redefinED roundup: Parent trigger in Florida, charter schools in N.C., vouchers in Texas & more

Kansas: Lawmakers are pushing for two new bills, which include recommendations from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, to bring the school choice movement to a  state with only 15 charter schools (The Topeka Capital-Journal).

Georgia: Proposed legislation looks to cap the state’s private-school tax credit program and limit it to students with a financial need (Atlanta Journal Constitution). A parent-trigger bill that paves the way for traditional  public schools to convert to charters also gets a nod from legislators (Atlanta Journal Constitution).

MondayRoundUp_yellaNew Hampshire: The House is set to vote on a measure that could end a Board of Education moratorium on charter schools (New Hampshire Union Leader). More from The Telegraph of  Nashua.

Tennessee: A $4 million Mathematica study finds KIPP students show significant learning gains in reading, math, science and social studies in the first four years (The Commercial Appeal).

Alabama: State school board members offer mixed reactions following the surprise passage of the Alabama Accountability Act, which gives tax credit scholarships to parents who want to remove their children from failing public schools and enroll them in private schools or a non-failing public school ( Also, a circuit judge blocked the signing of a controversial bill that created tax credit scholarships (The Anniston Star).

North Carolina: The state’s charter school office received a whopping 70 charter applications, with the Charlotte area leading the pack with 19 ( More about the unusually large number of applications from the News & Observer.

Texas: A proposed school voucher bill would allow students with disabilities to use public dollars to attend private schools, drawing opposition from public education supporters (The Dallas Morning News). Another bill, proposed in the House, would let parents send their kids to schools outside of their zoned district. The bill also has a parent-trigger component (The Texas Tribune). Bill filed by Sen. Ken Paxton provides scholarships for students to attend private schools through a business tax credit (The Texas Tribune). Read more about a similar bill filed by Sen. Dan Patrick (

Florida: The parent trigger bill is back, with a House subcommittee approving the bill in an 8-5 party line vote (redefinED). More on the measure, with a take on Gov. Rick Scott’s view from Tampa Bay Times. A state report shows charter school students outperform their traditional public school peers (redefinED). Some private schools that accept tax credit scholarships have applied to give their students the FCAT and end-of-course exams (redefinED).

Ohio: The governor’s education proposal uses a new funding formula that would cut public charter school funding by about $700 per student (The Columbus Dispatch).

Idaho: Lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would create funding streams for charter school facilities ( More about the proposal, which the House approved, from Idaho Statesman.

Oklahoma: The Senate passed the Parent Empowerment Act, which would  allow parents to convert low-performing district schools into public charter schools and, in some cases, have the principal and other administrators fired ( House leaders approved a bill that would change the way the state allocates funding for students enrolled in virtual ed classes (

Washington: Five men and four women will serve on the new Charter School Commission, which has the power to authorize the state’s charter schools (HeraldNet).

New Jersey: The governor’s office has approved using $125 million in school construction bonds for construction, expansion or enhancement of charter schools (

Arizona: Lawmakers have advanced a bill that exempts charter schools and district schools that don’t accept federal funding from certain state and federal regulations, including standardized testing (

Mississippi: A sweeping reform plan would allow the state to take over low-performing public schools and, in some cases, turn them over to a charter school organization or other outside contractor (

South Carolina: StudentsFirst brings its national education reform platform to the state with a proposal that calls for a parent-trigger mechanism to turnaround failing public schools among other changes (Post and Courier).

Pennsylvania: The School Reform Commission votes to close 23 of Philadelphia’s 247 public schools to solve a looming budget crisis. Police made several arrests during the meeting, including American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten (Reuters).

Utah: State leaders move a bill that promotes competency-based education, a system in which a student receives course credit after showing mastery of a subject rather than having to wait until the end of an academic year or grade level (Deseret News).

Rhode Island: The Gates Foundation loans $10 million to the Central Falls community to pay for renovations and construction projects to create more seats in high-performing public schools, including charter schools (Associated Press).

Kentucky: The Senate approves a bill that would allow persistently low-performing public schools to become charter schools (WKU Public Radio).

Arkansas: A proposed bill would allow parents of public school students in fourth-eighth grades to transfer their children to any school of their choice (

Virginia: Gov. Bob McDonnell is helping organize a nonprofit foundation to provide students with voucher-like scholarships to attend private schools (The Examiner).

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.