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Newswire – September 10, 2019

HOUSTON,  WE HAVE A PROBLEM - AND A SOLUTION. Thousands of parents will rally this Wednesday on the eve of the next Democratic Debate to warn candidates that education opportunity means more to them than hollow promises to special interest groups. At issue is the position of most of the candidates on charter schools, which since they declared and despite prior support by some, they’ve virtually waged war on, criticizing and promising to stop the innovative, successful schools that have saved millions of minority students.  Started by prominent and well respected African-American and Hispanic leaders, Save Our Charter Schools kicks off the first of what will be  many demonstrations with a “Pack The Park” rally in Houston to show the candidates - and the public - that they mean business.   You cannot afford to be a sunshine patriot in this fight. If you’re in the area, get off that couch and go to the rally! And if you’re in the media, this deserves your coverage more than any other issue today!

THE LAND OF DIS-ENCHANTMENT.      Prime example of the negativism the candidates have created, the Albuquerque Public Schools Board recently denied Voz Collegiate Preparatory Charter School a  charter by the Board, after they claimed that the application had “set a new bar,” that the governing board of directors was “among the most impressive” they’d seen and hearing more than a dozen community members stand in support. Despite a recommendation of approval from APS staff, the APS board voted 5-2 against the charter. It’s not that Voz Collegiate didn’t sound like a good idea, they reasoned; Albuquerque just doesn’t need another school. On second thought, this isn’t dis-enchantment, this is rank stupidity. Rally, anyone?

WHY THE ATTACKS ON EXCELLENCE? It’s still the same old story, not as Dooley Wilson sang  of “love and glory” but as Woodward and Bernstein found of “follow the money”.  Sad examples from New York and California  illustrate that if actually providing quality education is on the union’s agenda at all, it is far down the list.  We present these and the above not to depress - there are no Eeyore’s at CER, but rather to illustrate that we are not exaggerating the scope and magnitude of the onslaught against all forms of choice.

NOT ALL NEWS IS BAD FROM CALIFORNIA. From one of the prettiest cities in America comes the welcome news that   Sycamore Creek Community Charter School has opened in Huntington Beach, California. Providing this option to local kids was of course met by opposition from the usual suspects -  those who think a business model that hasn’t changed in 150 years is appropriate for 2019 - but happily wiser heads prevailed at the local School Board. Sycamore Creek’s curriculum is based on the principles of public Waldorf education, a model that focuses on students’ creativity and incorporates art into all parts of its teaching.

BIGGEST FIGHT IN D.C. DOESN’T INVOLVE THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS.  It is between the city and the people who have created schools to serve the people of the District of Columbia.  CER Founder & CEO Jeanne Allen highlights this fight - and some hopeful signs - in this week’s Reality Check podcast with the incredibly compelling civil rights leader Dr. Ramona Edelin of the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools and Shawn Hardnett, Founder and Executive Director of Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School in Washington, DC. In what world does it make sense to close the doors of opportunity?  Edelin and Hardnett provide the obvious answer - it doesn’t, as well as a means to open the doors at End The List. Pay a visit and sign up!

CHARTERS & CHOICE COME IN MANY SHAPES AND SIZES. The stories abound - the proof of concept concept behind charters and education choice is providing individual learning to fit the individual needs of the widest variety of students. From Bridge Preparatory Charter School in Staten Island, specifically created to serve dyslexic students to the success of “virtual schooling” at the statewide virtual school Alabama Connections Academy and through a network of traditional and charter virtual schools in North Carolina, these offerings are life-saving options. To the unions who fight them, these kids apparently are just “collateral damage”.

Students enrolled at Alabama Connections Academy have their photo made beneath a rocket at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. Despite being an online school, students enrolled in ACA participate in field trips.

COURTS DELIVER GOOD NEWS. Despite what the National Charter School Ranking and Scorecard considers a weak law with only a D grade, the courts in the Magnolia State ruled that Mississippi’s charter law is indeed constitutional, and that public funds for the charters are indeed going to the right place - public schools!  Another critical court case about money and its use for the public good is  making its way through the US Supreme Court, as it gathers next month to hear a challenge to so-called “Blaine Amendments” to state constitutions  in THIRTY EIGHT states which prohibit parents from directing the flow of tax dollars allocated for their childrens’ education to a religious organization.  CER is teaming up with organizations around the country to make our case on that. More to come.

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.