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Newswire – August 13, 2019

TAKE BACK YOUR “SCHOOL.” Does your school look like this idyllic version, from the old “school days, school days, good old golden rule days.."?, when READING AND WRITING AND ‘RITHMATIC were taught proficiently - and history, too, instead of the non- stop revisionist history going on in these current school days? For a good example of this see “Indigenous What?” below.  Or is your “school” more like this one, the first truly Global School which “provides a panoply of spaces for modern learning, including areas for project-based learning, online learning, labs, global communications, and common areas"?

Organizations like Whittle School and Studios, and the innovators at Reimagine Schools (a project of the National Design alliance and spearheaded by Google Founder Eric Schmidt), are transforming learning environments into more flexible spaces so that “school” no longer fixes students into modules of time, place and space but accelerates personalization and seeks to help them achieve competency.

It’s 2019, friends, and Back-to-School looks more different than ever before. Can we keep moving forward, rather than back? It depends on whether you’re ready to act. Read on, and join our fight to Take Back Your School from the 19th century, and re-envision learning, in wholly different ways, by different providers, and open and accessible to all no matter where they live or what their lot in life happens to be!

LET FREEDOM RING. The first step to ringing a new tune on those school bells is letting freedom ring… the freedom to make fundamental decisions about where and how your children are educated. Use this handy, dandy "Take Back Your School" action guide, your one-stop-shopping to how your schools rank. Find out how much power parents have with CER’s Parent Power Index; discover why now more than ever we need a New Opportunity Agenda, which is as relevant today as it was when we wrote it in 2016. And if you’re a parent and want to know best how to effect change, here’s your handy, easy to follow "how to" guide to effecting that change.

SHOW ME THE DATA. That’s the most important thing to remember in any conversation about education, whether you’re in your kids’ school or on the speaking circuit.  But every American regardless of occupation or parental status needs to understand that our R-O-E (Return on Education… hat tip to GSV's Michael Moe) is sorely lacking.

These pictures are worth way more than a thousand words, and should be included in every “welcome back” school handout.  (Holding our breath…)

INDIGENOUS WHAT? Our back to school Dunce Cap goes to the National Education Association and its new call to scrap Columbus Day in favor of “Indigenous People’s Day.” This of course is not about history, but about revising it.   Enter the The National Organization Of Italian American Women which is succinctly defending the case for Columbus Day:  “The Columbus Day holiday has become a time for Americans of Italian heritage to celebrate past and present achievements as we look forward toward the future. We recognize that among the indigenous peoples of the Americas Columbus has become a symbol of European imperialism. NOIAW respectfully acknowledges this…” but as they point out, the  “aim remains for our membership to better understand the complexities of its history, while celebrating our shared pride as Italian.” We might add that the aim of history - period - is to understand human complexity, which you can’t make go away whether you remove a holiday or cover up a wall that has inconvenient truths. It's important to understand the pro-Columbus argument which always seems to get lost in the shuffle on this issue. Then sharpen your pencils and keyboard and tell the NEA to focus on…oh….say…education. Call NEA now at 202-833-4000, or write their president directly at leskelson@nea.org.

BTS SUCCESS STORIES. A good contrast and antidote to the data above is the encouraging news that the KIPP charter school in Houston, Texas  is expanding after 25 successful years of giving its students superior education at lower costs than public charters; and from Henderson, Minnesota where the Minnesota New Country School is also celebrating 25 years of education excellence. That sound you hear is parents stampeding to the doors of charter schools so their kids will have quality back–to-school days. 

We’ll share more success stories next week and daily on Twitter and FB . Also don’t forget to subscribe to The Media Bullpen if you want your news unfiltered and daily. And tune into our summer rewind series of Reality Check w/Jeanne Allen for thoughtful discussions on transforming school and work.

And with those bits of transcontinental good news we wish everyone a happy remainder of summer and a successful and safe school year.  Open the doors and let the learning begin! 


   As always, please drop us a line, 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.