Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation at the Huffington Post: Teachers that retired last year, after 30 years in the system, get an annual payment of $77,400, for life, courtesy of the Illinois taxpayer.
Joel Klein at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): Mayor Emanuel is not known for his soft-spoken manner. Even if he has to make some compromises in the strike settlement, the fact that he engaged in a standoff with the teachers union sounded a loud and encouraging note: School reform is increasingly and unashamedly becoming less of a partisan issue.
NY Times: But the specter of those plans — an oft-cited goal of Mayor Rahm Emanuel — hangs heavily over the teachers’ strike. “Even if it’s not explicitly something that we’re bargaining over,” said Jackson Potter, staff coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union, “everyone knows it’s the elephant in the room.”
CNSNews: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s kids are attending a private school that charges $26,520 a year and the children of his former boss, President Barack Obama, are attending a private school in the nation’s capital that charges $34,268 a year, which includes a “hot lunch.”
CNSNews: American taxpayers everywhere have literally billions at stake in what goes on in this one city’s public school system. Over the past four years, the Chicago public schools have churned through total revenues of approximately $20.27 billion and about $4.26 billion of that revenue—or almost 21 percent of it—has come from the federal government.
American Federation for Children: A new national polling report released today by the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for school choice, demonstrates strong support for school choice among the public, the latest indication of the strong momentum for expanding parental options across the nation.
Chicago Sun: “The issues that remain are minor,” Emanuel said. “This is totally unnecessary. It’s avoidable and our kids don’t deserve this. … This is a strike of choice.
NCPA Policy Digest: Parents are beginning to step outside their traditional role in school affairs and are actively promoting reforms to education, say Frederick M. Hess and Daniel K. Lautzenheiser of the American Enterprise Institute.
American Federation for Children: A new study released today by researchers at the Brookings Institution and Harvard University shows that African American participants in a private school choice program were 24 percent more likely to enroll in college as a result of receiving a voucher, reinforcing previously-released data showing improved graduation rates, parental satisfaction, and academic achievement among voucher students . . . Full findings of the study can be downloaded here.
Mike Shedlock at Townhall: Indiana has the nation’s largest school voucher system and it is about to double in size. In response, Indiana public schools wage unusual ad campaign.
Mercury News: A parents’ organization plans to return to court to force a Mojave Desert school district to accept a charter conversion proposal for a failing elementary school.
American Federation for Children: The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—today condemned a recent blog post published by Diane Ravitch, an outspoken opponent of education reform, after the post featured comments she attributed to an anonymous Louisiana teacher that referred to some parents as abusers and rapists while questioning the ability of all parents to choose the best educational environments for their children. In response to the post, the Federation has launched the next phase of a campaign titled “Parents Know Best” . . .
Baptist Press: As Indiana’s path-breaking voucher program charts its second year, the Griffin children are among thousands of Hoosier students using state dollars to attend private schools. About 300 private, largely Christian schools in the state are accepting voucher students — and gaining a financial boost as they arrive. The boost once was rare, but the school choice movement is surging, thanks to Republican statehouse efforts with occasional Democratic support. The impact in Indiana could predict how Christian schools will benefit from new school choice programs in states such as Louisiana.
PNJ.com: The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing teachers and administrators at an Escambia County charter school of promoting their religious beliefs to students and demanding that they stop.
World Net Daily: Now, Sen. Jim DeMint,R-S.C., says another U.N. treaty that threatens American sovereignty has been put back on the table by foreign diplomats and their internationalist allies in the federal government. It’s called the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Disabled, which calls for government agents to supersede the authority of parents of disabled children and even covers abortion.
Washington Post: Opposition is coming from the Interfaith Alliance, a national, nonpartisan grassroots and educational organization based in Washington that has 185,000 members nationwide made up of 75 faith traditions as well as those of no faith tradition.
Fox News: A Louisiana teachers union is threatening private schools with legal action if they accept money from a new voucher program – and the threat has already forced at least one school to put its participation in the program on hold.
Christian Institute: Evangelical Christians have been labelled extremist, and likened to “totalitarian Muslims” by a senior government advisor. Alan Judd, an advisor to the Secretary of State for Education, was commenting on recent free school applications by Evangelical Christians.
Acton Institute: It is no wonder that school choice is often referred to as the “civil rights issue of our time.” However, it is also an important religious issue. Educational reform allows for parents to play a greater role in their child’s education, but it will also help strengthen the moral formation of a society in disarray.
