FROM Valarie Lewis
New Orleans, Charter Schools and the Education Reform Charter schools are being touted as the free-market alternative for parents whose kids are stuck in failing institutions, especially in inner cities. In the aftermath of Katrina, with 53% of its public-school students enrolled in charter schools, New Orleans has embraced so many charter schools it's become "ground zero" for the entire movement. It's the logical place for this week's conference of the National Alliance for Public School Charters . We ask New Orleans' superintendent and others what works and what doesn't. Are entrenched bureaucracies being overcome? Are teachers' unions coming around? Most important: are charters upgrading student achievement?
Time to Reform No Child Left Behind? No Child Left Behind is called President Bush's crowning domestic achievement, and it passed five years ago with support from liberal Democrats in both houses of Congress. NCLB is supposed to make every American kid "proficient" in reading and math by 2014, but after five years that sounds like a pipe dream. Proficiency standards differ wildly from state to state, and some tests are being made easier so that scores will improve. Schools that have not improved are not being held accountable and angry parents in many places have gone to court. Is it time for national standards? Are test scores the best measures? What about merit pay for teachers?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.