Crom’s Crommentary: News Channel 5’s Phil Williams Is Far-Left Partisan Media Member

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, Live from Music Row, Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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American Classical Academy Principal Phil Schwenk Hires Teachers ‘Who Care Deeply About Kids’

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Principal Phil Schwenk in studio to discuss issues he encountered as a principal in the public school system and how charter schools differ.

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Commentary: Tennessee School Boards and Unions Go Up Against Hillsdale-Affiliated Charter Schools

Hillsdale College's Monticello replica at the Blake Center donated by Prestley Blake in Somers, CT in on September 23, 2020.

Three Tennessee school boards denied the application of the American Classical Academy, a K-12 charter school system affiliated with Hillsdale College that provides students with a classic liberal arts education. The American Classical Academy alleges that these decisions are politically motivated and based on its ties to Hillsdale, which is Christian and conservative, as well as comments made by Hillsdale’s president, Larry Arnn.

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School Choice Advocates Remind Philadelphia Parents of Options as District Workers Prepare to Strike

As unionized public-school staffers protest the School District of Philadelphia’s failure to assent to the union’s salary and training terms, threatening to strike at the beginning of the school year, school-choice advocates are reminding parents of alternatives.

Bus drivers, custodians, maintenance staff and other workers represented by the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ have authorized a strike that could compromise the resumption of schooling that is scheduled for next Monday. Pro-strike workers insist they are underpaid, noting that cleaners make roughly $16,000 per year at the low end. At the high end, construction inspectors make approximately $70,000.

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Ohio, Michigan Charter Schools Sue Biden Administration

A group of Ohio and Michigan charter schools sued the Biden administration today, claiming a new rule that requires charter schools to prove public schools are over-enrolled is illegal.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, includes the Michigan Charter School Association and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit charter school authorizer that supervises 13 charter schools in Ohio.

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Commentary: Rutherford County Needs Charter Schools

Whether you believe we do, or do not, the fact of the matter is that our Governor & legislature have made it clear that they do, and most parents have made it clear they want more “school choice” for their children.

My name is Tammy Sharp, and I am the Rutherford County Zone 1 school board member. I am completing my first 4-year term on the board, and am unopposed on the August 4th ballot. This zone I very proudly serve, represents a large part of Smyrna and Lavergne on the east side of interstate 24. Eleven of its 13 schools are Title 1 schools.

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Youngkin Rallies at 2021 Campaign Location to Sign Budget

HENRICO, Virginia — Governor Glenn Youngkin held a campaign-style rally to ceremonially sign Virginia’s Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget. On Tuesday, Youngkin spoke from the aisles of the Tom Leonard’s grocery store where he filmed a grocery tax-related campaign ad and where he held one of his final rallies during the campaign.

“Nine months ago we were right here with many of you, and we in fact were talking about the impact that rising cost of groceries were have on families,” Youngkin said to a crowd of supporters, reporters, former GOP candidates, and current GOP politicians standing next to bins of produce.

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Virginia Budget Proposal Includes $3 Billion in Education Spending, Including Lab Schools

House Republicans are touting $3 billion of direct aid for education in the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget that Governor Glenn Youngkin is currently reviewing. Key education items include over $1 billion in grants and loans for school construction and modernization, and two five-percent raises for teachers and other state employees. It also includes $45 million for school resource officers.

House Appropriations Chair Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) said education spending in the budget is higher than pre-recession levels, even accounting for current inflation levels.

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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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Arizona Charter Schools Rank First in the Nation: Report

Arizona is frequently criticized for funding its schools less than most of the other states, usually tied for last with a handful of other states. But what doesn’t get covered as much is that it is ranked number one among the states for academic growth and charter schools.

Matthew Ladner, director of the Arizona Center for Educational Opportunity, a researcher with the Arizona Charter Schools Association, and former vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute, told The Arizona Sun Times, “If you had to choose between states with the most funding or states with the most academic growth, which one would you choose?”