One News Now: Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum says there is no basis for legal action. “Any school that functions as a private or parochial school and accepts voucher students is acting in accordance with the law and current court precedent,” he tells OneNewsNow.
The Hill: Three Republicans helped pass the United Nations treaty on people with disabilities out of committee on Thursday despite concerns over abortion. Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) joined the 10 Democrats . . .
NY Times: Enrollment in the New York City schools, the largest district in the country, was flat from 2005 to 2010, but both Chicago and Los Angeles lost students, with declining birthrates and competition from charter schools cited as among the reasons . . . Legal crackdowns have also prompted many families to return to their home countries.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): California enacted this reform as an unprecedented accountability measure in 2010. It allows parents of children in persistently failing schools to force dramatic change through petition drives. If a majority of parents at a school sign a petition, they can close that school, shake up its staff, or convert it to a charter.
Ed News: A coalition of homeschoolers and supporters arrived in the Swedish capital of Stockholm after a six-day, 120-mile “Walk to Freedom” that was staged to raise awareness about a controversial ban on home education.
HSLDA (embeds testimony by Mike Farris): Home School Legal Defense Association has been urging supporters to call their U.S. senators and ask them to oppose the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). And on Tuesday we reported that Patriot Voices chairman and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum had joined the fight. Your calls are working! This morning a prominent D.C. publication, The Hill, reported that the treaty has been temporarily derailed from the fast track . . .
Michael Barone at National Review: But there it is, on the home page of the United Kingdom’s Department of Education: “As of 1 April 2012, there are 1776 academies open in England.” “Academies,” as you might expect, means something different in Britain than in the United States. They are, approximately, what we would call charter schools. And there are 1,776 of them largely because of the energy and determination of British education secretary Michael Gove.
Louisiana Statewide Voucher Program Receives More Than 10,300 Applications in First Year of Expansion
Louisiana Federation for Children: The Louisiana Department of Education today announced that the state’s newly-expanded voucher program received more than 10,300 applications during the month-long application period for the statewide program, marking one of the largest single-year application increases ever for a voucher program.
LA Times: Los Angeles school officials are fighting a court order, which took effect Wednesday, that would set aside more classroom seats for charter schools — even if that means traditional schools will lose space for parent centers, computer labs, academic intervention and other services.
UN Treaty Threatens Families — Senate Considers Dangerous United Nations Treaty Undermining Parental Rights
HSLDA on the Christian Newswire: Parental rights will be eviscerated by the mandatory application of the ‘best interest of the child’ standard,” said Farris. “If parents think that private education is best for their child, the CRPD gives the government the authority and the legal duty to override that judgment and keep the child in the government-approved program that the officials think is best for the child.”
Pittsburgh Post Gazette: This fall, students will be able to choose from four new cyber charter schools, bringing the statewide total to 16, thanks to approvals by the state Department of Education.
USA Today: The National Education Association (NEA) has lost more than 100,000 members since 2010. By 2014, union projections show, it could lose a cumulative total of about 308,000 full-time teachers and other workers, a 16% drop from 2010. Lost dues will shrink NEA’s budget an estimated $65 million, or 18%.
Findlaw: Green Dot Public Schools filed a charter petition with the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in 2007 to convert Alain Leroy Locke High School (Locke High School) to a charter school. The board granted the charter school petition. In 2008, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) challenged the charter by filing a petition to compel arbitration pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between the District and UTLA.
One News Now: In a surprising move, New Hampshire’s Legislature has overruled Gov. John Lynch’s (D) veto of a tax-credit scholarship bill — paving the way for school choice in the state. | Heritage Foundation: New Hampshire’s Groundbreaking School Choice Expansion
American Federation for Children: The poll found that 62 percent of respondents support the newly-improved ESA program, while nearly four in five likely voters—77 percent—favor increased accountability measures for the program in the form of required standardized tests to measure student performance.
TheTownTalk.com: The Louisiana School Boards Association and 34 school boards have joined the legal battle to undo Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program.
LubbockOnline.com: Texas’ largest charter school organization Tuesday filed the sixth major lawsuit over the way the state funds public education, arguing charter schools should have access to public money for facilities and there should be no limit on the number of charter schools statewide.
