Commentary: Teacher Union Power Is Still in Full Bloom

CTA Event

As a result of the Janus decision in 2018, no teacher or any public employee has to pay a penny to a union as a condition of employment. The good news is that since then, 20% of workers in non-right-to-work states have dropped out of their unions, according to a report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The not-so-good news is that 70% of teachers nationwide are still willingly paying union dues, a great deal of which goes to politics, specifically to progressive candidates and causes.

The California Teachers Association has the honor of being the biggest political-spending teachers’ union in the country. A recent report reveals that between 1999 and 2020, the 300,000+ member union spent an astonishing $222,940,629 on politics – about $6 million was spent on the federal level, while almost $217 million stayed in the state – with 98.2% of all spending going to Democrats. The top advocacy issues for CTA include regulating charter schools, immigration reform, social justice, and a slew of almost exclusively left-wing causes.

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Commentary: Charter Schools Rise to the Challenge

Due to pandemic-related issues, declining birthrates, inferior education, radical curricula, etc., government-run schools are bleeding students. Whereas traditional public schools (TPS) had 50.8 million students enrolled in 2019, the number had shrunk to 49.4 million one year later. The federal government now projects that public school enrollment will fall even further – to 47.3 million – by 2030, an almost 7% drop in 11 years.

Where are the kids going? The U.S. Census Bureau reports that families are moving to private schools and setting up home schools at a great rate. But what can parents do if they can’t home-school or afford a private school and there are no educational freedom laws on the books? Their option then would be charter schools, which are independently operated public schools of choice that aren’t shackled by the litany of rules and regs that TPS are encumbered with and, importantly, are rarely unionized.

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Commentary: As Families Take to Charter Schools, Cities and Their Teacher Unions Throw Up Obstacles

A vote by the Los Angeles board of education vote last month to ban charter schools from sharing space at 300 district campuses is the latest big-city attack against alternatives to struggling traditional public schools.

With the strong support of United Teachers Los Angeles, school board members say the ban will protect black and Latino students from the disruption and harm that occurs when charters are placed in buildings used by other public schools. But charter advocates reject the board’s reasoning. Far from hurting disadvantaged students, charters in LA and other cities have established an outstanding track record in accelerating their academic performance compared with traditional schools, according to researchers.

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Expert: Florida Needs Only a Few Changes for a Perfect Education Freedom Score

According to a recent report, Florida is the nation’s best for education freedom, but one expert says only minor changes are needed for a perfect score.

The American Legislative Exchange Council recently put Florida at the top of its 2023 ALEC Index of State Education Freedom: A 50-State Guide to Parental Empowerment rankings.

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Biden Official Bankrolls Group Claiming Charter Schools Teaching ‘Classics’ Are ‘Far-Right’ Ideologues

A Biden administration official is a major donor to an organization that characterized Christian charter schools teaching a classical education as “far-right” ideologues attempting to advance “Christian nationalism.”

The Department of Labor’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee and her partner Mark Simon gave at least $5,000 in 2022, the highest level of sponsorship, to the Network for Public Education, a left-wing activist group focused on promoting public schools, according to the organization’s sponsors page. The Network for Public Education released a June 2023 report which notes that “right-wing ideology” is growing in charter schools that teach a “classical” or “traditional” education.

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Florida Among the Handful of States Enacting New, Sweeping School Choice Legislation

So far in 2023, six states signed school choice legislation into law, giving millions of families and their children education options, including access to taxpayer-funded vouchers.

Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Utah, South Carolina and Oklahoma all signed legislation into law that makes at least some, if not all students within the states, eligible for taxpayer funded vouchers or a tax credit that can be used on education expenses such as private school tuition, textbooks and transportation. Under the legislation enacted in 2023, millions of students across the country are now able to attend schools outside their designated zip code or apply to receive funding in order to seek a private or a homeschool education.

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Florida Audit Shows Issues with Charter School Management and Transparency

A recent Florida audit of the state’s charter school administration still shows a lack of oversight and business dealings that could be seen as conflicts of interest.

The Florida Auditor General recently released a follow-up report into the day-to-day management and transparency of charter schools in the Sunshine State and there were several issues that still needed to be addressed.

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Black and Hispanic Catholic School Students Outperformed Those in Government Schools on Nation’s Report Card Assessments

Results of national education assessments released last week showed unprecedented drops in academic achievement in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores, but black, Hispanic, and low-income Catholic school students outperformed their counterparts in national, charter, and public school averages.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” revealed a dramatic decline in test scores from 2019, when students were last tested.

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Parents Flee the Public School System as Charter Schools See Surge in Enrollment

Enrollment in New York City schools is dropping while charter schools are seeing a growth in the number of students, according to a report published Wednesday by the Manhattan Institute.

Throughout all New York City schools enrollment declined with 80,707 fewer students enrolled in grades K-12 in the most recent academic year than in the 2019–20 academic year, the report said. The drop has been most pronounced in schools operated by the New York City Department of Education (NYDOE), where enrollment is down by 83,656 students, the largest drop the NYDOE has seen.

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Michael Bloomberg Blames Teachers’ Unions for Keeping Money Flowing to Traditional Government Schools and Away from Charter Schools

Former Democrat New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says teachers’ unions were responsible for keeping schools locked down during the pandemic, a move that has enabled a mass exodus of students from traditional government schools throughout the country.

