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redefinED roundup: L.A. charter/district partnership, FL parent trigger, N.C. district charters & more

California: Parents of a persistently low-performing public school in Los Angeles took advantage of the state’s parent-trigger law and overwhelmingly voted for the district and a charter operator to take over operations (Los Angeles Times).

Florida: An amendment to the Senate version of the parent trigger bill gives school boards – not the state – final say on a turnaround plan for a failing school (redefinED). The House passes one of the most far-reaching education bills in history, changing high school graduation requirements and bolstering career education (Tallahassee Democrat). Superintendent Alberto Carvalho shows off an innovative district magnet school that uses interactive technology and new teaching methods in what he says isn’t the classroom of the future, but of today (Miami Herald).

MondayRoundUpTexas: Lawmakers in the Senate passed a charter school bill that calls for dramatic changes to the state’s two-decades-old system, including allowing charters reasonable growth and the shut down of poor performers (Austin American-Statesman). Despite House representatives’ ban on a school choice bill that creates school vouchers, Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick pleaded with fellow lawmakers to help families send their children to private schools (The Texas Tribune).
Minnesota: The St. Paul school district improves its school choice application process, but many parents are still upset they lost the lottery (St. Paul Pioneer Press).
Maine: A legislative committee rejected a plan to divert $1 million in public school dollars to set up a legal defense fund for the Maine Charter School Commission. Proponents wanted the contingency fund to help pay for legal challenges concerning charter school applications (The Maine Public Broadcasting Network). More from the Kennebec Journal.

North Carolina: Flawed charter school applications could prevent at least 27 out of 69 schools from opening independent public schools in 2014, the Public Charter School Advisory Council found (Charlotte Observer). More from the Raleigh News & Observer. A new bill would allow districts to create their own charter schools (Winston-Salem Journal).

Illinois: As push for more charter schools increases, Chicago’s public schools could close 54 schools to offset a $1 billion deficit (The Guardian). The Illinois House is moving to put a three-year moratorium on Internet charter schools just days after a handful of suburban districts rejected the online proposals (Daily Herald). More from the Daily Herald.

Montana: Senate Bill 374 looks to establish the state’s first charter schools  to make the educational system more innovative and competitive, proponents say (Beartooth NBC).

Missouri: Lawmakers narrowly passed a school choice bill in the House that creates tax credit scholarships for students, but sent the bill to another committee to review the impact on the state budget (Missoulian). Charter teachers want flexiblity with their pension plans instead of having to choose district’s plan (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

New York: Mayor Bloomberg announced the opening of 78 schools next school year, including vocational and career and technical schools, and 26 charters – with six that will be run by the Success Academy chain, headed by Eva Moskowitz, a former city councilwoman (The New York Times).

Tennessee: A bill that would create a charter school authorization panel in five of the state’s counties is headed for a full house vote (Associated Press).

Indiana: The Senate passed a limited expansion of the state’s school voucher program, allowing siblings of students already receiving
vouchers to qualify for the program and raising the voucher amount by $200 among other changes (RTV6). More from the Indianapolis Star.

Massachusetts: Students were counted more than once by the state for its charter school waiting list that tops more than 53,000,  prompting concerns that the exaggerated number might influence pending legislation (Boston Globe). Sen. Finegold proposes a bill to lift the cap on charters in 30 of the lowest-performing districts (Lowell Sun).

Idaho: Legislators’ decision last month to direct $1.4 million to the state’s 40 charter schools marks the first time in more than a decade that charters could get extra financial assistance from the state (Associated Press).

Lousiana: Parents here have more power in their children’s education than parents in nearly every other state, according to a new report card from the pro-charter Center for Education Reform (The Times-Picayune).

New Hampshire: Gov. Hassan wants to use casinos to help pay for charter school expansion (New Hampshire Union Leader). Opponents of tax credit scholarships are pushing for support of a bill that would repeal the state’s new program (New Hampshire Union Leader).

Georgia: The Georgia Charter School Association has its own teacher certification program that is tailor-made for charter school teachers (Education Week). The sponsor of legislation that created the state’s public charter school system has formed a foundation to lobby for charter schools (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Arkansas: The House Education Committee decides to study school vouchers rather than pass a law that would allow the scholarships (The Heartlander).

Arizona: Gov. Jan Brewer signs a bill for a pilot program that ties school funding to performance for district and charter schools (Arizona Daily Star).

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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.