(Reprint of CER Newswire)
A weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else — from the nation’s leading voice on education innovation and opportunity.
CHOICE WORDS FOR THE DEBATE
#WHATABOUTUS? Tonight in the Palmetto State at the Democratic Debate, the most interesting activity is likely to be outside, not inside, if Vegas is any guide. Activists led by the Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools and civil rights leader Dr. Howard Fuller are already gathering at Wragg Mall, 382 Meeting St., just a few blocks from the Debate Stage, to engage the media and the candidates in Charleston, starting at 3 PM, to demonstrate that they — together with thousands more across the country — are not going away until the kids they care about have equal access to education opportunity. They couldn’t be more well placed. The motto of SC is, “While I breathe, I hope.” Join and support the work from your desk! PLEASE RETWEET ALL YOU SEE ABOUT THIS @edreform @HowardLFuller, @SaveCharters and @WearePPN.
BY THE NUMBERS. With the overwhelming amount of data showing widespread bipartisan support for charter schools and school choice across the country, it’s a wonder that both the 2020 candidates, and the people who most directly deal with our students and our education system seem so adamant in their quest to drown out the voices of parents, who really matter. And there’s much more than anecdotal support for options in education— “A recent EdChoice public opinion survey found that 78% of Democrats agreed with 78% of Republicans and 77% of independents” in support of education savings accounts, a popular form of school choice.
UNION ENDORSEMENTS OUT. Randi Weingarten, the head of the AFT, has called education choice and charter schools “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation,” despite the fact that in her hometown of NYC, more minority children have succeeded and thrived because of it. Go figure. So it’s no surprise that her Union came out already to say that their members should only vote for Biden, Sanders and Warren, all who have strongly aligned themselves with her. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s like a scene from Gangs of New York! In the same vein, check out George Will’s critique about Elizabeth Warren. We’ll see if her pandering gets her the presidency. It didn’t for Hillary Clinton.
JUST THE FACTS. Charter schools in Newark New Jersey vastly outperform traditional public schools, according to gold standard research by Boston University professor and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Marcus Winter. In fact, the difference between the charters and those traditional public schools the union endorsed candidates want to force students to attend is extreme. “Attending a Newark charter school has a larger effect than 80% of other educational interventions that have been recently studied.”
FIRST OPRAH, NOW ELLEN. Oprah featured leading charter schools a number of times on the air and in her philanthropy. Now Ellen is getting into the act. Upon hearing about KIPP DC teacher Azel Prather teaming up with local barbers, hair stylists, and nail techs to treat his students to a day of pampering, she had him on and presented him with brand new 2020 Hyundai and a $20,000 donation to his foundation. It’s not the first time Degeneres has helped charter schools. Despite Bernie, Liz and the rest, likely it won’t be the last.
COUNTERACTING COVID… or at least its impact on lives. Our hearts go out to those affected by the coronavirus worldwide. But its arrival in Italy hits closer to home for many of us in the West. While all facets of life are restricted, it’s the schools getting closed until March that had us thinking about what we all could do to reduce the impact of this devastating global epidemic while leaders and scientists get it under control.
So what are the kids and students doing? Likely there’s lots of screen time, but what if rather than leave it to the imagination of the student or family there was a plan whenever a tragedy strikes, like in New Orleans, or Puerto Rico, to keep the kids moving forward. The extraordinary array of educational technologies — from being able to learn the English language and explore a 1600 year old church like Italian Educator Michael McDonald has done for students worldwide with his VR tools, to cutting ed digital tools that can connect teachers and students regardless of their location or like those that Enrico Poli and his team at Zanichelli Venture has developed. What about the young and slightly older adults confined to their homes. They could be gaining valuable insights on closing their skills gaps if GLEAC was ubiquitous, or ECREE’s platform was available to them. Thousands of such resources, tools and products are available throughout the globe that could mitigate the time losses caused by these disasters. So it’s a good thing that long after it’s over there, we’ll be highlighting several dozen, in the birthplace of civilization…
ANDIAMO! We hope you’ll learn more about and consider joining us for the first ever U.S. – Italia Education Innovation Festival, April 27 – 29 in Ercolano, Italy. Let’s build a global community that puts students first, and ensures that effective technologies are available that can amplify, engage and educate the world’s students. Exceptional speakers and cutting edge ideas from both countries — and other global leaders abound — not to mention beautiful surroundings and Italian cuisine.