redefinED roundup: Charter schools in Arizona, tax credits in New Hampshire, parent trigger in Louisiana & more

Arizona: New statistics show the state has the second-highest percentage of students enrolled in charter schools in the nation (Today’s News Herald). Gov. Jan Brewer signs off on expansion of school voucher program, adding kindergartners and increasing funding for all students who qualify (Arizona Daily Star).

logoWashington, D.C.: New study shows district and charter schools suspended one out of 10 students in the 2011-12 school year (Washington Post). Mayor Vincent Gray talks about blurring the lines in school choice, suggesting elementary charter schools feed into traditional middle schools and vice versa, among other ideas (Washington Post).

Delaware: The state approves three new charter schools, including one that offers its students internships (The News  Journal).

Georgia: Atlanta public schools take fight against charter schools concerning unfunded pension liabilities to Georgia Supreme Court (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie’s administration puts another three charter schools on probation and issues warning to 11 others in a quest to raise standards (NJSpotlight). Some Camden district teachers want to open their own charter schools (Philadelphia Inquirer).

New Hampshire: A judge rules the new education tax credit law violates the state Constitution’s ban on sending public money to religious schools, but the program can continue to provide scholarships for secular schools and homeschooling (Concord Monitor).

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signs off on a parent trigger bill that allows parents to petition to shift control from some failing Recovery School District schools back to the local system (Times-Picayune). The state Board of Education approves a new course choice program that will allow public school students to take hard-to-get classes online (The Advocate).

Florida: The woman spearheading a charter conversion in Manatee County has ties to Fund Education Now, an organization that has opposed charter school expansion (Sunshine State News). Rowlett Magnett Elementary  will be the first public school to convert into a charter in the past five years (Sarasota Herald-Tribune).  A Marion County school board member suggests some cost-saving ideas to save teachers jobs, including shutting down or charging students for the IB program (Ocala Star Banner). Some private schools in Florida are signing up for Common Core training (redefinED). Pembroke Pines agrees not to privatize its charter school system, but teachers will have to take pay cuts (Sun-Sentinel). A tax credit scholarship helps single father send his son to private school (redefinED). Gateway Charter School in Fort Myers tells students to finish up Florida Virtual School online courses, or pay up (Associated Press).

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Public Schools should increase its number of non-union charter schools and the state should explore creating a recovery school district to take over and turn around failing schools, a new report finds (Journal Sentinel). The state budget clears its final hurdle with a provision that includes expanding the voucher program (Associated Press). Gov. Scott Walker says he will veto a budget amendment that could make a cap on voucher school enrollment meaningless (Wisconsin Public Radio).

Missouri: A court ruling allows students to exercise their school choice by transferring to neighboring school districts, with the failing district footing the bill (Missouri Times).

Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia school district delays transferring three of its low-performing schools to charter operators, and the district renewed contracts with five charters that agreed not to increase enrollments (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Massachusetts: A graduate student’s thesis finds that the Boston students most in need of educational improvement tended to benefit the most from charter schools (Boston Globe). Proposed legislation looks at closing achievement gaps and making it easier to open charter schools, especially in the worst-performing  districts. The bill also would allow schools to override unions on hiring without seniority  or lengthening school days (Lowell Sun). The state calls Greenfield’s cyber school application “weak,” but will recommend the town be allowed to host a new state-authorized virtual school for the next three years (The Recorder).

Tennessee: The Catholic Diocese of Memphis sells two school properties to Influence1, a charter school foundation that plans to open three charter schools on the campuses (Fox 13).

Alabama: Leaders of two private school organizations aren’t expecting many new students due to the law providing tax credit scholarships for students transferring from failing public schools (Montgomery Advertiser).

Virginia: Norfolk Public Schools plans to convert 10 of its district schools into charter schools to help raise graduation rates and academic achievement (Education Week).

Indiana: Some Hoosier parents no longer have to send their children to a public school for one year to receive a voucher for private school tuition under a law that takes effect this fall (The Statehouse File).

South Carolina: The budget awaiting Gov. Nikki Haley’s signature includes a tax credit scholarship program aimed exclusively at helping special-needs children (The State).

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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.

One Comment

Jason Bedrick

The New Hampshire court decision was unprecedented and absurd. The judge ruled, essentially, that the government owns all the money that it lets you keep and that every single nonprofit, including every house of worship, is funded by tax dollars. The ruling’s faulty logic would deem property tax exemptions for religious schools unconstitutional. The NH supreme court should overturn the ruling on appeal.

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