Newswire – June 16, 2020

FLAGS, GRADS AND DADS

 

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!

Kirkland & Ellis Espinoza Memo

CER’s Latest Action Series Covered in the Boston Globe

Boston Globe | June 10, 2020
Read Full Article Here

Two Catholic school superintendents who serve over 100,000 combined students – most of them from marginalized communities shared the urgency of Saving Catholic Schools in the most recent episode of our COVID ACTION Series – Saving Catholic Schools: What’s Happened & Why it’s Important

WATCH NOW

 


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.

Special Newswire – June 8, 2020

A Special – and perhaps most important to date –  Newswire

EDUCATION AS A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE

Dear Friends –

We, too, are saddened and shocked by the murders, the racism, the disrespect, the destruction. As advocates for education opportunity and excellence, we’ve always believed that education — if not “the” — is at least “a” great equalizer.  

We’ve watched and read the many statements that continue to pour out to join with those who hurt, and to take a stand. We’ve contemplated what to do, what to say and didn’t want to just write something to say we did it, especially when so many other voices are more important, and more in need of being heard.

For 26 years CER has pushed the cause of all parents and children who desperately need a chance at a great future to the front of the line — prodding, cajoling, yelling and demanding equal access to opportunities for all that are normally reserved for the affluent.  Life-saving education opportunities help students defy the odds, graduate, go to college, land amazing jobs, and live more fulfilling lives.

As CER Director David Hardy, founder of Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia often argues that without such opportunities in his native Philadelphia, most African-American boys are lucky to make it out of high school.

Donald Hense, another CER Director, founded the Friendship Public Charter School network precisely to equalize opportunity and elevate the change of low income students of color and he succeeded.  We learn regularly from Donald, David, Kevin Chavous and hundreds of our friends and mentors who work every day to eradicate racism.  

But this alone has not made our society more inclusive nor made the actions towards minorities live up to the ideals put forth in our founding documents. Our efforts to build a just society must indeed match our efforts to build a country of wealth. Education is not all that is required to ensure every person is treated with dignity. 

As Jessie Woolley-Wilson of Dreambox Learning wrote, “I remain a strong believer that access to a great education for all is a civil right and an essential ingredient to cultivating learning and life success for everyone. Nevertheless, recent events demonstrate that education can only go so far in a society where POC are dehumanized, marginalized and victimized.”

Jessie and thousands like her have shared inspiring thoughts in recent days to spur action. Rather than add to the chorus, we’d prefer to share just a few of those that say it better than we could, and exemplify how we at CER believe we are best able to contribute to the cause of justice.

Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State, professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business:
“Perhaps this is like the moment in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. Or perhaps this is like that fateful Sunday in September 1963, quite personal to me, when a bomb in a Birmingham church killed four girls from my neighborhood and shook our nation to its core. Some six decades later, perhaps all of us — regardless of skin color — are, to quote Mississippi sharecropper and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’

“Our country has often moved forward and been made better through peaceful protests. But our cities must stop burning. Innocent people, including many minority and immigrant business owners, are watching their livelihoods go up in smoke. There is no excuse for looting and criminality, and offenders must be stopped. But a call for calm is not enough, either. This time, we must remain vigilant and maintain our determination to make a difference….So I ask my fellow Americans: What will each of you do? My personal passion is educational opportunity, because it is a partial shield against prejudice. It is not a perfect shield, I know, but it gives people a fighting chance. In my conversations, I want to discuss why the learning gap for black kids is so stubborn and what can be done about it. What is your question about the impact of race on the lives of Americans? And what will you do to find answers?”

Michael Horn, co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation and senior strategist at Guild Education
“As a white person, I’ve been moved to sadness and anger in the days since Floyd’s murder… It’s served as a reminder of one of the reasons I work in education…Why my personal mission is to transform learning so that all individuals—regardless of their background and identity and unfettered by the biases of others—can build their passions and fulfill their human potential. So that all individuals can discover how they can best contribute positively to that world—and do just that. So that we can create the opportunity for all individuals to be inspired by others and make progress. And why I believe that we must tailor learning for each and every child so that we embrace and view each as an individual human being full of promise, not a widget in a factory-model education system….” 

