Midterm post-mortem: Was the election a repudiation of ed reform? Or just a sign that it’s going ‘under the radar’?
Education reform, at least its most contentious elements, didn’t have a great night Tuesday. In Arizona, nearly two-thirds of voters rejected a bid by lawmakers to provide education savings accounts to all students. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, a villain of teachers unions, lost his bid for a third term to state Superintendent Tony Evers, who wants...
By Carolyn Phenicie | November 12, 2018
School safety tops young people’s list of election concerns. But will it lead them to vote?
The February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and subsequent student activism around school safety and gun control are fueling young people’s political engagement ahead of next week’s midterm elections. “We can argue all we want, but the only way we win the argument [for more gun control] is when we go and we vote on...
By Carolyn Phenicie | October 29, 2018
Senate confirms Los Angeles reform advocate Jim Blew in narrow vote, rounding out Ed Dept’s K-12 team
The Senate voted narrowly Tuesday to confirm Jim Blew, a longtime education reform advocate, to be an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education, rounding out the department’s K-12 team. Senators voted 50-49 along party lines to confirm Blew as assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development some 10 months after he was...
By Carolyn Phenicie | July 17, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh, son of D.C. teacher, nominated for Supreme Court; has praised efforts to allow religious schools’ participation in publicly funded programs
After much waiting and Twitter speculation, President Trump announced on live television Monday night that he is nominating conservative D.C. Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. With only one school district under the D.C. Circuit’s jurisdiction, District of Columbia Public Schools, Kavanaugh’s record on school-related...
By Carolyn Phenicie | July 10, 2018
Divided Supreme Court ends mandatory dues for union members and — in further blow to organized labor — rules that workers must opt in
The Supreme Court in a sweeping decision Wednesday upended the way public-sector unions do business, ruling that dissenting employees cannot be compelled to pay any dues, and that union members must affirmatively opt in to membership — rather than requiring dissenters to opt out. Forcing dissenting employees to pay dues violates First Amendment protections against compelling...
By Carolyn Phenicie | June 27, 2018
If Janus ruling means teachers no longer have to join unions, will breaking away from state and national affiliates be a way to save local membership?
The Supreme Court’s pending decision in the Janus case has the potential to decimate the clout and size of public-sector unions by allowing members who disagree with the union’s activity to opt out of membership. But another path to maintaining membership in local unions may be emerging: a split from the more divisive and politically charged state...
By Carolyn Phenicie | June 18, 2018
Hard battle lines drawn as Congress considers using $1.4B in federal ‘Impact Aid’ to expand school choice for military families
Military-connected students — about 1.3 million of them in the United States — face a host of problems their civilian peers don’t. They move six to nine times in the course of their K-12 careers, forcing them to deal with everything from different GPA calculations and course offerings to missed opportunities to try out for...
By Carolyn Phenicie | April 24, 2018
New ‘Nation at Risk’ would start with ‘Dear American people: Wake up,’ Janet Napolitano says in Reagan Institute panel with Condoleezza Rice
If “A Nation at Risk,” the landmark report that launched the modern education reform movement 35 years ago, came out today, it would get a far different — and more polarized — reception, education leaders said Thursday. “Each [political party] would take different lessons or have different prescriptions, when in fact, what we need is...
By Carolyn Phenicie | April 12, 2018
Gorsuch doesn’t tip hand in Janus union dues case as justices, attorneys stick to familiar ground
Justice Neil Gorsuch, the only member of the Supreme Court who hasn’t weighed in on mandatory public employee union dues, didn’t tip his hand during oral arguments in a key case Monday. The case, Janus v. AFSCME, pits Mark Janus, an Illinois state child support specialist, who argues that forcing him to pay union dues for...
By Carolyn Phenicie | February 26, 2018
How education fared in Congress’ tax deal compromise: Teacher tax deductions, charter financing & 3 more noteworthy fixes
Weeks after fighting over tax reform — including pitched battles involving several education issues — GOP leadership released a final compromise late last week. On higher education, the bill ultimately didn’t include provisions that alarmed college and university leaders the most, like taxing graduate students’ tuition benefits. It does include a tax on university endowments,...
By Carolyn Phenicie | December 18, 2017