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Newswire: May 22, 2012

Vol. 14, No. 21

A PIONEER FOR CHARTERS…that’s former Michigan Governor John Engler, who recently was honored by Central Michigan University’s renaming of their charter school center after him. Engler has never sat on the sidelines of reform. It never bothered him to ruffle feathers to put students front and center in school improvement. And, he challenged anyone, including the state’s powerful unions at the time who built barricades to thwart reform. Engler did all this not today, when the political environment is more conducive to reform. He was in the vanguard in the 1990s and put charter schools and other reform measures that highlighted the needs of children above all else. CER’s Jeanne Allen spoke at the dedication ceremonies, stressing how Engler’s accomplishments in Michigan, which went beyond charters, spread nationwide. Says Allen: He “pioneered a movement for student-centered funding and transparency for results. His commitment to that idea paved the way for one of the most successful and respected university authorizers in the nation to blossom and has resulted not only in an environment rich in choice and accountability here, but replication of strong charter laws modeled on Michigan’s around the country. It is fitting that his name will be on this center, the gold standard in university authorizers of charter schools.”

LIKE THEIR THINKING. The Washington Post upped themselves in their support for charter schools in a recent editorial by Fred Hiatt. Stating the very rational conclusion that, yes, teachers can be evaluated despite “hard-to-quantify variables,” just like other professions, Hiatt offers an even better way to “sidestep” critics – simply bypass the bureaucracy and go charter. Giving the principal real power to hire and fire staff, as well as make other key decisions for the school, unties the hands of educators to do what

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