Alvaro DiVicente, Headmaster, The Heights School, Potomac, MD
“During the course of the past 48 hours I have written and erased multiple letters. Ultimately, this is not the time for explanations about cultural realities, philosophical principles, or even exhortations to healing divisions. Instead, this is a time when we, as a family of families, are called to grieve, empathize, support, love, and protect.

“To grieve, because a man died unnecessarily in a brutal manner.  We must not forget to pray for the repose of the soul of George Floyd, and for the consolation of his family and friends.

“To empathize, because this is a dismally difficult time for black Americans.  No man should be defined by the color of his skin.  No man must suffer because of his race.

“To support, because our black students live with a keen awareness of the prejudice that presses in upon their childhood, boyhood, and youth.  May the message from every Heights student, faculty, and parent to our black students be: ‘I stand with you. I am here for you. What can I do to help?’

“To love, because that is the most powerful force in the world and the only one capable of cauterizing the long-festering wound of racism in our country.”

Pope Francis:
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that violence is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost. Let us pray for reconciliation and peace.”

St. Francis of Assisi
“Lord, make us instruments of Your peace.”

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In His good time He will indeed make us instruments of His peace. Until that time, we will continue to learn, to understand, and to do all in our power to provide quality education to those in our society who need it most. God bless you, your families, your schools and your kids.

 

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!

In New Mexico, A High Quality Charter School Gets Punished by State Regulators

Forbes | June 4, 2020
By Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of CER

It’s hard to believe, but an A rated school in Albuquerque, New Mexico for over four years – only one of 13% of schools in the state with that distinction – has been denied an expansion to serve the 1,000 students on the waiting list. Even in a time of Covid, and uncertainty over schooling, more than 1,000 parents trust that the Mission Achievement and Success Charter School (MAS) will serve their children well, no matter the environmental factors we face today.

And it’s no wonder parents want to send their students to MAS. In early literacy, MAS has outperformed the State of New Mexico, the Albuquerque school district and other area school districts by margins of 20-30% higher.  They’ve seen similar results in math.  Their student body is 90% minority and 81% economically disadvantaged. 100% of MAS students have graduated high school with acceptance to either college or the armed forces.

On the 2019 National Assessment of Educational ProgressNation’s Report Card, New Mexico students rated 46th in math proficiency and 48th in reading. In all grades charter school students outperformed traditional public school students. That’s not a blind criticism; it’s a fact. As difficult as that is for some to accept facts, there should be no reason that any governmental agency tasked with approving and overseeing the creation and expansion of charter schools – it’s sole reason for existence – would deny families for whom education is the great equalizer the lifeline and opportunity they deserve.

Enter the Public Education Commission (PEC), the state authorizer for charter schools. An elected body (never a good idea in charter school laws, but that’s another story), the PEC listened to “neighbors” of MAS complaining that the traffic generated by the school was inconvenient for them and a possible safety hazard. After changing the rules for the hearing to allow hours of testimony from previously unknown opponents, Commission Chairwoman Patricia Gipson personally read every email from the neighbors who were “inconvenienced” by traffic. She refused to read the letters of support for MAS – hundreds of them! – from students, staff, parents, and the community, including the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. There were over 150 staff members, parents, and students in attendance at the PEC Zoom meeting on May 22nd.

The Public Education Commission also received a petition with 2,117 signatures from family members, students, waitlisted families, and community members supporting the cap increase.

When the NM Public Education Department Transportation Bureau inspected the school earlier this school year, they had no issues with safety and found arrival/dismissal to be one of the safest they had seen. The school’s insurance carrier also inspected for safety, saw no issues and indicated the arrival and dismissal procedures were fully compliant. MAS also asked for local law enforcement from both the city and county to observe and neither noted concerns.

With more than 1,300 students in grades K-12 spread out over two campuses. Most of the neighbors love seeing a successful, safe, mission driven school in their area. But a vocal minority complained that MAS refused to make the arrival/dismissal area of the school a school zone, with flashing lights and a prominent crosswalk. The PEC accepted that at face value when in reality, the school has been asking for precisely that for years and has been denied and told it was not necessary.