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Crom’s Crommentary: The Irony of Democrats Claiming Choice for Women’s Abortions but Not for the Education of Their Children

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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Gov. Bill Lee Offers Hillsdale College Funding for 50 Charter Schools

Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Lee has invited the private conservative Hillsdale college to open 50 charter schools in his state that will teach so-called “anti-woke” curriculums.

The offer for Hillsdale, a liberal arts college with about 1,500 students in Michigan, to use public funds includes $32 million for charter facilities.

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With Charter School Bills Dead, Virginia Republicans Turn to Lab Schools, but Democrats Are Wary

Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on creating 20 new charter schools in Virginia, but the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee killed Republican-led charter school legislation. As a result, Republicans are pivoting to lab schools — schools that are part of the local district operated as partnerships with education programs at local higher ed institutions. Legislation to expand Virginia’s lab schools to institutions with programs beyond education is currently in conference committee with negotiators from the House of Delegates and the Senate to try to create a compromise to send to Youngkin.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for us to move some charter-schools-lite through,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) told The Virginia Star during a discussion of top priorities at the beginning of the 2022 special session.

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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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Review Board Approves Pennsylvania Charter School Regulations

Girl standing up in the middle of classroom

A regulatory review panel on Monday approved numerous new administrative rules imposed by Pennsylvania’s executive branch on charter schools, a move the institutions did not welcome.

Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) Chair George Bedwick, Commissioner Murray Ufberg and Commissioner Dennis Watson, all appointed to the board by Democratic state officials, voted in favor of the new regulations. Vice Chair John Mizner and Commissioner John Soroko, both Republican appointees, voted in opposition.

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Pennsylvania House Education Committee Issues Letter Opposing Wolf’s New Charter School Regulations

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives Education Committee Tuesday issued a letter opposing new regulations Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has imposed on the state’s charter schools.

All 15 Republicans on the committee voted to authorize the letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) while all 10 Democrats voted against it. Majority Chairman Curt Sonney (R-Erie) said the panel is not voicing opposition to every new rule on the list published last month but merely those that frustrate reputable charter schools’ ability to operate.

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Governor Bill Lee Joins The Dan Mandis Show to Talk About Re-Working the Basic Education Program and Holding Schools Accountable

  Live from Nashville, Tennessee, Friday morning on The Dan Mandis Show – weekdays on Supertalk 99.7 WTN – weekdays 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.– host Mandis welcomed Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to discuss how he will reformulate the Basic Education Program from the ground up and hold underperforming schools…

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State Representative John Ragan Discusses the State of the State Address, K-12 Education Budget, and Basic Education Program

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Chairman John Ragan of the House of Representatives Government Operations Committee to the newsmakers line to discuss K12 education and the Basic Education Program.

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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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Nonprofit Blasts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania School District for Efforts on Gender and Neglect of Academics

As the School District of Philadelphia labors to make its digital student-information system accord with expanding progressive concepts of gender, a right-leaning nonprofit is urging officials to refocus on academics.

In 2016, the district adopted a policy allowing students to pursue their “gender identity” and therein defined the term as “a person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.” The new rule allows students of one biological sex identifying as another to access restrooms, locker rooms, gym classes and athletic programs consistent with the former rather than the latter. In 2020, several school employees reportedly asked Sarah Galbally, the district’s lobbyist, to push for recognizing a broader variety of gender identities in the student tracking system, something that couldn’t be done without tweaking state-education policy.

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Democratic State Senator Morrissey Key to Virginia Republican Legislative Policy Wins, Including Fetal Pain Abortion Ban

Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) is set to be one of the most important legislators in the 2022 General Assembly session. The Virginia Senate has 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans, meaning that with just one Democratic senator swinging on a vote, Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, a Republican, will cast a tie-breaking vote. Morrissey is a pro-life Democrat, and although he may be a standard Democrat on many issues, he occasionally finds common ground with Republicans.

“I don’t believe that being pro-life is something that is just in the orbit of Republicans,” Morrissey told The Virginia Star. “And let’s be clear: I’m not being disrespectful towards those that are pro-choice. It is my choice to be pro-life. It’s how I feel, and I’ve never wavered from that since the moment I came into the General Assembly.”

