redefinED roundup: cuts to NYC charters, proposed federal vouchers, National School Choice Week & more


Alabama: The Southern Poverty Law Center says school choice hurts students who can’t leave their public school (Montgomery Advertiser).

Alaska: More Republicans sign on to support the governor’s constitutional amendment proposal to allow public funding of private religious schools (Anchorage Daily News). You can pick your grocery store and you can pick your coffee shop, so why can’t you pick your school (Alaska Dispatch, Alaska Daily News)?

Arizona: The state leads the nation with the newest school choice innovation: education savings accounts (

California: High Tech High charter school in San Diego wishes to buy a building owned by the local school district in order to open a new elementary charter school (Voice of San Diego). Parents unhappy with their local schools are using Parent Trigger to make changes (NationSwell).

D.C.:  City charter schools may soon be sharing space with district public schools (Washington Post).

Florida: 1.5 million students choose a school other than their assigned neighborhood school (redefinED). Catholic schools in Florida see small growth in enrollment for the second year in a row (Florida Times Union). A public boarding school for at-risk students prepares to open this fall (Miami Herald). The owners of a private, voucher-accepting school that abruptly closed its doors in Milwaukee have opened a similar school in Daytona Beach (News-Journal). House Speaker Will Weatherford wants to increase the number of low-income children allowed onto the state’s tax-credit scholarship program as well as increase private school accountability (Tallahassee Democrat, Tampa Bay Times, Palm Beach PostWFSU). Florida’s high rate of return on its education investment may be due, in part, to the many diverse education options available to students, says William Mattox a research fellow at the James Madison Institute (Orlando Sentinel). The Manatee County School District holds a school choice fair to feature the district and charter schools in the area (Bradenton Herald). The city of Hollywood is pushing local district schools to market themselves better in order to lure students and families back into the schools (Sun Sentinel).

Idaho: More than 55,000 students attend charter schools, private schools or home schools in the state (Idaho Press). Renee McKenzie, president of the Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families, says every family deserves school choice (Idaho Press).

Illinois: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel addresses critics who said it was unfair to approve seven new charter schools while shutting down 47 public schools last year (Chicago Tribune).

Indiana: The state’s voucher program more than doubles in size over last year (Indianapolis Star, Journal Gazette, Northwest Indiana Times). The number of voucher students who never attended public school increases (Indiana Business Journal, The Star PressIndianapolis Daily Star). The editorial board for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette wants voucher schools to follow the same rules as public schools. A proposed bill to allow private schools to use a state-approved standardized test rather than the state’s official test is quickly rejected (Indianapolis StarIndianapolis Star, JCOnline). School choice supporters in the state say the voucher, worth $4,700 this year, is too low for most private schools (State Impact). Robert Enlow, president of the Friedman Foundation, says parents should not be forced to send their kid to a public school before gaining access to vouchers (Indianapolis Daily Star). Critics of school choice argue that vouchers can’t be used at private schools which teach creationism or intelligent design (Journal-Gazette). The senate passes a bill to allow charter schools for returning adult students (The Statehouse File).

Maine: The state may soon have its first virtual charter school after the state board approved two virtual school applications (Bangor Daily News). A Republican sponsored bill will put a moratorium on virtual school approvals until 2016 while a Democrat sponsored bill seeks to change the approval process and reduce virtual school funding (Bangor Daily News).

Maryland: Charter schools in the state have unionized teachers and are subjected to more accountability than public schools, but still do not get access to construction funds (Baltimore Sun).

Michigan: Parents say school choice made a difference for their children (The Detroit News). Students describe what school choice means to them (The Detroit News). Competition between schools can lead to good innovations (Battlecreek Inquirer). The state’s worst performing school, according to a newspaper analysis, is a charter school (Mlive).

Minnesota: The state achieves the No. 1 ranking in the National Alliance for Public Charter School’s list of best charter school laws for 2014 (Education Week). Charter schools in Duluth enroll 14 percent of the district’s entire student population (Duluth News Tribune).

Missouri: James Shuls, an education analyst from the Show-Me Institute, says school choice would increase prosperity in the state (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Nebraska: A state lawmaker wants to see charter schools serving low income kids in Omaha (World Herald).

