Preserving our belief in American exceptionalism

When Russian president Vladimir Putin wrote his infamous op-ed for the New York Times earlier this year, he concluded by rejecting the idea of American exceptionalism. His thoughts sparked outrage among many.  Sadly, however, a majority of young Americans found themselves agreeing with Putin's charge.


National union targets children school district by school district

Could you imagine teachers in California or Illinois donating to a cause that was hurting students in Philadelphia?  That would come as a shock, given most public school teachers’ passion for education and fairness.

Unfortunately, it’s true, with one caveat: Teachers don’t have a say in the matter.


Tax reform must not impede education reform

One generally doesn’t address tax reform and education reform in the same breath.  But now is the time to do so.  As Congress assesses federal tax credits as part of a possible tax rewrite package, they should be acutely aware of the significant value of the New Markets TaxCredit (NMTC) program to charter schools nationwide.  NMTCs incentivize private lenders to provide critical funding for charter school facilities.


Solution to youth violence: The sports coach

As the recent headlines declaring Chicago the murder capital of America make clear, our nation’s youth, especially those living in some of our most underserved communities, are facing an epidemic of violence.


Failed leadership harms children

Suffice it to say that October 2013 tested the resiliency of Head Start children, families and advocates nationwide. Head Start Awareness Month is normally devoted to the celebration of our 50-year national commitment to providing quality early learning to America’s most vulnerable children. Unfortunately, on the very first day of Head Start Awareness Month, 19,000 of those children faced the risk of shuttered doors when the federal government shut down because Congress could not agree on a budget.


Let’s have a smart conversation about gun policy

National headlines all too frequently tell tragic tales of violence inflicted upon the most vulnerable. We all abhor the loss of life and gaping holes left in families. Fearing it could happen to a loved one, or us, we demand the right to protect ourselves from the very act about which we are so very afraid.

We are conflicted internally and we are conflicted as a nation. We’ve never really come to grips with our ultimate value. Is it human life or human freedom?


Recipe for improving civic education

How should we teach civics when Congress doesn’t seem capable of following the principles in an eighth-grade civics textbook? The budget impasse is just the latest example of the bitter partisan struggle that our children observe as they form their impressions of politics and public life.


Uncle Sam shouldn’t try to manage school staffing

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been charged by critics, spanning from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to anti-school reform icon Diane Ravitch, with trying to turn the U.S. Department of Education into a “national school board.”  The charge has much merit.


Accreditation and higher education

Many believe oversight of America's colleges and universities is one of the least expensive elements of higher education. By the same token, critics of the current system maintain that students are getting exactly what they pay for - very little.


College students deserve the right to hire counsel in expulsion hearings

College students in the Tar Heel State are returning to school this fall with a new, much-needed right. For the first time, students and student organizations in North Carolina will have the right to hire an attorney for representation during campus disciplinary hearings, except when those hearings are academic in nature or when the hearings are entirely student-run.