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Northam Announces $2.4 Billion Increase for Education in His Final Budget Proposal; New House Appropriations Chair Knight Previews Upcoming Budget Process

Governor Ralph Northam will include a $2.4 billion increase for education in his budget proposal to the General Assembly next week, with a 5 percent salary increase for teachers in each of the next two fiscal years.

“Paying teachers is the right thing to do, and a wise investment,” Northam said in a Monday press release. “Virginia has invested in teachers in a big way over these past four years, and now it’s time to do much more. Our country has asked teachers to carry a heavy load, especially during the pandemic. They have delivered, and they deserve to be rewarded.”

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Crom’s Crommentary Discusses Keeping Watch on Governor and State Legislative Races

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the newsmakers line for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary where he talks governor and state legislative 2022 elections.

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Virginia Governor-Elect Youngkin’s Top Campaign Promises in Education, COVID-19, Economics, Law Enforcement, and Elections Policy

Glenn Youngkin in crowd during a rally

Glenn Youngkin will be Virginia’s next governor, part of a near-complete Republican takeover of Virginia’s government. In 2022, Republicans will be governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor. They will also likely hold a two-seat majority in the House of Delegates, although two close races may go to recounts. However, they will not hold the Senate, where Democrats have a 21-to-19 majority. Still, if one Democratic senator flips on a vote, that would create a tie that lieutenant governor-elect Winsome Sears would break. Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who House Republicans nominated for Speaker, has said that Republicans do have a mandate, but he is also aware of the need to work across the aisle with the Senate.

All that gives political novice Youngkin strong Republican support to launch efforts to fulfill his campaign promises, but also sets him up for serious challenges to get his policies across the finish line. Still, Virginia governors have extensive power to set policy and funding priorities, and Youngkin will also have executive authority, which will allow him to fulfill some key promises without legislative buy-in.

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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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School Board Politics Underlie Virginia Beach House Races

Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority.  GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.

In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.

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Arizona Teacher Shortages Continue for Sixth Year

Public Schools Racist

About a quarter of teacher vacancies across the state remain unfilled in 2021, with 55.4% of the vacancies are filled by teachers who do not meet the state’s standard certification requirements, according to a Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association survey of 145 school districts and charter schools. 

This marks the sixth consecutive year of teacher shortages in Arizona. Approximately a quarter of teacher vacancies have remained unfilled a month into each school year since 2016, ASPAA’s press release said. 

Twenty-six percent of teaching positions were open a few weeks into the school year, a 6% increase from the 21% vacancy rate in 2019, even though there were 400 less positions to fill this year than in 2019. As of Sept. 10, 2021, ASPAA counted 1,698.67 vacancies in its Oct. 12 report. 

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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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Ben Carson, Youngkin, and Sears Criticize Virginia Education Policy at Loudoun County Rally

Secretary Ben Carson

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke against mask mandates, Critical Race Theory, and COVID-19 vaccines for children in a Loudoun County appearance alongside GOP candidates Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears on Wednesday night. A large, energetic crowd filled a conference room; the event was hosted by Fight for Schools and 1776 Action.

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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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Guest Host Ben Cunningham and All Star Panelist Crom Carmichael Discuss Putting Education Dollars Back into the Hands of Parents

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, guest host Ben Cunningham and all-star panelist Crom Carmichael express putting educational dollars back in the hands of parents.

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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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Georgia Nonprofit Joins Groups Calling on Congress to Restore Cuts to Charter School Funding

A Georgia nonprofit is among a coalition of more than 70 organizations calling on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to restore proposed cuts to charter school funding.

The committee voted to cut $40 million from the federal Charter Schools Program. The budget they approved for fiscal year 2022 also includes language that would prevent federal funds from being awarded to charter schools ran by for-profit entities.

