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Newswire – July 9, 2019

 

MEET THE EMPIRE. Darth Vader never had such good friends as those in the Education Establishment aka The Blob, The Cartel or the Empire. These veritable defenders of public education tradition - regardless of quality - includes not just the small but vocal senior officials of the national teacher unions (though not the rank & file teachers they claim to represent), but those who aspire to join the Empire, like NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio, several candidates for president and even small potato groups (😉) like the Idaho Charter School Commission.

SUPER STAR DESTROYER? Can you imagine what would happen if an educational choice supporter said they hated public education? There’d be front page news in the largest of papers. But when NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio stands up and tells his NEA forum audience that he literally hates charter schools (miscalling them - on purpose - privatizers), only the New York Post and social media picked it up.

“I am angry about the privatizers. I am sick and tired of these efforts to privatize a precious thing we need — public education. I know we’re not supposed to be saying ‘hate’ — our teachers taught us not to — I hate the privatizers and I want to stop them.”

THE SYSTEM THEY DEFEND. If you want to see what the Empire’s preferred education system looks like, cast your gaze toward Providence, Rhode Island.  Called tragic, a horror story and a situation of "heartbreaking dysfunction and chaos", the state’s own education Commissioner Angela Infante-Green, says the city schools are so dysfunctional that she will not send her own two children there. The bombshell news comes on the heels of a Johns Hopkins University review which details how “(V)ery little visible student learning was going on in the majority of classrooms...There is widespread agreement that bullying, demeaning, and even physical violence are occurring within the school walls at very high levels.”  Stories of students urinating on desks, bad teachers placed on administrative leave while the unions work to put them back… students running the classrooms are just part of the 93-page report.  As the Wall Street Journal opines, “No surprise, then, that only 5% of Providence eighth graders on average scored proficient in math in the 2015 through 2017 school years. That compares to 21.3% in Newark, N.J., where students have similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Low-income students in Worcester, Mass., not far away, were twice as proficient as those in Providence.”   The cost of this abject failure? $18,000 per student. Meanwhile, the state’s small but mighty charter school movement has the same kids but have great results, at an average cost of $14,000 per student, 67% of the cost in traditional public schools.

We are hopeful that Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo - who scores high in the CER Education 50 analysis for her openness to innovation and opportunity will move with all deliberate speed to replace the system that the NEA and its Empire so badly work to protect.

BALTIMORE IS ANOTHER CASE.  A recent report in The Baltimore Sun and reports from the city’s investigative Fox45 offer copious evidence that city’s school district is failing in numerous ways, including “with its vocation program offerings and paths to solid, family-sustaining employment”. But evidence about Green Street Academy  offers a the opposite conclusion. The CTE focused charter ensures “learning to work” opportunities  by producing a 98% graduation rate in 2019, a significant level of college acceptances and admissions to career-track corporate, vocational, trade and military pathways.

BUT CHARTERS CHEAPEN EDUCATION?… The NEA met for its annual Independence Day national assembly, and they did anything but celebrate freedom.  Providence was not on their agenda, but requiring all candidates to publicly state their opposition to all charter school expansion was. And why, if you don’t know already would they claim to want that?  Because here’s what they believe:

“Charter schools exist for one purpose: to cheapen education and strip young people and their families of the right to a public education. Equal, quality public education for all cannot be accomplished by the market economy.”

CUE THE AVENGERS. (OK, we are mixing metaphors here but work with us.) Seven college graduates of the Urban Prep Academies, self-described “black boys from the hood” took the media to task for printing lies about the school and countered with facts – the nemesis of charter opponents – about their experiences and the benefits of Urban Prep. In their words; “Urban Prep provided us with educational opportunities that we would not have been able to receive elsewhere. Urban Prep prepared us for college… And, more importantly, we believe that no other high school could’ve better prepared us for life.”  Let’s hope Baltimore schools grasp the object lesson.

 

IDAHO SPUDS. That’s the only word we can think of to describe the ridiculous public servants who maligned charters in a secret meeting. Thankfully parents have fought back and now their misbehavior is under investigation. Just imagine if such swift justice happened in the traditional system!

A REAL SUCCESS STORY. Fifteen hundred miles east of Urban Prep, (and just down the street from Darth de Blasio) another group of once failed students also put the lie to the Empire’s propaganda.   A Bronx charter school class in the nation’s poorest congressional district not only passed but ‘aced” the Algebra I Regents exam. Eighth-graders at Success Academy Bronx 2   in the nation’s poorest congressional district met wealthy student’s achievement on the state’s Algebra I Regents exam, achieving a ranking of 5 out of 5 on the rigorous test. Hmm, wonder if this fits the NEA definition of “cheapening education”.

 

So while the NEA was bloviating in Houston, charters in diverse locations like Chicago, the Bronx and Baltimore were producing quality education and career paths for their students. In the spirit of Wimbledon (another metaphor for the day!)  we’d say that’s game, set and match for charters.

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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