Newswire – December 5, 2019

SHARPEN YOUR (PENCILS) SWORDS. The entire blob/aka industrial complex/aka cartel of anti-ed reform groups is uniting to interview the Democratic presidential candidates next Saturday, December 14th, in Pittsburgh. It's a full day forum and will be broadcast live.  

According to PennLive, “The organizing coalition for the Democratic candidates forum includes national groups such as the American Federation of Teachers, Alliance for Educational Justice, Center for Popular Democracy, Action Journey for Justice Alliance, NAACP, National Education Association, Network for Public Education Action, Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Service Employees International Union.

“At least six Democratic presidential hopefuls will attend a nationally televised education forum in Pittsburgh next weekend, according to published reports.

"Event organizers have said confirmed candidates to the day-long forum, in which candidates will appear in a series of individual question-and-answer sessions, include Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer. Two more candidates are considering attending the forum, organizers told TribLive.com. “

Charter school families, students and advocates need to sharpen their swords to defend their honor, integrity and most importantly, these critical education opportunities. OnePA which is helping organize the effort says charter schools will be a big topic, especially since Keystone State Governor Tom Wolf in August pledged to the unions he’d rein in charter school freedoms. Watch @edreform on Twitter for more to come on this and other topics.

FAILURE. AGAIN. We expect that again the negatives about charters will outweigh the positives, which remains baffling given the paltry results the majority of traditional education is getting, no matter what one’s income. With more than half of all funding every state raises and spends going to education, and with education spending at all levels at an all time high , we’re truly shocked that more people aren’t informed about the most recent controversy - namely dropping US performance on International Assessments.

 

The bi-annual Programme on International Student Assessment (PISA) by the OECD which reveals much more information about how and how much students work,  student well-being and more. And of course, non-developing countries are far worse than the US. But you’d think we’d be able to be at the top and be helping all get a leg up… but we apparently can’t even help ourselves. HELLO??   What few words we could muster after the disappointing news was put into a statement for the media and is posted here. But alas, it was a one day story, while far less foundational issues to our country are dominating the papers. 

TALKING TURKEY. Just like turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving…the opportunity to talk informally with family and friends about the critical things going on with education isn’t either. But especially with candidate forums being organized by people who know so little about what’s really happening in education, you’re going to need all the information you can get.  So if you didn’t have a chance to see or use our Turkey Talking Tips for Thanksgiving, check them out now!

LET’S GIVE ‘EM A REALITY CHECK. Cory Booker tells Dems to stop being dogmatic on charters when the reality is why wouldn’t we be dogmatic for something that works! As the New York Times reports, black parents in particular are angry  that their opportunity to use their education tax dollars as they see fit is being attacked, when anyone with money does the same thing daily. Says Chris Stewart, “How patient would middle-class people be if their kids were falling years behind in school? What do they do when the system isn’t working for their kids? Warren’s case is instructive. When the public system didn’t work for her son she put him in a private school. Ambitions for higher office have recast her as a champion of public schools who gets her education policy wholesale from unions and Diane Ravitch, the ranking leader of the unreform movement (and another private school parent turned public school zealot).”  Indeed.

SPEAKING OF REALITY CHECKS...Anyone who wants to hear straight from the people running innovative schools, researching them, developing them or attending them, listen to what people who really know how charter schools and other innovative forms of education work - all in one place for you here.  

 

AND NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS ...The Lighthouse Christian School, a school of choice in Madison, Wisconsin, is the highest ranking of  80/80 schools — those with 80% students of color and 80% students in poverty.  Overall, it ranks 8th of 45 schools in Madison, WI and in all of Dane County, Lighthouse ranks 24th of 120. The school’s report card score is in the very top category of “significantly exceeds expectations.”  Noteworthy for a state with the largest racial educational gaps in the country.

Then there’s the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy which has been named Tennessee's Charter School of the Year by the Tennessee Charter School Center in recognition of their STEAM curriculum and creative programming. 

Finally, kudos to North Carolina’s Charter Teacher of the Year, Ashley Bailey, a biology teacher at Roxboro Community School.  The second educator from the school to win the Charter Teacher of the Year award, Bailey will now be included in a group of nine teachers under consideration for North Carolina’s state teacher of the year.

 

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!