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Time to Stand Up
Standing Up Against Ignorance
When university officials - and many of the young people they graduated on their campuses – failed to acknowledge the root cause of the war in the Middle East, their biggest supporters called them out on it. The University of Pennsylvania has benefited from the Huntsman family for years, for one example, but no more, says Ambassador Jon Huntsman.
“The University’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel (when the only response should be outright condemnation) is a new low. Silence is antisemitism,” Huntsman wrote in the email as reported by Politico.
Across the country similarly powerful supporters are abandoning their alma maters. Kudos to those standing up against ignorance.
As for the students there, or the people protesting in the streets in defense of Hamas, the effects of a thirty year decline in knowledge as evidence on the Nation’s Report Card is hard to ignore. History proficiency has long hovered around 30 percent, a sign that not only is content missing, but any semblance of critical thinking among far too many in the younger generations.
We join the millions who know better and who are praying for peace throughout the region.
Standing up for Education Disruption…
…And fighting for great education, more than 300 people gathered just last week for the Inaugural Yass Summit, the Yass Prize Semifinalist Announcement and CER@30 Celebration, which by attendee accounts was refreshing, inspiring and motivating, to repeat just three of the adjectives we heard.
We paired down the 64 Quarterfinalists to 33 Semifinalists, engaged with two dozen of the nation’s most engaged and well-informed education, industry and political leaders arguing for bigger and bolder actions. We wept as we listened to AGT winner Lavender Darcangelo’s cry for a school to meet the needs of students like her and her impromptu performance; applauded keen commentary by Janine and Jeff Yass, and cheered the latest cohort of the Yass Prize.
There was dancing to the Spinners and the Beach Boys, and we announced the New Age of Education Disruption, revealing plans for the new Yass Center for Education which will house the Prize, the Policy and the Philanthropy CER currently manages.
Video highlights and reports are coming soon but if you jump over to X (Twitter) or Facebook you’ll get a taste of what was accomplished, not to mention why the Yass Prize army of activists is a force to be reckoned with.
Stand Up Against Bureaucracy
School district officials and their supporters have been creating drama about a possible funding “cliff” where the increased billions they received to address Covid’s biggest challenges — presumably on student learning gaps — will no longer be available to them. Rarely when press and pundits echo their cries do they mention what the real scoop is – that most districts still haven’t spent all their federal Covid funds, eg. ESSERs funding. In fact, according to the data guru Burbio, in some states, “districts covering over 60 percent of the student population have spent less than half their ESSER III allocation.” Over $50 billion remains to be spent across the country, and as Burbio suggests, compare that to Title 1 allocations in 2023 totaling $18.4 million to serve the least advantaged kids.
As we like to say, parents would know better how to spend those funds and it’s they themselves, not districts, who should guide their own child’s education.
“It really is ludicrous how this country is getting away with funding education, not following the children to the better schools that they want to go to, the schools that are being created by education entrepreneurs. We are not getting our money’s worth. The kids are not getting their money's worth.”
- Janine Yass, Co-Founder, The Yass Prize
Standoff in Texas
Progress toward a modest education freedom bill continues as Governor Greg Abbott called a special session October 10 to force the issue with lawmakers, some of whom would rather never be on record voting for or against. The Senate passed a bill that would aim to establish an education savings account to provide families with access to up to $8,000 (capped at $500 million over the next two years) and the House is now wrestling with everything from Rural Recalcitrants to traditional public ed supporters who can’t fathom their Lonestar state may actually withdraw what charter school pioneer Ted Kolderie calls their exclusive franchise to education. This is a battle for which opportunity advocates have been fighting, for decades.
And Texans with a passion for change - like these parent advocates pictured below (Black Mother’s Forum, Families Empowered and TX Parents for Choice in Education) - don’t take “no” for an answer.
In a world where so many people are ambivalent about that which they may or may not believe in, or fail to do their homework to understand the issues, it’s more than gratifying to be part of a movement for change that understands you stand up for what you believe in, loudly and proudly, no matter the circumstances.
I spent two days with hundreds of such people in person last week and am surrounded by them virtually and nationwide every day. Find them if they are not in your orbit yet. They will help you do remarkable things.
God Bless our world. Pray, without ceasing. Peace. - Jeanne
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