Nevada: Higher per-pupil spending may not improve education but school choice might, says the Nevada Policy Research Institute. The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board says “give choice a chance.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal ed board also calls home schooling the “ultimate education choice.”

New Hampshire: The state has fewer school choice options than neighboring Massachusetts (Nashua Telegraph). Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana criticizes Gov. Maggie Hassan for her efforts to dismantle school choice options in the state (Washington Examiner).

New York: School choice supporters meet with state lawmakers to discuss school choice legislation (Wall Street Journal). The 2014-15 school year hasn’t started yet but New York City charter schools have already received more applications than available seats (New York Post). The New York Post editorial board struggles to understand how school choice opponents can call themselves “progressives.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposes shifting more than $200 million away from charter schools to fund more pre-k seats (New York CBS).

North Carolina: Vouchers for low-income kids are a step in the right direction (Smokey Mountain Times). Learning options continue to expand in the state (Record & Observer). Six of the 11 school board members in Winston-Salem oppose vouchers but not enough to join a lawsuit attempting to stop the state’s new voucher program (Winston-Salem Journal). The state is considering two virtual charter schools (WFAE). A News & Observer editorial says charter schools are destabilizing school districts.

Oklahoma: New legislation proposes an education savings accounts plan for low-income children (Watchdog).

South Carolina: This mom wasn’t satisfied with her child’s school so she founded her own (Joanne Jacobs). From magnet school student to charter school leader, Amanda Endres Ebel tells her story (Augusta Chronicle). School choice is becoming more and more bipartisan (Greenville News).

Tennessee: The top five charter schools in Memphis educate more than 3,700 students (Memphis Business Journal). Opposing groups speak out on school choice at the state’s capital (Times Free Press). Gov. Bill Haslam speaks before over 1,000 school choice supporters in Nashville but doesn’t mention “vouchers” in his speech (The Tennessean).

Texas: National School Choice Week stops in San Antonio where school choice supporters talk education policy and dance ( Parents look for alternatives to public schools (Killeen Herald).

Washington: Less than half of the charter school applications meet the state’s Charter School Commission minimum requirements (The ColumbianNews Tribune, Education Week). The state’s first charter school is set to open next fall (Seattle Times). Big donors support the state’s new charter school law (Washington Post).

Wisconsin: Proposed legislation will prohibit low-performing voucher schools from enrolling new students (Journal-Sentinel). Private schools teaching creationism in science class appear to score worse on the science portions of norm-referenced tests (New Republic). A proposed rule that would convert struggling public schools into charter schools heads back to committee (Journal-Sentinel)

Nation: School choice can increase quality of education, says American Enterprise Institute research fellow Michael McShane ( Nina Rees, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, says school choice should be a right (U.S. News and World Report). Conservatives fight the war on poverty with school choice (Red Alert Politics). U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is proposing a federal school choice program for low-income students worth as much as $24 billion (New York Times, Washington Post, Education Week, US News and World Report, Chronicle of School choice is a moral right, says Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity (The Hill). Why is it okay to give students publicly financed scholarships to attend private colleges but not private high schools (Orange County Register)? The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its rankings of state charter school laws (Education Week). A new report by Public Impact recommends streamlining applications and eliminating caps for high-performing charter schools while closing under-performing schools (Education Week). School choice means many different things (Education Next). The Friedman Foundation tackles the question of how to provide more seats for school choice. How do you get a well-functioning, high-quality digital education market (Education Next)? Religious schools offer high-quality options in school choice programs (Christian Post). Experts discuss Common Core and Education Savings Accounts at a forum held at the Heritage Foundation (Christian Post). Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin says Common Core is a threat to school choice (National Review). School choice brings Republicans and black Democrats together (The Daily Beast). 14 states currently allow public funds to go to schools that teach creationism or intelligent design (Policy Mic). School Choice Week has a wide range of political and financial backers (Non Profit Quarterly).

World: The U.S. State Department bans online course provider Coursera from providing online education to students in sanctioned nations (Reason Magazine, Inside Higher Ed).

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BY reimaginED staff