redefinED roundup: school choice 60 years after Brown v. Board and more news


Arizona: Amy Silverman, a journalist at the Phoenix New Times, says charter schools lead to segregation for special needs students (note: the state has two private school scholarship programs for special needs students).

California: All candidates seeking to fill a vacant school board seat in Los Angeles agree on the value of public charter schools (LA School Report).

Florida: Sherman Dorn, a professor at Arizona State, ponders why there has been no constitutional challenges to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program or the state’s other voucher programs. The American Civil Liberties Union is filing a complaint to stop single gender schools (redefinED). State Impact looks at some of the research on single gender schools. U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Orlando, explains why he supports charter schools (Sunshine State News). The Duval County School District may lose up 3 percent of its total enrollment to charter schools over the next decade (Florida Times-Union).

The Legislature sends the tax-credit scholarship expansion bill to Gov. Rick Scot (Heartlander). The teachers union asks the governor to veto it  (Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times). A record-setting 100,000 students have started applications for tax-credit scholarships (redefinED). Chris Guerrieri, a public school teacher and education choice opponent living in Jacksonville, makes many negative claims about parental choice and Step Up for Students (which co-hosts this blog) (Gainesville SunPensacola News-Journal).

Georgia: The Atlantic Public School District is negotiating a compact with local charter schools to encourage collaboration (WABE Public Radio). The number of charter schools that must hold admission lotteries grows as waiting lists increase (The Telegraph).

Louisiana: A bill to allow students in low-performing public schools to transfer to higher-performing schools advances (Associated Press). Traditional public and charter schools in New Orleans look to expand the use of technology in the classroom (Hechinger Report). U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, supports charter schools and believes every child should have the right to attend one if they wish (CNN). Two bills that would negatively impact charter schools fail to pass out of committee (The Advertiser). Kenyatta Collins, a high school student attending a charter school in New Orleans, says her school focuses too much on discipline and not enough on academics (Time).

Indiana: Mark A. Russell, director of education for the Indianapolis Urban League, ponders if vouchers and charter schools serve minority students well (Indianapolis Daily Star).

Maine: Lee Jackson, a 19-year-old school board member in Old Town, says school choice will close the achievement gap (The Root).

Massachusetts: The legislature looks to increase the reimbursements when districts lose students to charter schools, which may pave a way to increase the cap on the number of charter schools in the state (State House News Service).

Michigan: When ignoring demographics, charter schools in the state perform worse than traditional public schools, but when comparing schools in Detroit, charters outperform (The Morning Sun).

Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon opposes allowing students in struggling schools to transfer to private schools at public expense (Kansas City Star).

New Jersey: Ras Baraka, a critic of Cory Booker and charter schools, is elected mayor of Newark (New York Times). School choice becomes a tool for athletic recruitment at some schools (

New York: New York City’s budget will increase charter school funding by $27 million this year and $220 million next year (Capital New York). A court blocks New York City’s attempt to ban co-locations between public and charter schools (NY1, New York Post).

North Carolina: The state Supreme Court overturns a lower court decision to put a hold on issuing vouchers to low-income students while the court decides on the program’s constitutionality (WRAL, Associated Press). The News & Observer editorial board calls the court decision “rash.” Only 11 of 71 charter school applicants were approved to open in 2015 (Charlotte Observer).  Bryan Setser, president of the North Carolina Connections Academy Founding Board, says cyber schools can transform education in the state (News & Observer).

Ohio: A school choice group is suing to get parent address information from school districts in order to inform parents about school choice options (Columbus Dispatch).

Pennsylvania: The state auditor general recommends a statewide charter school oversight board, tuition reimbursements for public school districts and a simpler appeals process for charter school applicants (Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThe InquirerWTAJ News). Charter school critics claim charters are profiting from the overpayments on special needs students (Times Leader). A charter school is fighting back against the School Reform Commission’s (SRC) vote to suspend the charter, calling the SRC’s actions “vindictive and illegal” (The Inquirer). All four Democrat candidates for governor oppose vouchers and one even seeks to cut payments to charter schools and eliminate cyber schools (Associated Press).

South Carolina: The state looks to extend the $8 million tax-credit scholarship program for another year (Associated Press).

Tennessee: Nashville area charter schools win grants from the Gates Foundation (The Tennessean).

Washington: Charter school advocates make recommendations on how the state can learn from earlier charter school adopters (Getting Smart).

Wisconsin:  Open enrollment and magnet schools have impacted racial segregation in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal). Charter school advocates say traditional public and charter schools should partner so traditional public schools can learn how to be more flexible and innovative (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal).

Nation: Jeb Bush says school choice is a natural progression of civil rights (Miami HeraldThe Hill). Neil McCluskey of the Cato Institute says Brown v. Board was about freedom for parents to choose the best school and 60 years later there is still more work to be done (Detroit News). Arne Duncan uses school choice rhetoric while discussing the legacy of Brown v. Board (Washington Examiner). Critics of school choice claim it is a revival of Jim Crow but Aaron Rodriguez, a board member of Hispanics for School Choice, says that isn’t the case (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal). Glen Ford, executive director of the Black Agenda Report, says charter schools aren’t helping black communities and increase racial segregation (Truth Out). Is it better to have desegregated schools through forced busing and zoning or good schools through school choice, asks columnist Dyanne Weiss (Liberty Voice). Barbara Miner, a reporter for the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, argues school choice leads to an abandoning of the Brown v. Board decision (note: Brown v. Board was about ending de jure racial segregation)(Washington Post). Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, says school choice is a civil rights issue (CNN).

The Fordham Institute releases a guide to expanding course choice in all 50 states (redefinED). Democrats for Education Reform holds a conference on education reform policy and listens to parents about their experience with education choice (redefinED). Rich Hess and Michael McShane, both researchers at the American Enterprise Institute, warn education choice supporters of imposing too many regulations on schools as it could strangle innovation (USA Today). Shayna Pitre, a law student, says special needs students are denied school choice (Huffington Post). Christian D’Andrea, a researcher at the Friedman Foundation, says Ms. Pitre ignored facts about choice and special needs students. Journey for Justice Alliance, a civil rights organization, is filing a federal lawsuit claiming charter schools discriminate against black children (Associated PressWashington Post, Free Beacon). A group of investors seeks to raise $1 billion to help charter schools pay for school facilities (Bloomberg).  The U.S. Department of Education releases a memo stating charter schools are required to comply with all civil rights law (many already applied), including a ban on charter schools requiring special needs students to wave their rights under FAPE (Education Week). Republican senators from Wisconsin accuse the U.S. Department of Justice of a “power grab” and overreach into school choice regulations (Watchdog). The Broad Foundation announces the three finalists for the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools (Education Week). Lindsey Burke, an education analyst, makes the case for converting tax-credit scholarship and voucher programs into education savings accounts (Friedman Foundation). U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, encourages the GOP to do more outreach to minority communities including touting school choice (Associated Press).

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BY reimaginED staff