Minutes after the PEC voted to deny the enrollment increase based on perceived claims about safety issues, MAS’s leaders asked what they could do to prove the school was “safe” in the Commission’s eyes. PEC said they couldn’t say for sure, and maybe MAS could check the record, even though they had voted on this very issue literally minutes before.

Educational excellence obviously wasn’t on the agenda for the PEC, though it clearly should have been.  Nobody disputed the fact that MAS was giving thousands of Albuquerque kids an education superior to what they could get elsewhere in the city. Nobody disputed the fact that by doing so MAS was increasing the lifetime earning potential of these economically disadvantaged kids by hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of dollars. The Commissioners clearly had wanted to protect the status quo, perhaps to ensure their reelection on June 2. That’s why politics shouldn’t be part of the education process.

Shame on the PEC. Isn’t there enough hostility and tension in the world today? Isn’t trauma from Covid and racism doing enough harm to our communities? The only antidote to ignorance is education. MAS is doing its part to ensure that low income families have an opportunity to become productive citizens that we can hope will drive a better tomorrow for all people. This is not the first time the state has tried to hamper this schools’ work and attempts to do its job.

It’s time for the public to say enough – peacefully.  It may be too late to throw the PEC out of office this time, but the people can influence the make-up of the state legislature to make changes in law that ensure that those who oppose equal educational opportunity for all never have the privilege of serving in public office again.

Follow Jeanne on Twitter or LinkedIn or some of her other work here


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.

New Mexico Denies Exceptional School Expansion

New Mexico Denies Exceptional School Expansion

WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 5, 2020) — Today, in Forbes, CER Founder & CEO Jeanne Allen reveals what and how a New Mexico agency unfairly denied the Mission Achievement and Success Charter School, an A Rated charter school, expansion. With a student body more than 90%  percent minority, MAS was aiming to serve the more than 1,000 students on its waiting list. “There should be no reason that any governmental agency tasked with approving and overseeing the creation and expansion of charter schools – would deny families for whom education is the great equalizer,” Allen wrote. Click here for more.

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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.

Newswire – June 2, 2020

NO POMP – LOTS OF CIRCUMSTANCES

COVID 19 MEANT GRADUATIONS WITH NO POMP BUT LOTS OF CIRCUMSTANCES.  This is a very different Newswire, but these are very different times. Anyone worried about the ingenuity of the upcoming generation need look no further than the joyous graduation celebrations that are taking place — looking nothing like what we’ve seen in the past. Most of the “pomp” associated with graduations could not take place, but schools and graduates made sure that the “circumstances” were memorable nonetheless. Get ready to smile as we run down — in no particular order — just a few for you.

SENIORS AT SOMERSET ISLAND PREP, in Florida, graduated in style—on jet skis! Thanks to a local business that allowed the students to use their jet skis to help celebrate this milestone, the students received lessons prior to their big day and then jet skied in front of Key West’s Southernmost House wearing their gowns and masks—where the principal stood on the dock to hand out their diplomas.

STUDENTS AT CAROLINA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL in North Carolina participated in a drive-thru graduation ceremony. Staying close to tradition, the students listened to speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and keynote speaker—while also following social distancing guidelines. The high school seniors then hopped out of vehicles and joined a line one at a time to receive their diplomas. Each graduate received a handmade mask to celebrate this moment.

THE LARGEST CLASS TO EVER GRADUATE FROM Southwest Leadership Academy in Phoenix will always remember their “drive-through” graduation ceremony as the craziest but probably the most fun. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of the school staff, teachers and administrators students still celebrated their achievement with a parade of cars, food, pictures and lots of whooping and hollering. The school still intends to have a prom this fall and formal graduation in August.

