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Newswire – July 16, 2019

50 years ago this week, man walked on the moon. The space race propelled us to embrace and lead the world in science. Today our nation’s schools are lagging and are lacking in the scientific, technological advances that once allowed us to do the impossible.  What is stopping us?

ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY. Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” allowed us to conquer outer SPACE, but we cannot seem to provide REAL SPACE for students to gain their own moonshot in communities nationwide. In Washington, DC, incomprehensible hostility toward choice for poor kids is still preventing one million square feet of abandoned school buildings to charter schools.  The educrats strategy is clear - isolate, restrict attendance  and strangle competition by any means available, no matter how many needy kids are hurt in the process. Besides D.C., we have other sad examples in Bedford, Massachusetts, Charlotte, North CarolinaIllinois and Pennsylvania. The establishment’s view is apparently that empty space is better than the space that will propel all students to do do to better, no matter where or how they learn.

 

ONE GIANT LEAP… BACKWARDS?  As a point of reference from the “return on investment” file,   the total cost of the Apollo Program in today’s dollars was about $200 billion, from which humanity reaped literally thousands of advances in technology and  other disciplines that made millions of lives better. In the past 8 years California has spent an extra $28 billion per year on education. The results?  Thirty two percent of California’s eighth graders are proficient in reading while twenty nine percent are proficient in math.   That’s just one state. These sad results have been repeated many times over across the country – the “Big Ed” version of one giant leap – backwards.  

INNOVATION GOT US TO THE MOON...can it get us to excellent education for all? The engineers and scientists of Apollo were risk takers and innovators willing to try new approaches – exactly the formula for success that charters use.  The importance of teaching innovation is not lost on Charles Sosnik, who argues that   “It is possible to create an innovative, open, creative and trustworthy place for students to grow, take risks, and feel comfortable in their own patterns of learning.  It begins with the teacher. She sets the tone of the class from the minute students walk into the building. Most teachers were trained to educate solely from the teacher’s point of view. To change this type of delivery and make the classroom more innovative, she needs to think about her students as leaders too–acting as a guide rather than teaching content and asking students to spill out information on a standardized test.”

Sounds like the kind of learning going on mainly outside the traditional system, don’t you think?

17TH STRAIGHT GIANT LEAP.  Huge kudos to The Villages Charter School in The Villages, Florida for receiving its 17th straight "A" rating from the Florida Department of Education.  The school grade was based on test scores in specific categories, including English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.  Students at the school continue to take giant leaps – space suits optional –as they navigate to success in whatever life journey they choose.

STARS IN THE SKY FOR DYSLEXIC STUDENTS.  Just a few hundred planets west of the Sunshine state sits the brand spanking new Pinecrest Impact Academy in Fort Collins, Colorado. With a heavy emphasis on STEAM subjects, the smart folks at Pinecrest explain that the goal is to “bring every student to literacy proficiency in every grade”, because “children who cannot read cannot self-actuate.” The lucky students have specific, individual needs. Those will be fulfilled by specific, individual solutions. Because that’s what meaningful choice and innovation do.

 

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT WITH SENATOR LANDRIEU. Talk about stars! This week’s episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen has Jeanne chatting with an increasingly rare commodity - a politician who spoke her mind and didn’t shy away from bucking the conventional wisdom in her party.  Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu was a leading booster in Congress of charter schools, and she pulls no punches in discussing the state of the charter movement, the  current crop of Democrat candidates, President Trump and state of public affairs today. Tune in for a real breath of fresh air.

 

HILLARY BOOED AT NEA CONVENTION.  Her star rose and fell that day. Okay, okay – it was 4 years ago when she was running for President, but we present this as a sad sign of the NEA’s zero tolerance for any dissent from their obsolete concept of education. What were the radical ideas that prompted the  boos? Take a gander: “When schools get it right, whether they’re traditional public schools or public charter schools, let’s figure out what’s working and share it with schools across America,” she said to audible boos from the audience. “Rather than starting from ideology, let’s start from what’s best for our kids.”  The boo birds obviously recognized that if “what’s best for our kids” is the guiding principle, most of their precepts are obsolete and non-starters. Though she later did a back slide netting their support, it didn’t get her the nomination. Should be a lesson to all you candidates out there!  

We end on a good note…

NEW BEGINNINGS WHERE AMERICA’S DAY BEGINS.  We are heartened that the little island of Guam is moving to expand charter schools! While the 7 additional charter schools are not as many as needed) , the move passed the Senate by a 12 – 2 margin.  As the bill’s author said, "You're looking at what the public is wanting, the parents are wanting for their children and complying with them."  Complying with what parents want for their children…are you listening, Randi, Mayor deBlasio, Bernie, and all those allegedly progressive parents who have the money to live in “better” school districts (usually white) and show up at hearings decrying the charter schools that help everyone else??

Drop us a line, as always, please reach out with any input and suggestions.  

 

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.

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