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Newswire – September 4, 2019


The Good News: As has been the case since CER opened its doors in 1993, the public supports education choice. Even in the midst of union bullying and the disinformation campaigns, we know from our day-to-day work, and from reliable polls, that a majority of the general public favor education choice, including when it comes in the form of charter schools.   It’s critical to get the truth about choice and charter school successes - now - into the national narrative and into the hands of education policy makers, community leaders, and media, so that we can tip the scales in favor of choice and charters and force the unions to back down.Join us in recommitting to relentless education of the public and demands from our policymakers as they sharpen their pencils and re-engage in their fall work.  

#OPENTHEDOORS. Here, there and everywhere doors are opening for thousands of students and families whose lives depend on great education to help them to truly participate in the future.  Despite the odds, doors are opening, albeit slowly, but only when pressure is applied to the politicians in charge. Pressure like the #EndtheList effort and CER’s #OPENTHEDOORS together have resulted in change in just a few short weeks.


WE GOT PETITIONS. The public has signed more than 2200 petitions to date demanding that D.C. Mayor Bowser open the doors to opportunity and end the list of the more than 11,000 students still trapped in schools they’d prefer NOT to attend!


THE RESULT?  One down, 11 to go.  Mayor Bowser finally released one  of the 12 buildings available for use by schools. We will thank her, and give credit where credit is due, as well as remind her and the City that  the law is clear that all public charter schools should be given the right of first offer to purchase, lease or otherwise use an excess school facility. The 2200 petitions were vital in getting this done for the kids. The late Senator Everett Dirksen said about politicians “When we feel the heat we see the light”. The petition signers helped Mayor Bowser feel the heat and see the light. A lesson for all charters under siege.

IMAGINE IF THERE WERE SEATS. This study - published April 2019 by Univ of Arkansas - shows DC public charter schools have a  68 percent ROI (return on investment) advantage over traditional public schools! Imagine what they could do if they had buildings…Charter students are performing better, producing higher test scores, and graduating at higher rates even though they cost school districts far less than non-charter kids.. On average, a charter school receives $5,828 less per pupil than traditional public schools (TPS) receive per pupil.  With less funding, less facilities, and less support, charter schools are still outperforming TPS. Now, imagine if charter schools were on equal footing for funding and facilities... 

ADVOCATES NATIONALLY NEED TO STEP IT UP. With stats like the above  every supporter and advocate should put their differences and turf battles aside and demand that no child be left in a school NOT of their choice.  What happens when kids  have a choice has been made clear many times.The latest example is  Learn4Life, a charter school network that is dedicated to helping at risk students  - many of them foster youth -succeed through personalized learning and community resources.  The graduation rate of Learn4Life foster youth is 79% - well over the California graduation rate of  59%. The National Foster Youth Institute reports, only half of youth in foster care graduate from high school. Charters are getting the job done for kids, yet these are the schools California wants union-driven policies to to control. It is vital that California charter & choice advocates arm themselves with these  FACTS - the kind of “heat” that will make elected officials and just plain folks “see the light”.


NEW SUPE IN NEW MEXICO. Will he continue his Administration's antagonism toward the kind of choices he has made or give more choices to students, like those at the acclaimed  MAS Charter School, the opportunity to experience a great education? Leaders in NM give Dr. Stewart advice  on how he might turn the ship around.  

VEGAS VICE. The unions are at it again, this time, The Clark County Education Association is threatening to strike on September 10th if their salary demands are not met at the upcoming school board meeting. The district has already offered up a generous package  3% pay increase and a 4% increase for medical benefits.  To the surprise of no one the union’s response was “it’s not enough”. Happily the teachers decided that they’d rather teach then walk a picket line and a tentative settlement has been reached. Let’s hope the union puts as much effort into raising the benefits for kids - higher achievement scores -  as they did in raising the benefits for themselves.

TAX PAID MINISTER OF PROPAGANDA IN LAS VEGAS. The Clark County  School District has created a position within their district to influence students and families not to enroll in a charter school ! The position is paid a whopping $117,000 annually. Shouldn’t the unions be outraged that the school district is paying out over a hundred thousand dollars to  another “administrative” role, instead of using that money to support teachers, students, and school resources? They argue that when students leave a traditional school for a charter school, the school loses per pupil funding. If the district has $117,000 for what is essentially a Minister Of Propaganda  it’s clear that the district and teachers have sufficient funding.. Maybe instead of trying to oppose charter schools, they could put their money to better use within their own schools. That $117,000 is the cost of educating 8- 10 kids in Nevada. The fact that it is instead being used for a bureaucrat whose sole job will be to oppose choice for Nevada’s school kids tells you all you need to know about the union’s real agenda.

FOLLOW THE MONEY - LOTS OF IT. Teachers unions nationwide are fighting aggressively to close the doors for opportunity for millions. They are pouring millions of dollars into the cause, and coercing  their public school districts to follow suit. In California, the CTA (California Teachers Union) spent over $4 million in lobbying efforts to close that door and padlock it shut. As was said in the Watergate investigation,”follow the money”.  The CTA’s use of $4 million to keep California’s woefully under-performing public schools in their strait-jacket leaves a money trail that leads directly to their goal- eliminate all competition so they don’t have to compete.

FOLLOW THE MONEY - INTO THE CESSPOOL.  Eric Premack from the Charter Schools Development Center says two bills pending in the California Legislature“represent a near-catastrophic setback to California’s charter school sector.”   This is a roadmap of the unions’ master plan to gut charters, and is must reading whether your charters  are super-secure or under attack. It is also a reminder that eternal vigilance is the price of protecting education choice.   CSDC anticipates that legislative leaders will fast-track the anti- charter bills through floor votes, perhaps immediately.  All charter and choice supporters MUST contact their local legislators to oppose this bill. Remember the Dirksen quote above! Make them feel the heat. You can find your legislators here.

HOPING FOR THE BEST. The tragic devastation of the Bahamas and threats to our coastal states are a cogent reminder of what occurred in New Orleans 14 years ago now. As we’ve often argued, it shouldn’t take a hurricane to rethink and restructure education. Nor should it take a scandal, mismanagement or outright failure, like in Providence. We join the nation in praying the storm turns off the coast and saves our people, and especially our children. 

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.