THE SECOND CLASS OF SENIORS WILL GRADUATE FROM Oregon Trail Academy, but unlike their predecessors they will not get a ceremony at the iconic Timberline Lodge.  Students will participate in a drive-thru ceremony in the afternoon and watch the pre-recorded portion in the evening. The virtual celebration will include speeches from the valedictorian, salutatorian, and commencement speaker. It will also include words of wisdom from the graduates and photos. Kudos to the school and seniors for their creativity and determination to celebrate a new chapter!

NEWARK CHARTER SCHOOL in Delaware held a drive-thru graduation for their high school seniors. Parents and students drove through the parking lot to celebrate this milestone. Each senior had the opportunity to exit the car one at a time to receive their diploma. Families later received a recording of the school’s commencement speeches.

THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT is blessed with incredible physical beauty and the Mission Achievement and Success charter schools, one of only 13% of schools in the state to consistently receive an A rating.  Faculty, parents, and of course students were sad that they could not have graduation ceremonies on the regular scheduled date, but the schools have big plans to make it up to them with a celebration that the grads will not forget. 100% of the graduating class has been accepted to college or the armed forces. You can get a glimpse of the grads in this video.

RENAISSANCE ACADEMY IN PENNSYLVANIA is helping their high school seniors show off their accomplishments! The school gave their students yard signs to keep spirits high and celebrate graduation. Members of the school’s board of trustees went door-to-door delivering the signs. Many students are showing their appreciation and enthusiasm on social media—using the hashtag #RASeniorsStrong.

SUCCESS IS MORE THAN A MOTTO AT THE SUCCESS ACADEMY. We’re not sure of the graduation plans for the Success Academy of Liberal Arts in Manhattan, but we are sure of the cracker jack job the school does educating its students. Every senior at Success –  one of the city’s largest charter school networks serving 17,000 students in 45 schools —  has been accepted to a college this year. Eagle-eyed readers will note that this achievement is not a stranger to charter schools. And by the way,  the senior class notched an average SAT score of 1268 en route to their college acceptances — nearly 200 points higher than the national average.  Someone please tell us again why charter schools are bad for kids.

DID WE MISS YOUR UNIQUE GRADUATION? We know we’ve barely scratched the surface with the items above.   The country needs good news now more than ever — and you can help us spread it. Send us information and photos to info@edreform.com ( or bill@edreform.com )  so we can include it in next week’s Newswire. In the meantime, stay safe, take comfort from your family, and as our British cousins say, keep calm and carry on!


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!

Supreme Court Decision in Education Case Imminent

Supreme Court Decision in Education Case Imminent

Blaine Amendments and Rights of Families to Direct Their Children’s Education at Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A decision in the case Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue is expected within the next 30 days and could fundamentally alter education governance in the US. At issue is the constitutionality of Montana’s Blaine Amendment, one of 37, that was enacted explicitly to discriminate against Catholics in the 1800s, in favor of protestant-influenced public schools.  The effect is that states that wish to enact scholarship programs to help parents pay for non-public schools are often held unconstitutional citing Blaine amendments. The discriminatory history of “Blaine Amendments,” which was fiercely debated and acknowledged at oral arguments which took place on January 22, 2020, highlights the case’s potentially extraordinary ramifications nationwide for parent rights’ and their ability to secure the best education possible for them.

The Center for Education Reform (CER), joined by 16 other groups, filed an amicus brief, authored by Kirkland and Ellis partner and former Solicitor General Paul Clement, citing numerous court precedents that should compel the High Court to overturn Montana’s decision against the parents who filed suit to retain a scholarship program that the Montana legislature had enacted to support education opportunity. As he argues:

“…parents—not the government—have both the fundamental right and the high calling to direct the education and upbringing of their children…Denying parents the ability to send their children to a desired school simply because that school is religiously affiliated directly implicates First Amendment concerns…The Free Exercise Clause “‘protect[s] religious observers against unequal treatment’ and subjects to the strictest scrutiny laws that target the religious for ‘special disabilities’ based on their ‘religious status.’” 

With the Supreme Court not able to hear oral arguments in other cases, the decision may very well be decided before the expected date in June. If the Court rules for Kendra Espinoza and against Montana’s Blaine amendment, and if it is a broad enough decision that it would apply to other Blaine amendments around the country, the result could be dramatic for expanding education opportunity. Countless American students will be given new opportunities to obtain and continue a quality education. Thousands on both sides of the issue are waiting eagerly for a decision.

