opportunity in education often repeat the shop-worn line that voucher schools really don’t provide superior education for their students. This has been rebutted many times, and from the Sunshine State comes the latest inconvenient facts for school choice foes. The Urban Institute examined a larger data set of some 89,000 Florida students. The researchers compared those who used school vouchers to public-school students with comparable math and reading scores, ethnicity, gender and disability status. High school voucher students attend either two-year or four-year institutions at a rate of 64%, according to the report, compared to 54% for non-voucher students. For four-year colleges only, some 27% of voucher students attend compared to 19% for public-school peers. Voucher students also appear to have broader post-high school options. About 12% of voucher students attended private universities, double the rate of non-voucher students.


SPEAKING OF FACTS… What is really keeping the New Bedford, MA school board from permitting the Alma de Mar charter school to expand? Political contributions? Honest disagreement? Ignorance? Start asking the questions, maybe follow the money, and speak out.  If so many parents want to get into that charter school, there must be more to the New Bedford school system–or less–than meets the eye.

“IT’S THE PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL DISTRICT. DO I NEED TO CLARIFY? Nationally, enrollment in charters by minority and economically disadvantaged youth far exceeds that in traditional public schools. Philly is no exception, and the preference for charters among parents of all types is illustrated in this Philadelphia Inquirer piece. Yet some still ask why 70,000 students, or one-third of public-school enrollment and nearly 30,000 more want in. The answer is succinctly put in comments by two parents, “It’s the Philadelphia school district, do I need to clarify?” And the winner of the understatement of the week: “The quality of the education in regular public schools is just not what it used to be.”

IS NEWSWIRE READ AT 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVE?  Last week we offered a wish list – as we have annually for more than a decade – for what we wanted to hear in the State of the Union address. Near the top was mention of education opportunity for America’s kids.  Say what you will about Donald Trump, but he came through, saying that “to help support working parents, the time has come to pass school choice for America’s children.” Here’s why it’s important; as we offered in our statement: “It’s a significant milestone when a president singles out a major education issue in the State of the Union address…We are grateful for the recognition that education opportunity is a vital link to economic success for all Americans.” Lots of folks reacted and not all well, but hey, that’s what Democracy is all about, right?

INTERESTED IN JOINING THE FIGHT? Legislative battles like the handful mentioned here are in full swing across the US. Opportunity, innovation and transformation is being proposed, and beat back in just about every state. Get in the fight.  You can put some skin in the game by making us your proxy, and helping us help those who need it the most. DONATE NOW 

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Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.