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Newswire – July 2, 2019

VIVA LAS VEGAS – AND CHARTER SCHOOLS.  We’re in Las Vegas to participate in the annual National Charter Schools Conference. We haven’t seen Elvis – or the longtime heart throb of a particular CER associate – Ann Margret, but we are seeing several thousand charter advocates, teachers, parents, business executives and “just plain folks” who share our passion to provide innovation, choice and opportunity for all of America's kids.  Great to be joining the grassroots of America along with superstars such as Sal Khan of Khan Academy, Hadi Partrovi of Code.Org,  PitBull!   and Nina Rees of the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools. The energy here is palpable, as all are united in not only defeating the current union onslaught against charters but also in continuing to expand the universe of options from K – career for everyone, regardless of zip code.  Follow our continued coverage on twitter @EDREFORMand the Hashtag #NCSC19

HOW AND WHY THE CHARTER REVOLUTION STARTED.  Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, and while the 36 years since 1983’s seminal “A Nation At Risk” report jump started the charter school movement have not always been fun, they have always been rewarding.  A quick history lesson can be had in CER’s inaugural R&E issue brief (That’s short for Research AND Experience) on the history and raison d’être of charter schools, appearing in one of the nation’s largest education related websites.
RUMOR OF CHARTERS’ DEATH IS GREATLY EXAGGERATED.  There has been a blizzard of commentary recently about the attacks on charter schools and their possible demise as a result of the jihad being waged against them by some unions. With a hat tip to Mark Twain, we can report that the rumors of their death – or even ill health frankly - are greatly exaggerated. The movement for innovation, quality and choice in education is certainly under attack, but as the article points out charters’ vital signs are strong and in fact growing stronger when measured by growth and vitality of charters across the country.
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER.  Not long ago the above mentioned AFT’s Randi Weingarten was in West Virginia touting the state’s non-charter public schools and throwing snark at charters.  Jeanne Allen sets the record straight with a column in the West Virginia Gazette.
SCHOOL DISTRICTS’ FINANCIAL PROBLEMS ARE SELF INFLICTED. The anti-charter mob has perfected the “big lie” technique of repeating a whopper long enough, hoping that repetition will have it eventually accepted as truth.  One of these folks favorite canards is that charters “drain resources” from other public schools. That has been proven false many times, and is decisively refuted in a superb piece by Lance Izumi, Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.  As Sergeant Friday used to say, “just the facts”.
STRIKE STRIKES THE STRIKERS. From the “ultimate role reversal” file comes this item about employees threatening to strike because of unhappiness with working conditions, paid family leave and diversity, among other grievances.  What makes the job action notable is that the entity that might be struck is none other than the American Federation of Teachers, whose head honcho Randi Weingarten has been the ringleader in the recent wave of teachers’ strikes across the country. The strikers are using Weingarten’s own pro-strike rhetoric against her. A dictionary-perfect example of being hoisted on your own petard.
AN END TO RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY? We previously reported - and urged action in our first 100 Days paper in early 2016 (link) - about the importance of a legal challenge to the odious “Blaine Amendments” in THIRTY EIGHT states which prohibit parents from directing the flow of tax dollars allocated for their childrens’ education to a religious organization. The right of parents to do so was upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark 2002 Zelman Decision, which concerned the “non-Blaine” state of Ohio. So it was great news that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case challenging the pernicious, deliberately anti-Catholic law in Montana.  We have been tweeting and cheering on the parents’ stalwart efforts in getting SCOTUS to consider once and for all putting an end to these blatantly discriminatory statutes and will be doing that and more for months to come!
THIS JUST IN FROM PHILADELPHIA.  A group of freedom lovers who wanted choice in their lives just issued a declaration, including these lines:

For a special treat go here to see and hear Kate Smith introduce “God Bless America” to the country in 1938.  Sharp eyes might notice a future President has a cameo in the film clip.

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.