If you are interested in discussing education, the case or Blaine Amendments please contact CER at pr@edreform.com or @edreform on Twitter.


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 * * For more information about Espinoza v. Montana and the significant history of the “Blaine Amendment,” visit CER’s BLAINE INFORMATION HQ or peruse “The Problem With The Blaine Amendment”  by CER Founder & CEO Jeanne Allen (The Huffington Post, August 2017) * * 

Newswire – May 26, 2020

FREEDOM’S LEGACY – AND FUTURE.

BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY SLIPS OUT OF MEMORY, let’s be sure to remember what it is all about — the cost paid by our fellow Americans to insure that we all had a precious commodity, one they thought worth dying for — freedom.

“WHY AMERICA”? Teaching love of country isn’t just for patriotic holidays.  Now’s a good time to share new resources with the kids in your home or who you are teaching remotely. Easy to use course outlines and material that make teaching American history a snap can be found here on Why America? at edreform.com.

SCHOOL DAZE. The biggest ed story out there daily it seems is reopening schools. As Wall Street Journal’s Tawnell Hobbs reports, “Students wearing masks, eating lunch in classrooms and attending school in person only two days a week are among the scenarios being looked at in school districts throughout the U.S. planning to reopen in the fall…Children who are academically behind or without internet access would get preference for in-person learning under some proposals. Other plans prohibit sharing school supplies and desks closer than six feet apart, and limit parents and other visitors on campuses.”Whatever your own community or schools’ solutions, it’s clear that options are essential.And when schools do reopen, who will be there? “About 20% of teachers say they don’t intend to return in the fall. And about 30% of parents say they’re very likely to continue at-home learning,” according to a new poll from USA Today.

SILVER EDUCATION LININGS. Yes, the virus has been a tragedy for the country. But behind the Covid cloud, the everyday, real life experiences of millions of Americans during the “lockdown” have opened eyes and shown the many possibilities that come with new education responsibilities…  Reporting for the New York Times, Elizabeth Harris says “one unexpected silver lining of the shutdown has been an improved learning experience for certain students, including some who struggle to pay attention in class and even some high-achieving self-starters.” Where ‘remote learning’ was a foreign concept to most parents it is now catching on

YET SOME ARE ATTACKING REMOTE ED…. And also likening it to homeschooling, where parents drive when and what their children are taught. A Harvard prof said home schooling maximizes potential for child abuse. But he and others like him were summarily rebuked and many are now becoming convinced of the value. According to John Stossel, “‘Home-schoolers score 30% higher on SAT tests.’ They also do better in college, and they are less likely to drink or do drugs.”

LEARNING CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE. Love this idea from an educators technology group (h/t to Real Clear Education) to take a tour of the world using google maps!

BLACK & BROWN v BIDEN?  “The votes of black and brown charter school parents matter. Ignore us at your own peril.” The bold and unwavering Dr. Howard Fuller cautions Vice President Joe Biden about the loss of votes he’ll encounter if he continues to toe the union line rather than what’s good for children.  As we all agree, giving parents power and ensuring all have access to education excellence for America’s kids are way too important to become just another political piñata. 

In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration or “Decoration Day” for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War. It is to be designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country…” 

Throughout the years a number of changes have been enacted to this federal holiday, a shift from May 30 to the last Monday of the month to allow for a three day weekend, the name Memorial Day being officially adopted, and since 2000, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.

No matter the official name or date, it’s of paramount importance we celebrate Memorial Day.  Millions have given their lives on the fields of battle to make it possible for us to enjoy the “blessings of liberty.”

It is those individuals who gave what President Lincoln called, “the last full measure of devotion…to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Pause with us to remember and reflect on the sacrifice made by these brave individuals and understand that even in the midst of today’s challenges, it pales in comparison to offering one’s life for something greater.

Enjoy your Memorial Day week.


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!

Educational Choice Advocacy Alert to Parents, Clergy and Educators