redefinED roundup: school choice to expand in NY but not FL, ESAs constitutional in AZ and more

MondayRoundUp_magentaAlabama: Lawmakers approve an increase in individual tax credits for donations to scholarship granting organizations (Gadsden Times). Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stopped in the state to give a speech about school choice and more (Bayou Buzz).

Alaska: Ben Walker, a math teacher, says the school reform movement is based on a false fear of bad public schools (Anchorage Daily News).

Arizona: The state earned an A rating for charter school laws (Arizona Republic). The state Supreme Court refusal to hear a case on the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts means the program remains constitutional (Capitol Media Services, Associated Press).

California: LA charter schools post big learning gains (Hechinger Report, Whitney Tilson’s School Reform Blog). Parents are frustrated with school performance in Redwood and two charter school operators hope to fill the need for high quality schools in the district (The Daily Journal).

Colorado: The State Supreme Court will hear a case on the constitutionality of the Douglas Co. voucher program (WRAL, Associated Press).

D.C.: The mayoral race doesn’t have any of the heated rhetoric about charter schools that was present in New York last year and that might be due to the lack of a charter school cap in the city (Education Week). A parent, and education reporter, experiences school choice through charter schools (The Atlantic).

Florida: A bill to expand the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program advances (Heartland NewsNews Service of FloridaTampa Bay TimesSun SentinelTampa Bay TimesredefinED). Mandating FCAT testing for all private scholarship students is debated (Tampa Tribune). Only a day after the tax-credit scholarship expansion bill is sent to the House floor, the Senate sponsor withdraws the bill from consideration in the state’s upper chamber (Palm Beach PostMiami HeraldOrlando SentinelAssociated PressPolitifix). Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill issues a statement about the expansion bill being withdrawn (redefinED). School choice supporters debate mandating private school voucher students take the FCAT (Watchdog). The Florida Citizens for Science want private schools accepting tax-credit scholarships to teach evolution (Tampa Bay Times).  Jason Bedrick of the Cato Institute, sees a silver lining in the tabling of the tax-credit scholarship expansion bill. Rita Solnet, president of Parents Across Florida, believes vouchers hurt a parents choice for a good public school (Huffington PostWashington Post). The Washington Post reprints an error filled op-ed against school choice (redefinED). The president of Fund Education Now, a group  arguing for more money for public schools, writes an op-ed opposing the expansion calling the program unaccountable (Orlando Sentinel). A bill to create education savings accounts for special needs students advances in the Senate (redefinED). Education in the state has been improving (Saint Peter’s Blog). Military style charter schools become more popular in the state (redefinED).

Illinois: The Chicago Tribune editorial board endorses school choice candidates.

Republicans look to expand charter schools and vouchers (Tampa Bay Times). One out of every 10 students in Palm Beach attend charter schools (Palm Beach Post).

Kansas: Debate over school funding of poor districts begins after high court ruling on the adequacy suit (Education Week). To address the adequacy funding issue Republicans plan to increase low-income district funding and allow more public charter schools (Wichita Eagle). Lawmakers consider education tax credit scholarships (Heartland News).

Louisiana: Democrat lawmakers want to pass a bill that would require the Department of Education to provide lawmakers with a report on voucher students within the district along with aggregate scores and comparisons to past years (Times-Picayune). The number of non-English speakers in New Orleans has grown rapidly and charter schools are struggling to keep up with demand (Hechinger Report).

Maine: Pearsons LLC is chosen as the operator of the state’s first public virtual school (Associated Press). Lawmakers fail to overturn the Governor’s veto of the moratorium on virtual schools (Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News).

Massachusetts: Parents like having options in Cape Cod, but choices impact the district’s bottom line (Wicked Local). The Milford Daily News editorial board says the state should lift the cap on charter schools. A proposal to lift the cap on charter schools comes to a deadlock as Democrats want to pay school districts extra for each child they lose to charter schools (Boston Globe). Hundreds of parents protest against expanding the charter school cap (Boston Globe).

Michigan: The state has the 4th best climate for charter schools (Daily Tribune).

New Hampshire: A bill to increase charter school funding from 40 percent of public school per pupil support to 47.5 percent fails (Eagle Tribune).

New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s next battle with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is over charter schools (Associated Press). Charter school groups spent $3.6 million on TV ads attacking de Blasio (New York Daily News). The former Lieutenant Governor of the state says de Blasio is a bully (Boston Herald). The Center for American Progress explores the success of New York City public education. Bill de Blasio says he wants to collaborate with charters (New York Times). Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, and 17 unions publicly support tax credits for donations to public and private education (New York Times, Nonprofit Quarterly, Buffalo News). Jewish educators in the state support the new school choice proposal (JTA).

North Carolina: The lawyer for the state’s General Assembly says there is no law preventing charter school employee salaries from being made public (Charlotte Observer).

Oregon: The state ranks 26th out of 43 states for friendly charter school laws, according to a report from the Center for Education Reform (Statesman Journal).

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia area charter schools are suing the district for suspending regulations that prevent the district from forcing charter schools to accept enrollment caps and more (Watchdog).

Tennessee: Over 1,000 parents and supporters went to the state Capitol to advocate for vouchers (Watchdog). A new bill will allow the State Board of Education to become an authorizer of charter schools (Associated Press). Parents of students attending a Nashville area charter school show up in force at a board meeting to defend their school (The Tennessean).

Texas: School choice can bring anxiety to parents when the top choice is up to chance (Houston Chronicle).

Wisconsin: A school accountability bill passes and will require private schools receiving voucher students to be on the same grading scale as public schools (Journal Sentinel, Center Daily Times). Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke says she will eliminate the statewide voucher program if elected (Journal Times, Associated Press). Mary Burke says she does not want to repeal the voucher program, but that she was misquoted (Fox 11).  Chris Rickert, the metro columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal argues that publicly funded vouchers for private schools is just another form of public education.

Wyoming: The Center for Education Reform report on charter schools says the state has one of the strictest charter school laws in the nation (Billings Gazette, Star Tribune).

Nation: Columnist Juan Williams says de Blasio’s opposition of charter schools has been good for the school choice movement (Fox News). The Center for Education Reform releases a report ranking state charter school laws. A doctoral student at Florida International University argues that No Child Left Behind coupled with vouchers, destroys the one option people really want, their public school (Huffington Post). Senator Ted Cruz speaks to hundreds of homeschool students at CPAC (Radio Iowa). K12 Inc reports learning gains for students in its 42 schools (Getting Smart). Ken Cambell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, tells school choice supporters to not be afraid to call out opponents on hypocrisy ( redefinED). Columnist Richard Cohen says wealthy people are being vilified for supporting charter schools and that is illogical  (Washington Post).

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BY reimaginED staff