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Newswire – October 1, 2019

BLAINE BIGOTRY UPDATE.  “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine/the continental liar from the state of Maine.” James Blaine  got this label the old fashioned way - he earned it, though “bigot” would be as accurate as “liar.” In addition to the anti-Catholic virulence of his “Blaine Amendments,” he was also involved in the notorious “Chinese Exclusion Act” of 1882, signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur. Now where would such an odious idea come from? Support for the act was advanced during the 1880 Presidential campaign by...wait for it...James G. Blaine. Frightening to think that this man came within 1,047 votes of becoming President in 1884.

Learn more in this week’s Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, who interviewed former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, an expert in the Constitution who argued 95 cases in front of the US Supreme Court. Clement is the author of the Amicus Brief CER filed on behalf of a diverse group of parent, teacher and child advocates for great education. Espinoza vs. Montana, a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court in the coming year which could rid the state and potentially the nation of the bigoted Blaine Amendments that have been used as an excuse to stop educational freedom across the country.

REVAMPING RURAL ED. Schools in flyover country are often the forgotten stepchild in American education, witness this item from Montana.  And despite increasing attention in the field of rural education, little is changing. To truly transform rural schools there must be a whole new set of ingredients that combine the best of technology with an expanded review of education, from K through Career.  As CER argues in its latest R&E Issues Brief, Expanding Education Innovation and Opportunity in Rural America, “We believe that if we expand and enhance educational opportunities in rural communities and expose them to the best in ed-tech and innovation, we will improve the schools and restore the economic climates of increasingly desolate communities. We must take a ‘SWAT team’ approach to bringing educational innovations and technologies to communities that desperately need and want them by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders eager to partner with rural communities.”  If you’re interested in joining us, just yell.

Source: Adobe Stock Photo


DON’T BLOCK SUCCESS. Whether in NYC where Eva Moskowitz is once again rallying families to fight the ridiculous block on giving children in charter schools space to grow, or Washington, DC, where a city council will convene tomorrow to malign charter schools and pin their failed system ideas on charter schools, we all must stand together to OPEN THE DOORS to opportunity.

A Rally for Success Academy in Queens by Georgett Roberts. Source: NY Post

NB Why isn’t the City Council holding  hearing on the $23 million school district deficit? 

CHICAGO- A TOTTERING, NOT TODDLING, TOWN.  In spite of what Ol’ Blue Eyes crooned, Chicago, specifically its education scene, is tottering on the brink of another education disaster.  The Chicago Teachers’ Union has authorized a strike as early as October 7, in spite of an exceptionally generous contract offerfrom the city and its very union-friendly Mayor. CER believes that good teachers should be well compensated, and last week we featured Jeanne Allen’s common sense  way to do that  - “autonomy, authority and salary”.  Barring that, the Chicago Tribune asks a most relevant question, “Firing bad teachers. Can we get that in the contract, Chicago Teachers Union?” We won’t hold our breath waiting for an answer.

BOLDER IN BOULDER.  We could fill every edition of Newswire just by listing the non-traditional public schools which receive various honors for excellence. While we can’t do that, we do try to highlight successes, and this week’s comes from the Summit Middle Charter School in Boulder, Colorado.  Summit was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of just 362 schools nationally to earn that honor, and among 23 charter schools.  Kudos to all!

Source: Border Valley School District


BRAGGIN’ ON BRYAN.  We’re bursting with pride at the news that former CER intern (circa 1994) and State Rep Rob Bryan, the author of the state’s Scholarship program and Innovative Schools acts will fill a vacant North Carolina State Senate seat! He joins a legislature favorably disposed toward innovation in education but faces a Governor openly hostile to freedom and choice for kids. We’re so glad he’s back as a policymaker! And while we can’t promise all interns a state legislative career, we can promise a fascinating summer of learning about all facets of education.  If you know anyone interested in being an intern for us, please contact CER.

IN OTHER NEWS…. Since yesterday was International Podcast Day (yes we were surprised, too!) we thought we’d offer two of our favorite quotes from past episodes:

 “There is no Republican or Democrat way to teach a kid how to read, write or count.  We’ve layered the politics of education on top of ed policy. It isn’t what is best for kids. ” –  Kevin P. Chavous , Educator and former D.C. Councilman

“We’ve seen tuitions double for high ed and I don’t think anyone with a straight face can say that the quality of education has doubled in the last generation.” Steve Forbes  (@SteveForbesCEO ) .


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.