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Hillsborough School District Renews Four Charter Schools After Fight with Florida State Department of Education

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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Former Ambassador Haley Stumps for Youngkin in Virginia

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke in a Glenn Youngkin rally Tuesday. Over a hundred supporters and volunteers packed into a too-small, overheated room at Youngkin’s Richmond base. Haley, who also served as South Carolina governor, explained why she was supporting Youngkin.

She said she spoke with Youngkin before he decided to run.

Haley said, “He told me, ‘Well you know I’ve never held a political position before.’ And I said, ‘That’s what’s going to make you good.'”

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Karol Markowicz on the Politicization of Teacher’s Unions, Public Versus Charter Performance, and Parental Involvement Against CRT

Karol Marowicz

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz to the newsmakers line to discuss teacher union power over public school education and how parents are fighting back.

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Nevada Mom Gabrielle Clark Fights for Her Biracial Son’s Civil Rights and Wins Against Critical Race Theory Curriculum

Gabrielle Clark

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Las Vegas, Nevada mom Gabrielle Clark who successfully fought for her biracial son’s civil rights against critical race theory forced upon him at Democracy Prep.

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Fran Bush on Charter Schools: ‘It’s All About Choice’

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Metro School Board Member for District Six, Fran Bush in studio to give her philosophy on charter schools and the process by which they are instituted.

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Florida House Rep. Randy Fine Talks Recent Florida Legislation of Big Tech, Critical Race Theory, Pro-Police, and Anti-Rioting

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Florida State Representative Randy Fine to the newsmakers line to discuss current legislation on the table in the Sunshine State that will address Big Tech, critical race theory, pro-police policy, and anti-rioting.

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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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Guzman and Davis Debate Future of Education in Virginia

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) and Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), who are both running for lieutenant governor, started their education debate on Twitter during the 2021 General Assembly session. On Saturday, the two candidates met on Zoom to continue their discussion about the future of education in Virginia.

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New Mission PAC Hosts GOP Gubernatorial Forum

GOP gubernatorial candidates Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Peter Doran, Sergio de la Peña, and Glenn Youngkin met on Zoom on Thursday evening to answer policy questions about school reform, fixing Virginia’s tax code, improving broadband access, and making Virginia more veteran friendly. The New Mission PAC hosted the forum. PAC founder Daniel Gade and former Delegate Chris Saxman asked the questions in a format designed to allow candidates to demonstrate policy positions without engaging in direct debate.

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Noble Education Initiative’s Sherry Hage and Richard Page Talk About Their New Tuition Free Public Charter School Nashville Collegiate Prep

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Sherry Hage and Richard Page of the Noble Education Initiative to discuss their new charter school, Nashville Collegiate Prep.

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Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Discusses How Teachers Must Sit Back and Wait for Failed Leadership

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist and Metro School Board member Fran Bush to the studio to discuss how Nashville’s leadership has failed public school students and their parents.

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Memphis Entrepreneur Jeff Webb Talks About His New Book American Restoration and Helping the Middle Class

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Memphis entrepreneur, CEO, and author Jeff Webb to the newsmakers line to discuss his new book American Restoration.

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Family Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Charter School for Mandating Anti-White ‘Critical Race Theory’ Class

A Nevada mother has followed through on her threat to file a civil rights lawsuit against her son’s charter school for refusing to let him opt out of a mandatory class that promotes hostility toward whites as a race.

Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus (DPAC) forced William Clark “to make professions about his racial, sexual, gender and religious identities in verbal class exercises and in graded, written homework assignments,” creating a hostile environment, the biracial high school student and Gabrielle Clark allege in their federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

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Michigan Charter School Reps Blast Recommendation to Slash 25 Percent of Funding

Remarks made by Michigan State Board of Education Vice President Pamela Pugh last month provoked fiery responses Tuesday from the state’s charter school community.

In her controversial comments, made Nov. 23 before the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Pugh advocated cutting state funds for Michigan’s charter schools by 25%. The recommended cut also is included in the MCRC’s “Education Equity in Michigan” report issued on Sept. 30.

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