American Federation for Children: A new scholarship tax credit program benefiting low-income families in New Hampshire became law today, joining a recently-passed measure in Mississippi for dyslexic children as the latest in a groundswell of school choice momentum across the country.
William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): It’s on. On the Idaho ballot, that is. Come November, Idahoans will vote on three referenda aimed at repealing what may be the nation’s most sweeping education reform, including new limits on collective bargaining for teachers. Think of it as the sequel to Wisconsin, where similar reforms led to a similar effort—the attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker.
Washington Post: But once the concept of private choice becomes dominant, then the sense of communal responsibility is dissolved. Each of us is then given permission to think of what is best for me, not what is best for we.
D.C. School Vouchers To Continue For Another Year Under Agreement Between Administration and Congressional Backers
Religion Clause Blog: The New York Times reported earlier this week that the school voucher program for Washington, D.C. school children will be renewed for another year under an agreement that House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Joseph Lieberman have reached with the Department of Education.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday’s San Antonio Current has a long article about the Shekinah Learning Institute, an educational organization that has created 13 publicly-funded charter schools across Texas, and particularly in the San Antonio area.
ADF Blog: lmost three years ago today, an unspeakable nightmare befell a loving innocent family simply because they wanted to educate their seven-year-old son from home.
Washington Post: The White House has reversed course and agreed to continue funding private school vouchers for a select number of children in the District of Columbia.
Nightmare soon to end?: Court vindicates Swedish homeschooling parents in state kidnapping case | LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews: The U.S.-based Alliance Defense Fund and Home School Legal Defense Alliance are providing legal advice. “The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like home schooling,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “This family’s human rights have been unimaginably violated.”
One News Now: But now, says Roger Kiska of Alliance Defense Fund, the courts have finally sided with the family, stating the unanimous and extensive testimony of friends and family favoring Christer and Annie could not be ignored. “Social services has been evil, to put it in one word,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow . . . “… It’s happening in Germany, it’s now happening in Bulgaria — and when these things happen in Europe, they tend to make their down to the United States rather quickly,” warns Kiska. “There’s been a slew of bad precedent that the United States Supreme Court and state supreme courts have taken from Europe. So I think everyone needs to be aware.” [more]
HSLDA on the Christian Newswire: ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska says the family’s human rights have been unimaginably violated. “The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like home schooling,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “We …
Shreveport Times: The Louisiana Association of Educators says it also will file a lawsuit to throw out a set of education changes that Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed and state lawmakers passed. Directors of the teachers’ union also have endorsed an effort to recall Jindal.
Broad Coalition Celebrates Ten-year Anniversary Of Landmark Supreme Court Decision On Cleveland Voucher Program
American Federation for Children: More than 650 attendees recognize historic case, which opened doors of educational opportunity to hundreds of thousands of children nationwide . . . The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—was among the sponsors of the event, which recognized a June 27, 2002, high court ruling in Zelman vs. Simmons-Harris that affirmed the constitutionality of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program and proved to be among the catalysts for significant expansion of private school voucher and scholarship tax credit legislation in the decade that followed.
NY Times: Now Mr. Romney is taking his party back to its ideological roots by emphasizing a lesser role for Washington, replacing top-down mandates with a belief in market mechanisms. It is a change driven in part by Tea Party disdain of the federal government. In the Republican presidential nominating fight, candidates competed in calling to shut the Education Department.
Heritage Foundation: “Teachers unions have a popularity problem,” according to a recent Harvard study. Harvard Professor Paul Peterson writes that while approval ratings for education unions remained stable between 2009 and 2011, 2012 saw a significant dip:
Wall Street Journal: It had been years since Principal Kathleen Lowry pulled extra desks from the dusty attic of St. Stanislaus, the only Catholic school left in this port city. But after Indiana began offering parents vouchers in the spring of 2011 to pay for private tuition, she had to bring down 30 spare desks and hire three teachers’ aides.
Fox News: A federal judge on Friday struck down an Arkansas school choice law, saying race couldn’t be the only factor considered in deciding whether students could transfer between districts. | Arkansas Times: The state Board of Education was defendant in this case, along with Magnet Cove. Here’s the 32-page ruling.
Novinite.com: “This is a clear-cut case of arbitrary use of power,” explained the family’s attorney, Viktor Kostov, who is working with the international Alliance Defense Fund on the case. “The authorities are trying to scare the family into bowing down to the [Social Services Child Protection Unit]‘s demand that the child go back to school … they have absolutely no grounds for accusing the father and mother of a crime.”
