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  • Big Labor Continues to Thwart Real Education Reform

    Friday’s Wall Street Journal highlights the increasing bipartisan support towards charter schools around the country. Due to rapid growth, many states have limited their expansion by placing caps on the number of charter schools. But Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has suggested that lifting charter school caps and instituting merit pay are essential steps in receiving grants under the “Race to the Top Fund” created by the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill.

    Now even those who previously opposed charter schools are realizing the real hindrance to charter school expansion is special interest power. In the WSJ article, Mayor Tom Menino, a past critic of charters, expressed his frustration with the Boston Teachers Union:

    “I’m just tired of it,” he said. “We’re losing kids.”

    Democrat Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick also seems to understand the urgency of allowing all children the chance to succeed through charter school opportunity. According to the WSJ piece, Gov. Patrick said, “We have been talking about these gaps [in achievement scores between white and minority students] for years while children wait.”

    That’s exactly what many citizens, parents, and children in the District of Columbia are saying as well—in this case, about vouchers. For months, Congressional Democrats and the Administration have been working to phase out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools throughout the District. Special interests have exerted pressure to allow the program to expire through lack of funding, even though it has proven successful in increasing reading scores and removing children from unsafe public schools.

    It’s refreshing to see growing bipartisan support for charter schools. Now we need to see the same for vouchers. Some Democrats on the D.C. Council have expressed support for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Now children and families in the District of Columbia are waiting on the support of their elected leaders at the federal level. Special interest pressure should not prevent Congressional leaders – and President Obama – from supporting a program that works and that has brought hope and change to thousands of D.C. students

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Big Labor Continues to Thwart Real Education Reform

    1. Rose, Marana, AZ says:

      I have two kids on two ends of the spectrum: One is so bright, she was bored silly in our horrible school system, the other has special needs that were not being met in the public school. My oldest used a charter school to work at her own pace and graduated a full year early. She is now flourishing in college. My son uses a virtual academy (which is a free charter school in our state) and I teach him at home. It has been a God send! He is making huge strides – it's like watching a flower blossom. I thank God that charter schools are available to us, I don't know what my kids would have done. They didn't fit into that big group of kids in the middle of the spectrum and both of them were being left behind.

    2. Lynne, Ohio says:

      I heartily support any and all school options that meet the needs of individual students and have outcomes of well-educated, intelligent students. I'm a college professor, and in recent years some of my students haven't correctly used homophones that I learned to use correctly in the second grade! I, along with other post-secondary educators, am finding that, over the past 6-10 years, students are less able to think and to figure things out for themselves. I'm doing a lot more "hand-holding" now than I have ever done in my 24-year career. Please, readers, do everything you can to support quality education. Our future as a nation depends on it.

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