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Newswire: June 19, 2012

Vol. 14, No. 25

FAILURE TO LAUNCH. For all the rhetoric whirling out of the mouths of GOP leadership in Pennsylvania these days over choice as a civil rights issue or blasting educational destiny based on a zipcode, a scholarship bill that would save the educational lives of needy children and shore up a mainstay of urban education, Catholic schools, continues to languish in Harrisburg. Fingers point at both Governor Corbett and Majority Leader Turzai for holding up the bill for reasons that certainly don’t stack up when compared to the educational blight, particularly in Philadelphia, that blankets the state. Other states have stood up and delivered on vouchers – Louisiana and Indiana. And, GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has placed choice front and center in his education platform. Even the White House has done a turnaround, reaching agreement with Congress to expand D.C.’s Opportunity Scholarship program. So what’s the hold up? Pennsylvania’s leaders are beginning to give new definition to Keystone Cops when it comes to school vouchers.

MAYORS PULL TRIGGER. No equivocating here. At the National Conference of Mayors parent trigger received unanimous support. Bi-partisanship was in high gear as Democratic Mayors Michael Nutter (Philadelphia), Antonio Villaraigosa (L.A.) and Kevin Johnson (Sacramento) helped lead the effort. Union efforts to stranglehold Democratic votes against the measure failed to make a dent and, as written by Reuters reporter Stephanie Simon, is a “sign of the unions’ diminishing clout” within the ranks of their traditional allies. Brown University Professor Kenneth Wong is quoted on his view that mayors have become more “consumer oriented,” which is one reason they may back a parent trigger. Looks like all the efforts to put children and families first when it comes to improving education is having an impact on those in charge of running

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