redefinED roundup: Course choice in Louisiana, vouchers in Wisconsin, KIPP in Missouri & more

Louisiana: Louisiana’s Course Choice pilot program is full, with about 2,000 students enrolled in online courses and 500 more on a waiting list (Times-Picayune). More from The Advocate.

MondayRoundUp_yellaConnecticut: Department of Education officials approve the state’s first local charter school, a Montessori school financed by the local education board and the state (New Haven Register).

Massachusetts: U.S. News & World Report ranks the Sabis International Charter School as seventh among the state’s charter schools and among the top 10 percent nationwide (Republican).

Ohio: Ohio Gov. John Kasich signs a bill that allows levy proceeds to be shared with charter schools partnering with the Columbus school district (Associated Press).

Wisconsin: A Racine school board member and her husband, a former teacher at a private school that accepted vouchers, want the program eliminated (Journal Times). The Racine school board approves a resolution opposing voucher expansion (Journal Times). St. John Fisher Academy, a private high school that opened in Racine last fall using state voucher money, has reportedly not paid staff members since March and has seen student enrollment dwindle (Journal Times). Parents are eager to apply for the voucher program, but a recent expansion only adds 500 seats statewide (Greenbay Press-Gazette).

Arizona: New York Life makes a multi-year, $300,000 donation to The Brophy Community Foundation for tax credit scholarships (Catholic Sun). The Paradise Valley School District looks at converting district schools into charter schools to qualify for extra state funding (CBS5).

Mississippi: Supporters of the state’s new charter law have created a charter school association to help promote the schools (Associated Press).

Florida: At least two school districts question the fees charter schools charge parents (redefinED). The Board of Education decides,  once again, to offer a safety net for public schools receiving state grades (Miami Herald). The Foundation for Florida’s Future argues against the safety net (SchoolZone), and representatives from two of the state’s largest charter school groups stand behind it (redefinED). West Palm Beach Mayor and Democrat Jeri Muoio throws support behind a district-run charter school (redefinED).

New Mexico: State Auditor Hector Balderas says he is concerned about financial oversight of state-approved charter schools (Daily Journal).

Pennsylvania: Independence Charter School seeks to stimulate Philadelphia students using curriculum with an international focus (The Notebook). The Philadelphia School Partnership plans to give $4.7 million in grants for charter school expansions and the design of a new high school (The Notebook).

Indiana: New data shows that hundreds of the students who took a voucher last year left the private school before the end of the year (Journal Gazette).

Utah: Sen. Aaron Osmond wants to take school choice to the ultimate level by abolishing compulsory education (Deseret News).

Missouri: St. Louis school district leaders approve a partnership giving a KIPP charter school the keys to an empty elementary building. For free. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Tennessee: The recent CREDO public charter schools’ study showed Tennessee among 11 states in which charter school performance has outpaced traditional public school growth in both mathematics and reading (Associated Press). The Tennessee Charter Schools Association and the Tennessee Charter School Incubator have joined forces to form the Tennessee Charter School Center (Tennessean).

New Hampshire: Three new charter schools get the green light to open after the Legislature set aside $3.4 million in the state budget specifically for new charters (NHPR).

Virginia: The number of charters will triple under a new Norfolk schools’ plan that will convert 10 traditional public schools into charter schools (Washington Post).

Nevada: State education leaders, including Steve Canavero of the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority, talk about findings of the recent CREDO study on charter schools across the nation (KNPR).

North Carolina: State legislators are considering a voucher program that has less oversight and looser standards than similar programs in other states (News & Observer). The state House passes legislation that allows charter schools to skip expansion approval by the State Board of Education (Winston Salem-Journal).

New Jersey: Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Steve Lonegan has started his “Expose Cory Booker” tour, saying the Newark mayor has broken promises to voters concerning vouchers and other school choice options (Star-Ledger).

Arkansas: Three parents outraged over being denied a school choice request to transfer their children to another school district have filed a lawsuit against the state education department (

New York: The United Federation of Teachers has sued New York City to stop Mayor Michael Bloomberg from opening more charter schools in traditional public school  buildings — after he leaves office (Daily News).

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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.