Charter Schools re-examined in a new Harvard University report…. a nation remembers what happened 19 years ago today… and a family celebrates the life of its matriarch.
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As the pandemic continues into the Fall, some changes forced as a result of COVID have been met with acceptance and even gratitude from a majority of Americans. Remote work is here to stay. Telemedicine – once considered an inferior means of practicing medicine -  is now the preferred option for routine medical exams.

While these developments have accelerated in the age of COVID, education at all levels has become the focus of policymakers and technology companies. While much of the education research centers on ways to advance learning outcomes through a reorganization of existing structures, one of the most pivotal policy innovations of the past thirty years goes largely un-mentioned.

Charter Schools were first begun in 1992 and grew over time to become one of the most effective ways to guarantee the success of students from low income areas. This was done by liberating poor students from failing schools by helping them attend another school that was actually a new type of school – a school chartered with a state or local education agency – to provide instruction that would be measured and held accountable for the results of their teaching.

The growth of charter schools across the nation has slowed since 2016. Why? Peterson and Skakeel carefully expose the plan of charter school opponents when they write: “Given the rising achievement levels at charter schools, the slowdown in the sector’s growth rate cannot be attributed to declining quality. It is more likely that political resistance to charters is increasing …..because charters might prove to be as disruptive an innovation as the transistor.”

Nineteen years ago today, news stations around the world reported that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center at 8:46AM. Less than ten minutes later, another report came that United Airlines Flight 175 had crashed into the South Tower between floors 77 and 85 igniting a fireball that began to melt the steel beams supporting both skyscrapers. And, yet another report came at 9:37AM that American Airlines Flight 77 had crashed into the Pentagon killing an LSU graduate and Naval officer Scott Lamana along with 183 other victims.

If the plan of the terrorists was to bring the United States to its knees by attacking its economic, military, and political leadership, they did not succeed. On this anniversary of their death we must resolve once again to live in honor of those who died in the service of freedom. For all that seeks to divide us during these days, we must resolve once again that we are not enemies, but friends.

The sorrow of this day for our nation corporately is also met with grief for my family personally. Yesterday, my grandmother, Anne Wilson Dietzel departed this life and entered into the joy of her Lord.

Many knew her as the loving and supportive wife of my grandfather, Coach Paul Dietzel. She was the quiet strength of his life loving others in ways that made the ordinary seem special. She could often be found arranging flowers for the marriages and families of cadets at the West Point Chapel or preparing home dinners for the football players at South Carolina and LSU. Her smile could light up a room. She was strong and tender; kind, yet truthful. She always supported others in times of need.

Her life marks the end of an era for a generation who suffered strong in the face of world wars and built a nation strong and resilient. She taught me real leaders never shrink from adversity, but they are also quick to admit when they were wrong. Her absence will be felt when my children ask questions about her, but cannot talk with her. It will be felt this fall when LSU takes the field because she loved LSU football.

Yet, in our grief we rejoice in the promise that a new life is now hers through Christ. Until that day when the morning dawns and the shadows flee, I will always miss Nana.

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