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Newswire – June 16, 2020



A MOMENTOUS WEEK kicked off on Sunday with the 135th celebration of “Flag Day,” observed on June 14th.  That was the date in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the flag. We can’t think of a better time to remind ourselves of the last line of the Pledge of Allegiance – “With liberty and justice for all”. That is our fervent hope — and an absolute necessity. We also had creative graduations and a wish that at least one “father” does not have a happy day.

INNOVATIVE CHARTER GRADUATIONS CONTINUE. Charters around the country are showing that innovation isn’t just for learning, but also for celebrating that learning with unique graduations made necessary by COVID19 regulations. Here’s a sampling:

A THREE DAY OUTSIDE, “ONE AT A TIME” GRADUATION was held by STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, TN.  Ninety-eight graduateswalked across the outdoor stage to receive their diplomas with families proudly watching from a safe distance. These ninety-eight enrolled in fifth grade as underachievers in math and language. All graduates are headed to college with over $5.5 million in scholarships. The achievements and ceremony generated a well deserved very upbeat local television news report.

TELESIS PREPARATORY ACADEMY was the only school in Lake Havasu, AZ that live streamed  graduation ceremonies, socially distanced, for their PK-12 charter school. They had a Keynote  speaker and a Valedictorian who delivered her address, and many smiling and some crying moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, friends and more relatives watching from home at the very moment and day that their graduation date would have been held . . . right on schedule.

HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY in Lorain Ohio had a “Family in Person” graduation ceremony, where families are called into the auditorium one-by-one, the student walks across the stage, receives a diploma and walks out of the auditorium to an area where all celebrate — with proper distancing.  Horizon produced a superb video of the event for students and families to keep for many years to come.

BURNS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY charter in Oak Hill, FL had a “drive thru” graduation on campus.  Each student had a car decorated with their name, the cars were driven to the front of the school where they stopped and received diplomas and awards,take pictures and see their teachers and staff members. Many thought this was more fun than a “normal” graduation.

SEVEN THOUSAND CHARTER SCHOOLS – THREE MILLION STUDENTS. How did the movement begin?  How did we get to where we are? Answers to these and more can be found in Jeanne Allen’s “An Unfinished Journey”. Part memoir, part history of charters from one who was “present at the creation,” part keen observations on education and politics, it’s all great reading.  Be prepared to laugh — and cry — on this fascinating journey.

UNHAPPY FATHERS’ DAY FOR THE FATHER OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY IN EDUCATION? The US Supreme Court is about to decide a case that could change the way students attend school forever.  Espinoza v. Montana, will either validate or deny parents rights to direct their kids education. At the heart of Espinoza are the remnants of 19th Century bigotry under the guise of the “Blaine Amendments.” Named after notorious bigot James G. Blaine, the laws strictly prohibit government from supporting attendance at private school and exist in 37 state constitutions. The case could be decided any day.

It’s critical that people like yourself involved in education policy/legislation be informed, and prepared to take action when this momentous decision is issued. A court win would be a memorable Father’s Day gift to the fathers and grandfathers who support parental choice in education.

We close with a salute to all who labor in the charter school vineyards, as quality education for all is one sure road to equality for all. A colleague recently wrote what I think are profound words: “It is not just the past sins of our nation, but the current policies and actions of our leaders that place a knee on the neck of many students. Unequal and wholly inadequate educational funding for Black and Brown students is a knee on their necks. Government policies that mandate students attend a horrible school is a knee on their necks. An education system that is driven by politics and power and not what is best for scholars is a knee on their necks.”  Amen and amen.

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. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers…suggestions, questions and even the occasional complaint!