redefinED roundup: Charter schools in Penn., Catholic schools in Washington, tax credit scholarships in Ohio & more

Washington, D.C.: District Mayor Vincent Gray plans to allow charter schools and community organizations to lease 16 public school buildings,  some of which were slated to close next school year (Washington Post). More from the Washington Examiner. The charter board approves two new schools, including one that helps adults learn to read (Washington Post).

MondayRoundUp_magentaNew Jersey: Charter school operators are finalizing plans for teacher and principal evaluations (NJ Spotlight).

Louisiana: A new state report finds that the education department had gaps in monitoring the academic performance of charter schools (Associated Press). More from the Times-Picayune. Khan Academy founder Salman Khan says virtual education may change the role of teachers, but it won’t make them obsolete (Times-Picayune). Superintendent John White is scaling back the course choice mini-voucher program (Times-Picayune).

Florida: Virtual school gives teachers more freedom with scheduling and, in some cases, more opportunities (redefinED).

Pennsylvania: Thousands of Mastery Charter School students gathered for a “college signing day” to celebrate the 450 graduating seniors continuing their education (Philadelphia Inquirer). Philadelphia charter school operators joined district leaders and Mayor Michael Nutter in calling for more education funding (CBS Philly). The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools responds to complaints that its operators violate open records laws (The Sentinel).

Alabama: The Legislature rejects Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposal for a two-year delay on the school tax credit scholarship plan known as the Alabama Accountability Act (Montgomery Advertiser).

California: Dissatisfied parents use the state’s parent trigger law to remove a principal  from a Los Angeles elementary school (Education Week). Los Angeles’ Renaissance Arts Academy charter school offers string instruments and dance instruction in every-day curriculum to motivate students (Southern California Public Radio).

North Carolina: The House passes a bill that would make charter schools eligible for permanent license tags that exempt their vehicles from annual fees and inspections (WRAL). Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina creates a new program to open charter schools in rural areas (Education Week). The state assembly considers creating a charter school board (North Carolina Public Radio). The House Education Committee hears both sides of a fierce debate on school vouchers that has Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, weighing in (Associated Press).

Arizona: Public school leaders point to a desegregation plan  and charter schools as causes for $17 million budget shortfall (KJZZ). A new report looks at roadblocks to charter schools’ success, such as long waiting lists, and highlights solutions (Phoenix Business Journal). Humboldt Unified Schools approves chartering five schools (Daily Courier).

Texas: A recently-released list of the best schools in Central Texas includes charter schools (KVUE). Lawmakers vote to lift the cap on charter school operators (Dallas Morning News)

Indiana: Some parents want  to stay at a charter school after Ball State University announced it will pull sponsorship from the school and others due to poor academic performance (StateImpact).

Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn signed off on legislation that bans new virtual charter schools for one year (Chicago Tribune). More from the Associated Press.

Michigan: A new report concludes that the state needs to hold charter authorizers more accountable for school quality (Michigan Radio). More from Michigan Live. The state will see 32 new charter schools in the fall (The Detroit News). StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee will serve as keynote speaker at the Mackinac Policy Conference on education reform (Michigan Live).

Massachusetts: Research shows students at Boston charter schools are less likely to graduate in four years than their public school peers—and that may not be a bad thing (Businessweek).

Maine: The state’s first two charter schools show signs of success after the first year (WCSH).

Washington: Tacoma’s public schools district is one of 13 hoping to become  an official charter school authorizer (King 5). Catholic schools crank up educational offers to compete with charter schools (The Seattle Times).

South Carolina: Lawmakers kill a bill that would have given parents tax breaks for private school tuition and homeschool expenses (Associated Press). A House bill would repeal an antiquated school choice law that allows parents to send their kids to schools in districts where they don’t live, but where the parents own land (The State).

Arkansas: A group of parents and grandparents is suing the Blytheville School District for denying their children’s applications to transfer elsewhere under the state’s school choice law (Associated Press).

Ohio: Legislators look to expand school choice by increasing voucher enrollment and creating tax credit scholarships (StateImpact). Lawmakers consider allowing charter schools to share in district schools’ property taxes (Columbus Dispatch).

Delaware: Lawmakers approve $2 million in new spending for charter schools (Associated Press).

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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.