The New American: “This is a clear-cut case of arbitrary use of power,” explained the family’s attorney, Viktor Kostov, who is working with the international Alliance Defense Fund on the case. “The authorities are trying to scare the family into bowing down to the [Social Services Child Protection Unit]’s demand that the child go back to school … they have absolutely no grounds for accusing the father and mother of a crime.”
AP: Charging that American students are getting a “third-world education” under President Barack Obama, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney on Wednesday proposed a voucher-style system that could significantly alter the public school system and revive the debate over school choice.
Washington Times: Mitt Romney said Wednesday he will expand Washington’s endangered voucher program as part of a broad push for more school choice nationwide, setting up a dramatic contrast with President Obama, who has called for the D.C. program to be phased out, and with teachers unions, which have fought against expanded choice.
NY Post: A record 67,500 families have applied for the 14,600 seats available in the fall, according to estimates released yesterday by the New York City Charter School Center. The huge surge in demand means barely 1 in 5 students who applied was admitted.
EdWeek.org: In the 2010-11 school year, more than 500 charter schools opened across the country, each one in need of a leader who had a grasp of the education- and personnel-management skills needed to run a school, as well as a solid underpinning in other areas such as nonprofit management, budgeting, and strategic planning.
Stephanie Saul at NY Times: Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools
Education News: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the expansion of the Education Savings Account program. The first year program provides students with 90% of the funds that would have gone to their public school into an account with multiple possible uses-including private school tuition, private tutoring, online program and saving for future college/university expenses, among other options.
Arizona Expands Groundbreaking School Choice Program To Students Attending Failing Schools, Foster Care Children
American Federation for Children: Governor Jan Brewer yesterday signed into law a sweeping school choice expansion that will grant eligibility to students attending failing schools, students of military personnel, and foster care children to participate in a first-of-its-kind private school choice program offering parents an unprecedented level of choice in their children’s education.
NCPA Policy Digest: Though calls for education reform have been a persistent staple of American politics for decades, the nation’s schools continue to fall in international competitiveness. This is largely because, whether it’s No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top, schools at the ground level change very little, says John Katzman, executive chairman of 2tor, Inc.
NCPA Policy Digest: This system of school choice functions well because it precludes the top-down emphasis and instead allows schools to pursue their own educational model. It would, however, require the government to maintain control of four basic provisions for administering an education system.
Washington Post: Washington is one of nine states that does not have a charter school law. Our state has defeated charter laws three times at the ballot box — two were citizen initiatives and one was a referendum to repeal a charter law passed by our legislature.
LifeSiteNews: “The State should respect the choices that parents make for their children and avoid attempts at ideological indoctrination,” the permanent observer mission of the Holy See to the United Nations wrote in a statement released last Tuesday.
Shelby Star: Vinroot, who represents the three charter schools, said Cleveland County Schools, during the 2009-10 school year, unlawfully moved funding from one school system fund to another to another to avoid sharing the money with county students attending charter schools
Religion Clause Blog: He stresses that the school’s curriculum will be secular, but points out that the Hebrew foundation will be important for Jewish students who decide to pursue after-school religious studies.
One News Now: ADF attorney Greg Baylor says it is ironic that those challenging the parental choice program claim religious freedom is on their side, when just the opposite is true. “It would be discrimination against religion to say parents can redeem their vouchers at public schools or secular private schools, but not at private religious schools,” he submits. “We think that our position — that it’s permissible to include the religious schools in the program — is actually far more consistent with the basic principles of religious freedom than the position taken by those challenging the program.”
HSLDA: By enrolling their children in church schools not necessarily located within the city or county where they reside. Home School Legal Defense Association assisted a member family in Tuscaloosa County earlier this month when public school officials challenged their daughter’s enrollment in a church school outside the county. The family not only received a letter from the attendance officer stating that the church school enrollment form filed earlier with the superintendent was unacceptable, but they also received a Notice of Noncompliance with Alabama Compulsory Attendance Law that threatened criminal prosecution in three days.
One News Now: And ADF attorney Matt Sharp asserts it is not a program that is trying to prop up religious schools to the detriment of others. “That’s exactly the correct interpretation of the law in all of this, is that there’s nothing wrong with giving state funds through a voucher program to low-income families to give them options for their kids,” he contends.