Given the generally poor academic achievement of America’s students, the steep drop in enrollment means states are now paying more to educate fewer children, and, “paying more for failure,” he asserts.

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‘Cynical Symbolism’: Biden’s Education Department Issues New Rules to Crush Charter Schools

President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing new policies that make it harder for charter schools to survive while strengthening the power of teachers unions, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The newly proposed rules, which apply to the Department of Education’s (DOE) 2023 budget, will make it more difficult for charter start-ups to qualify and receive funding from a $440 million federal charter school program by requiring charter schools to prove there is a demand for education not being met by other institutions like public schools. The guidelines will consequently give teachers unions more control over education, experts told the DCNF.

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Biden Education Department ‘Declares War’ on Charter Schools as School Choice Becomes Overwhelmingly Popular in America

As more families and teachers flee government schools, the Biden administration – bound to the teachers unions – has now “declared war” on charter schools, as Robert Maranto, editor of the Journal of School Choice, wrote at National Review Monday.

The Biden education department is now on a path to sabotage the federal grant program that funds charter schools, public schools that are privately managed, with its proposal of new rules that appear to actually deter applicants from seeking grants.

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Erika Donalds, Former Florida School Board Member, Starts Virtual Charter School

girl with VR headset on

Erika Donalds, a former school board member and the wife of Florida U.S. Congressman Byron Donalds, recently launched a virtual charter school called Optima Classical Academy.

Erika and her husband have been active in the fight to expand the reach of charter schools. Byron Donalds, while serving in the Florida House was an enthusiastic supporter of Governor DeSantis school choice proposals.

Erika Donalds, who served as the vice chair of the Collier County School Board, is described as a “relentless advocate for charter schools and non-public education.” During her time as an elected school official she led the  conservative Florida Coalition of School Board Members and pressed for school board term limits. More recently, she started School Choice Movement, an organization aimed at paving the path for more school options for parents.

“My time on the School Board really led me to conclude that the best prescription for school reform is the free market,” said Donalds.

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Exclusive: Anti-White LGBT TikTok Star Identified as New Jersey Charter School Teacher

A TikTok influencer who frequently posts anti-white screeds and LGBT content on social media is a middle school teacher at a New Jersey charter school, The Star News Network can reveal.

Nairobi Colon teaches at KIPP Whittier Middle School in Camden, New Jersey. KIPP, which stands for Knowledge is Power Program, is a nationwide nonprofit network of charter schools, funded in part by private donors.

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Commentary: Financial Stability Is Key to Being Able to Leave Job for Refusing Vaccine Mandate

Joshua Mawhorter

Until recently, I was a California teacher working in two charter schools, one as a full-time classroom teacher of Government/Economics and sometimes U.S. History, and the other as a part-time independent study teacher who assists families with a program primarily based around homeschooling. I have taught for about five years and love teaching.

Last week, I was fired from one school and put on unpaid administrative leave at the other because of my refusal either to take and demonstrate proof of the COVID-19 vaccine or test weekly. I even filed a religious exemption stating the following that was rejected:

“As a committed follower of Christ, I religiously and philosophically cannot submit to either a government vaccine mandate or weekly testing.

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Commentary: The Other Back to School Story

Back to school stories this year will focus, naturally, on the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on students and families and on remedying these difficulties.

But another story is being shortchanged: it’s about how parents sought new options for their children like homeschooling, small learning pods, and micro-schools, with civic entrepreneurs and their partners creating new organizations or expanding existing ones to meet this demand.

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Wisconsin Charter Schools Growing, Overcoming Law and Misperceptions

Wisconsin charter schools are on the rise despite legal hurdles and widespread myths.

First established in 1993, Wisconsin charter schools now number 235 with 14 schools listed as new since last year. That’s a 6% upward trend.

One of the schools listed as new is the Carmen Middle School of Science and Technology South Campus. The school was categorized as new because of a location move.

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Commentary: A School Movement Targeting Minorities That Works, Progressives Don’t Like It

Michael Landsbaum hit bottom after his father lost his job and couldn’t pay rent, leaving the teenager homeless in Dallas. He slept on friends’ couches for months until he was rescued by an unlikely source: his high school.

But Pathways in Technology Early College High School did much more than provide him with a place to stay at a counselor’s home. Its accelerated program, including college courses, gave Landsbaum the drive to get through the tough times and the hope for better days.

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Hillsborough School District Renews Four Charter Schools After Fight With State

The Hillsborough County School Board announced its decision to renew charters for four charter schools after the State of Florida was threatening legal action. The school board initially opted to not renew the charters but reversed its decision this week.

Of the reasons the school board initially decided to not renew the charters was a claim that the schools were not meeting the needs of special needs students.

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Funding for Georgia Charter Schools Boost Heads to Gov. Kemp

A bill to increase state funding for Georgia charter schools was passed by the General Assembly and awaits approval by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Senate Bill 59 increases charter school allocations by about $100 per student. It also secures an equal portion of federal funding for local charter schools and gives teachers and staff more access to the State Health Plan.

The General Assembly approved the bill with limited debate in both chambers this week before its legislative session ended. The House gave SB 59 its final approval, 113-51, on Wednesday after it cleared the Senate, 40-11, on Tuesday.

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